Infinite Jest

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Infinite Jest

Wallace's fictional narrative Infinite Jest is an epic approach to the solicitous and addictive nature of humanity. The novel's diverse characters demonstrate both individually and collectively the fixations and obsessions that bind humanity to the pitfalls of reality and provide a fertile groundwork for the semiotic explanation of addictive behavior. Although Wallace may have actualized the concept of the "addicted gaze" to the literal or physical response to the viewing of Incandenza's coveted film the Entertainment [Infinite Jest], it is manifested symbolically throughout the novel in the distractions of its characters.


It would appear that Wallace has chosen society's most frequently rejected and denounced individuals as the vehicle for the narrative search for and preservation of the ultimate fix, which is illustrated by the obsession for Incandenza's film. At the same time and despite their diversity and distinctions, these individuals will ultimately represent the inextricable and covert characteristics of nihilistic behavior.

School-aged malcontents, drug addicts and the physically challenged all attempt to get a hold of a copy of the film and experience its pleasures at any cost. Ironically, it was the film maker James Incadenza's habit to regularly observe the depravation of Boston's crowded street milieus, where "everyone goes nuts and mills, either switching or watching" (620). It is not surprising therefore that he should develop a film that would be perceived as the panacea to the entertainment addictions of the masses.

Figurative Transgendering

Wallace devotes a substantial amount of space to the illustration of the contradictions of gender, where the adoption of gender behavior or symbols contrary to the character's true gender can be analyzed. The occasion of Hugh Steeply in drag as he met with Marathe to discuss the emergence of the Entertainment's cartridge may have served the...
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