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There were a few bumps in teen's road to recovery 

Today's Sunbeam - Jan 01 9:25 PM
When Ernie Maurer entered the Daytop drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Mendham in March 2005 he knew he was in it for the long haul. Ernie had admitted to his parents that he was addicted to drugs and alcohol and his parents got him the help he required.
The dangers of binge drinking 
Southlake Times - 1 hour, 47 minutes ago
If you are like most Americans, you may drink alcohol occasionally. Unfortunately, too many of our young people are participating in the dangerous practice of binge drinking, or drinking to intoxication. Binge drinking is often defined as having five or more drinks in a row.

Arguments Aired on Lompoc Detox Center Site Selection 
KSBY-TV - Jan 02 7:38 PM
The proposed site for a drug and alcohol detox center in Lompoc has prompted a group of residents to take action. Tonight, those against the facility will take their case to the city council.

Vineland preacher lights the way to recovery for alcohol, drug addicts 
Press of Atlantic City - Dec 31 12:13 AM
VINELAND — For the Rev. Cornell Brunson, counseling people with addiction problems just takes a bit of soul. The Vineland-based preacher just opened his own private counseling practice in the city's downtown area.

- Acohol Recovery

Here is an article on Alcohol Recovery.

Infinite Jest
Author David Foster Wallace
Country United States
Language English
Series None
Subject(s) None
Genre(s) Hysterical realism, Satire, Tragicomedy
Publisher Little, Brown
Released February 1, 1996
Media Type Print (Hardcover, Alchol Recovery Paperback)
Pages 1079
Size and Weight 9.5 x 6.6 Acohol Recovery x 2.4 in., 3.4 lb.
ISBN ISBN 0-316-92004-5

Infinite Jest (1996) is a critically acclaimed novel written by David Foster Wallace. This lengthy and complex Alochol Recovery work takes place in a hypothetical Boston, Massachusetts of the Alchool Recovery near future. While the novel touches on Alcool Recovery topics as diverse as tennis, substance addiction, recovery programs, child abuse, advertising and Alohol Recovery pop culture, it is at its heart a series of meditations on self-awareness and the corrosive effects that Alcohl Recovery modernity, irony and ambition have on the individual. In theme, scale and structure, the novel evokes earlier works from Alcoho Recovery Aclohol Recovery Hamlet to Finnegans Wake.

The book's plot centers around a lost film cartridge, referred Alcohool Recovery to in the novel as "the Entertainment", but titled Infinite Jest by its creator James Incandenza. The film is so "entertaining" to its unwitting viewers Alcphol Recovery that they become lifeless, losing all interest in anything other Alcohil Recovery than endless viewings of the film. In the novel's future world, North America Alcoholl Recovery is one unified state composed of Alcoohl Recovery the United States, Canada, and Mexico, known as the Organization of North American Nations (O.N.A.N), a wry allusion to Onan, the Old Allcohol Recovery Testament figure killed for wasting his seed. Corporations purchase the naming rights to the calendar year, eliminating traditional numerical designations, so advanced is the corporate grasp on daily life; for example: "The Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment," or "The Year of Dairy Products from the American Heartland." Furthermore, much of what used to be the Northeastern United States and Southeastern Canada has become a massive hazardous waste dumping site known as "The Great Concavity".

The novel derives its name, at least in part, from a line in Hamlet, in which Hamlet refers to Yorick's skull, the court jester: " Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy; he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is!"(Act 5, Scene 1).


  • 1 Characters
    • 1.1 The Incandenza family
    • 1.2 The Enfield Tennis Academy
    • 1.3 The Ennet House Drug and Alcohol Recovery House (Sic)
    • 1.4 Les Assassins des Fauteuils Rollents
    • 1.5 Miscellaneous Characters
  • 2 Setting
    • 2.1 Subsidized Time
    • 2.2 Geographic Location
  • 3 Stylistic Elements
  • 4 Thematic Elements
  • 5 Critical Literature
    • 5.1 Surveys
    • 5.2 In-depth studies
    • 5.3 Interviews
  • 6 External links


The Incandenza family

  • Avril Incandenza, née Mondragon, is the (covertly) domineering mother of the Incandenza children and wife to James. A beautiful Québécoise, she becomes a major figure at the Enfield Tennis Academy after the death of her husband. After which, she begins, or perhaps continues, a relationship with Charles Tavis, the new head of the academy and her either half or adoptive brother. Her sexual relations are a matter of some speculation/discussion, yet a certain sexual relation with John "No Relation" Wayne is confirmed and one with Orin Incandenza, her own son, is perhaps implied. (Issues of incest permeate the book's text in other segments as well.) Her nickname among the family is The Moms. The Moms's behavior is also characterized, among other traits, with a fear of doors and overhead lighting and an obsessive-compulsive need to watch over ETA and her two children living at ETA (Hal and Mario). It is also noteworthy that Avril and Orin are no longer in contact with each other.
  • Hal Incandenza is the youngest of the Incandenza children and arguably the protagonist of the story, with events mainly centered around his time at the Enfield Tennis Academy. As prodigiously intelligent and talented as the other members of his family, Hal is nonetheless insecure about his own abilities (and eventually his own mental state) and has a difficult relationship with both his parents. He reads the Oxford English Dictionary and often corrects the grammar of his friends and family (much like his mother). As the chronological end of the novel nears, Hal's mental state progresses into an almost complete alienation from the people and things around him, culminating in his complete mental breakdown and inability to communicate without screaming by the Year of Glad. In this regard, strong parallels can be drawn between him and the title character of Hamlet. The origin of Hal's condition is unclear, and the cause of his breakdown is fiercely debated amongst fans of the novel. One possible cause is the slow development of a certain fungi that Hal ate as a child into a drug known as DMZ, while an alternate possibility is that Pemulis (or another Academy resident) doped his toothbrush with the same hallucinogen.
  • Dr. James O. Incandenza is the founder of the Enfield Tennis Academy and a filmmaker. He is the creator of the Entertainment (aka Infinite Jest or "the samizdat"). He had a strong degree of attachment to Joelle Van Dyne, his son Orin's strikingly beautiful girlfriend, using her in many of his films; the precise nature of this relationship (particularly whether or not it is platonic) remains uncertain. It is proposed that he can create and view the Entertainment without becoming entranced because at the time of its creation he is already insane. He appears in the book mainly either in flashbacks or as a ghost, having committed suicide by placing his head in a microwave oven. His nickname among the family is Himself.
  • Mario Incandenza is the intermediate child of the Incandenzas, although there is some insinuation in the novel that in fact his father may be Charles Tavis rather than James. Severely deformed since birth, he is nonetheless perennially cheerful. He is also a budding auteur, having served as Himself's camera and directorial assistant, and later inheriting the prodigious studio equipment and film lab built by Dr. Incandenza within the grounds of the Enfield Tennis Academy. The prototypical relationship between Hal and him has been reversed, in that Hal (the younger of the two) plays the role of a supportive elder brother. Hal's nickname for Mario is Booboo.
  • Orin Incandenza is the eldest son of the Incandenzas. He is a serial womanizer who plays professional football as a punter for the Arizona Cardinals and is estranged from all members of the family except Hal. He met and fell in love with Joelle Van Dyne (introducing her to his father), but later lost his attraction to her. After Joelle his conquests have all been mothers and this may be related to his intense hatred/lust for his own mother.

The Enfield Tennis Academy

  • Michael Pemulis (aka The Peemster, Penis-less) - Pemulis, a working class kid from a Southie family, is Hal's best friend. Pemulis is a prankster and the school's resident drug procurer. He is also a mathematical genius. This, combined with his limited but ultraprecise lobbing, made him the school's first Eschaton master. (Eschaton, a computer-aided turn-based nuclear wargame, requires that players be adept both at matters of game theory and at pegging targets with tennis balls.) Pemulis is thus the archetypal Eschaton player. Although the novel takes place long after Pemulis' Eschaton days (the game is played by twelve- to fourteen-year-olds), Pemulis is still regarded as the game's all-time great, and a final court of appeal in game matters. It's worth noting that he's very adept at the art of revenge–no one ever calls him Penis-less anymore. Also has a brother among the Boston Drag Queens who was repeatedly anally raped by their father in Allston.
  • Ortho "The Darkness" Stice - Another of Hal's close friends. He only endorses brands that have black-colored products, and is thus clad at all times entirely in black. He manages a narrow loss to Hal Incandenza 2/3 through the book, and becomes a more significant character as his ability to deny selfhood is realized.
  • John "No Relation" Wayne - Wayne is the top ranked player at the school, and was discovered by James Incandenza during the filming of one of his arguably pretentious art films (some might just find the films uniquely, funnily eccentric) which revolved around interviewing different men named John Wayne from around the US. Frighteningly efficient, controlled, and almost machine-like on the court, Wayne plays a major role in the novel.

The Ennet House Drug and Alcohol Recovery House (Sic)

  • Don Gately - a former thief and Demerol addict and current counselor in residence at the Ennet House. He is physically enormous, an avid Alcoholics Anonymous member, and intricately (though not obviously) connected to both the Enfield Tennis Academy and the international struggle to seize the Master Copy of Infinite Jest. He is one of the central characters in the book, second only to Hal. Gately is also the burglar who so offends the ADA with his toothbrush-in-ass antics (an outrageous scene that is a favorite at public Wallace readings), and furthermore is the accidental murderer of M. DuPlessis, one of the masterminds behind the Quebecois A.F.R and samizdat conspirators.
  • Joelle Van Dyne - aka Madame Psychosis on the radio (her on-air name, a play on metempsychosis) ; aka the Prettiest Girl of All Time (or PGOAT), as called by Orin; aka Lucille Duquette according to Molly Notkin's deposition to the U.S.O.U.S. (United States Office of Unspecified Services, a CIA stand-in), which may be either knowingly fabricated to get them off Joelle's trail, actually her (Joelle's) real name, or a lie Joelle/Lucille told Notkin who then passes it on as what she thinks is truth to the U.S.O.U.S.. She wears a veil, a la the Elephant Man, to hide her face. Whether she does this because she is Hideously and Improbably Deformed, or paralyzingly beautiful, or previously offputtingly beautiful but now H.I.D., is open to the reader's interpretation. At any rate, her hiddenness is one of the many examples of masking throughout the text, a symbol of, among other things, either not knowing oneself or willful secrecy. The PGOAT is the primary figure in the filmic Infinite Jest, filmed through a wobbly neo-natal lens, which reaches down to the camera as if a bassinet and apologizes profusely, sans veil - which supposedly triggers some sort of addictive pleasure complex in the viewer that makes even partial viewing of the samizdat suicidal. She tries to 'eliminate her own map' in Molly Notkin's bathroom via massive ingestion of freebase cocaine, unsuccessfully, which lands her in the Ennet House as a resident. As a resident she develops a strong connection to D. Gately and considers showing him whatever lies under the veil after his heroic actions in the middle of the text.
  • Kate Gompert is a cannabinoid addict who suffers from extreme unipolar depression. She shared a name with someone Wallace once knew, who subsequently sued the author and his publisher.
  • Pat Montesian - Ennet House manager. She is a recovered addict, stroke victim, and wife of Mars Montesian, a Boston billionaire. There is some suspicion that Mars owns the only non-lethal form of the Entertainment, and that their daughter is hopelessly addicted to it. Pat has a special fondness for Don Gately, possibly due to the fact that he has recovered from his addiction and has also survived being "Entertained". (This information [including the tenuous proposal about Mars and Pat's daughter, who collectively get a total of about 5 lines in the actual novel] would require deep reading into the text).
  • Ken Erdedy - Cannabinoid addict from first few chapters of the book.
  • Bruce Green - ex-husband of Mildred Bonk Green, once lived with Tommy Doocey, hare-lipped pot dealer for Erdedy, et. al.; reticent and fondly thought of as stoic by Gately; accompanies Lenz on post-AA meeting walks back to Ennet House and thus unknowingly prevents Lenz from murdering neighborhood pets, which culminates in the climactic fight scene.
  • Randy Lenz - resident cokehead scumbag not in the House to recover, but to hide from both the police and a group of drug dealers he managed to get one over on in a tremendous simultaneous con. The compounded stress of this hiding and a wicked case of withdrawal lead him to begin torturing animals, leading to the brutal fight mentioned above. Also relapses (general narcotics) prior to this event.
  • Tiny Ewell - a Lawyer with dwarfism; has obsession with others' tattoos (complete with classification system) as well as the corners of made hospital beds
  • Doony Glynn - a Boston roofer with extremely bad luck
  • Wade McDade
  • Geoffrey Day - pompously verbose E.H. resident in for crashing his Saab into a department store who, pre-rehab, authors the article on the Wheelchair Assassins and their pre-adolescent train jumping which Struck disastrously plagiarizes for Poutrincourt's "Quebecois" class
  • Calvin Thrust - Former porn star, star of several of Himself's films
  • Emil Minty - Perhaps named for the actor who portrayed the 'feral child' in the Road Warrior.

Les Assassins des Fauteuils Rollents

Les Assassins des Fauteuils Rollents (AFR) or, in English, the Wheelchair Assassins, are a Quebecois separatist group. Many such groups exist at the time of the book, when America has coerced Canada and Mexico into joining the Organization of North American Nations (ONAN), but AFR is the most deadly and extremist. While other separatist groups will settle for mere nationhood, AFR wants Canada to pull out of ONAN and to refuse America's forced annexation of its polluted northernmost strip. This is why the Antitoi brothers, despite also being separatists, suffer such gruesome fates at the hands of AFR: they are members of the FLQ whose goals AFR finds unacceptably moderate. The AFR seeks the master copy of IJ as a terrorist weapon to achieve its anti-experialist goals. AFR grew from a childhood game in which miners' sons lined up on a train track and tried to be the last one to jump in front of an oncoming train, a game in which many were killed and maimed. But despite being legless, the AFR is brutal and merciless. See n. 304, p. 1057, for the book's most thorough description of AFR motives, goals, and methods.

Only one miner's son has (disgracefully) failed to jump, and he may be the prosaic John Wayne's father, as they share the same last name. Quebecois Avril's liasion with Wayne, and with the half-Canadian attache Don Gately accidentally kills, suggest she may have ties to AFR as well, and there is compelling but vague evidence linking the teacher/prorector Poutrincourt to the group as well.

Miscellaneous Characters

  • Poor Tony Krause (P.T. Krause) - a Drag Queen formerly associated with Michael Pemulis' older brother, Matty, as well as Randy Lenz. Throughout the novel P.T. is on a harrowing downward spiral of drug use, seizures, who finally meets his end at the hands of Les Assassins des Fauteuils Rollentscitation needed]. Poor Tony is actually a bridge between many characters who are associated with the Entertainment, including Don Gately, and there is some supposition (though obscure) that he has experienced the Entertainment in a non-lethally addicting form, though addicting nonethelesscitation needed]. If the Ennet House is a literary device used to show the aftershocks and steps of recovery for addicts, P.T. is the novel's depiction of hitting rock bottom.


While the novel takes place in what is ostensibly modern-day North America, Wallace tweaks certain temporal and spatial elements to create a setting that is entirely particular to this book.

Subsidized Time

In the book's future, advertising's relentless search for new markets has created a world where, by ONAN's dictate, years are referred to only by their corporate sponsor.

  1. Year of the Whopper
  2. Year of the Tucks Medicated Pad
  3. Year of the Trial-Size Dove Bar
  4. Year of the Perdue Wonderchicken
  5. Year of the Whisper-Quiet Maytag Dishmaster
  6. Year of the Yushityu 2007 Mimetic-Resolution-Cartridge-View-Motherboard-Easy-To-Install-Upgrade For Infernatron/InterLace TP Systems For Home, Office, Or Mobile (sic)
  7. Year of Dairy Products from the American Heartland
  8. Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment
  9. Year of Glad

Most of the action in Infinite Jest takes place in the Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment, or Y.D.A.U., which is probably Gregorian 2009, taking the Year of the Yushityu... (the lengthily titled 6th Subsidized Year) as 2007. Critic Stephen Burn, in his book on Infinite Jest, argues convincingly that Y.D.A.U. corresponds to 2009: the MIT Language Riots took place in 1997 (n. 24) and those riots occurred 12 years prior to Y.D.A.U. (n. 60).

It is also possible that Y.D.A.U. is 2008, as Matty Pemulis turns 23 in Y.D.A.U. (p. 682). Matty's (and Mike's) father came over in 1989 when Matty was "three or four" (p. 683). If Matty had been three and four in 1989, he was born in 1985, which mean he turns 23 in 2008.

It's possible that Wallace deliberately kept the time of IJ somewhat fluid or simply couldn't be completely consistent throughout the book's 1000+ pages.

Geographic Location

The fictional Enfield Tennis Academy is a series of buildings laid out as a cardioid on top of a hill on Commonwealth Avenue. This detail has certain thematic resonances, as the ETA is in many ways the heart of the novel's setting, and a permutation of the American myth of a City Upon a Hill. The Ennet House lies directly below it downhill, facilitating many of the interactions between characters residing in both locations.

Orin lives in Arizona, a state where much of the dialogue between Helen Steeply and Remy Marathe takes place, and the student union of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- here a structure built into an image of the human brain -- is both the broadcasting site of Madame Psychosis' radio show and the location of a potentially devastating tennis tournament between the ETA and Canadian youths.

Readers familiar with Brighton, Massachusetts, will recognize that Enfield is largely a stand-in for Brighton. The pictures of Enfield and neighboring Allston that Wallace paints, however, seem to serve simply as points of contrast for the largely idyllic life of students at ETA. The name possibly references the former real-life Enfield, one of four towns in central Massachusetts now submerged under the Quabbin Reservoir.

Stylistic Elements

  • Endnotes are used prolifically throughout the text, and embody both formal experimentation and consideration for the hypothetical reader's plot sensibilities. Wallace has explained their use in an interview with Charlie Rose as a method of disrupting the linearity of the text while maintaining a portion of the narrative's cohesion, for readability.
  • Acronyms are a signature device in Wallace's work, and Infinite Jest is no exception.
  • Wallace's writing voice is also what some would call a postmodern mixture of high- and low-brow linguistic traits. He juxtaposes, quite often within a single sentence, colloquialisms and polysyllabic, highly esoteric words.

Thematic Elements

  • Infinite Jest is concerned with, among other things: addiction, the role of entertainment in modern America, the nature of film and literature, depression, competitive sports, familial relationships, cultural identity, spirituality, secrecy, and paranoia.

Critical Literature


  • Marshall Boswell, Understanding David Foster Wallace. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2003. ISBN 1-57003-517-2
  • Iannis Goerlandt and Luc Herman, "David Foster Wallace." Post-war Literatures in English: A Lexicon of Contemporary Authors 56 (2004), 1-16; A1-2, B1-2.

In-depth studies

  • Burn, Stephen. David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest: A Reader's Guide. New York, London: Continuum, 2003 (= Continuum Contemporaries) ISBN 0-8264-1477-X
  • Cioffi, Frank Louis. "An Anguish Becomes Thing: Narrative as Performance in David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest." Narrative 8.2 (2000), 161-181.
  • Goerlandt, Iannis. "'Put the book down and slowly walk away': Irony and David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest." Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 47.3 (2006), 309-328.
  • Holland, Mary K. "'The Art's Heart's Purpose': Braving the Narcissistic Loop of David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest." Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 47.3 (2006), 218-242.
  • Jacobs, Timothy. “The Brothers Incandenza: Translating Ideology in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov and David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest.” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 49.1 (2007). Forthcoming.
  • Jacobs, Timothy. “American Touchstone: The Idea of Order in Gerard Manley Hopkins and David Foster Wallace.” Comparative Literature Studies 38.3 (2001): 215-231.
  • Jacobs, Timothy. “David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest.” The Explicator 58.3 (2000): 172-175.
  • Jacobs, Timothy. “David Foster Wallace’s The Broom of the System.” Ed. Alan Hedblad. Beacham’s Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction. Vol 15. New York: Thomson-Gale, 2001. 41-50.
  • LeClair, Tom. "The Prodigious Fiction of Richard Powers, William Vollmann, and David Foster Wallace." Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 38.1 (1996), 12-37.
  • Nichols, Catherine "Dialogizing Postmodern Carnival: David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest." Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 43.1 (2001), 3-16.


  • Laura Miller, "The Salon Interview: David Foster Wallace." Salon 9 (1996). [1]
  • Michael Goldfarb, "David Foster Wallace." Radio interview for The Connection (25 June 2004). (full audio interview)

External links

  • Infinite Jest. Reviews, Articles, & Miscellany
  • The Howling Fantods! - David Foster Wallace: News, Info, Links
  • Infinite Jest Utilities Page
  • Foster Wallace talking about his novel
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