Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Notes from The Jest: Page 157 - 185

Page 157 -158: Description of Marlon Brando and sprezzatura.

Page 159 line 28: parping, british slang, to break wind. In this context, literally “farting around”.

Page 159, 6 lines from bottom: rutilant, glowing red.

Page 170 line 15: Introducing DMZ. DMZ may parallel The Entertainment, in the way that DFW seems to parallel everyone and everything in Infinite Jest.

Page 996, note 56: fitviavi – eventually defined on p. 170. Also I like the simile: “…DMZ resembles chemically sort of the way an F-18 resembles a Piper Cub…”

Page 170, 3 lines from bottom (last para.): DMZ is also called Madame Psychosis by the Boston chemical underground.

Page 171, last 2 para.: This reads like Hal is making a purchase from Pemulis, after Pemulis has just made a transaction for DMZ. Has Hal purchased the DMZ from Pemulis?

Page 172 – 176: Tennis and the Feral Prodigy. Understand fully the word feral before reading this piece.
feral, gone wild, describing animals or plants that live or grow in the wild after having been domestically reared or cultivated; savage, similar to or typical of a wild animal.

Page 173, 10 lines from bottom: Hal’s father succeeded at everything he tried; Hal’s father’s father failed. Neither one seemed any happier or mentally stable for it. What does that make Hal?

Page 173, 12 lines from bottom: “Talent is its own expectation”

Page 173, bottom: So, the irony of working very hard when you’re very young to be good at something means that when you finally become good at it, it is seen as a talent that now you have to work even harder to develop and fulfill.

Page 174 line 7: formant, a frequency range where vowel sounds are at their most distinctive and characteristic pitch.

Page 174 line 7: fricative, made by breath friction, describes a consonantal speech sound made by forcing the breath through a narrow opening.

Page 174 line 7: trochaically, relating to, belonging to, or consisting of trochees.
trochee, a metrical foot of one stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable, e.g., the word “human”.

Page 174, bottom: “Expect some rough dreams. They come with the territory. Try to accept them. Let them teach you.”

Page 175, top: “Keep a flashlight by the bed. It helps with the dreams.” Cf. page 62: the face in the floor. The narrator on p. 62 also kept a flashlight by the bed.

Page 175, 8 lines from bottom: “…sometimes words that seem to express really invoke.”

Page 177, 11 lines from bottom: formication, a neurologically based hallucination in which somebody feels as if insects are crawling on his or her skin. It is found in some case of chemical toxicity and among drug and alcohol abusers.

Page 180, 5 lines from bottom: Reference to Clenette.

Page 183 line 28: “Like most marriages, theirs was the evolved product of concordance and compromise.” Spoken as a sound check by Madam Psychosis. But M.P. has a history with James O. Himself. Maybe this is a Freudian slip, or a bit of sarcasm.

Page 184 line 5: Madam Psychosis == metempsychosis, the passing of the soul at death into another body. (A lot of sources make this connection.) This character, Joelle Van Dyne (a.k.a. the PGOAT) seems to represent this concept.

Page 184 line 18: WYYY-109, Largest Whole Prime on the FM Band. Actually 107.9 MHz is the highest frequency on the FM band, but this is DFW’s book and his made-up reality, so the FM band can be whatever he wants it to be.

Page 185 line 14: treillage, a trellis or piece of latticework.

Page 185 line 29: dramaturgy, the art of the theater, especially with regard to the techniques involved in writing plays.

Page 185 12 lines from bottom: apr├Ęs-garde, opposite of avant-garde?

Page 185, 11 lines from bottom: anticonfluential, a DFW neologism, defined more fully in end note 61; we can parse it out:
anti-, opposed to something, expressing or holding an opposing view, particularly regarding a political issue or moral principle.
confluential, merging into one, merging together.
So, anticonfluential probably means a drifting apart or spreading apart. Could very well describe this book.

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