Thursday, May 10, 2007


I’m posting a day late! But I figure that a slightly late blog is better than no blog at all (and I’ll be doing some wiki-ing later to make up for this and the countless other things I’ve missed). So! Without further ado:

Definitely a main part in this section centered around Gately’s period of time spent in his hospital bed, which is a kind of abstract stream of consciousness, where sometimes the reader knows exactly what is going on (as in during Ewell’s revelation) or has no idea if Gately is in a dream or experiencing reality or if anything is even making sense. I thought one of the coolest and weirdest parts was when Gately was having a vision about the wraith in the hospital room.

The section with the wraith is so bizarre because at one end its like this really eerie horror-movie-esque (or at least psychological thriller-esque) sequence in which some disembodied ghostly form comes to in a sense haunt Gately. But at the other end this is not your ordinary specter, he has distinct brown socks and a hairy nostril and is self-piteous and drinks coke and explains himself to be “an ordinary garden-wraith” as if he was no more out of the ordinary then some animal in your backyard. This absurdity is funny and sets the stage for the scene.

As it is not clear whether Gately is actually sleeping or awake, though he claims to be in a dream, the whole atmosphere of this part is completely ethereal and detached from our notions of reality. The wraith actually seems to have a sense of humor, although he clearly has a very purposeful reason for being there. I think that his speech about background actors connects to Gately in that Gately always felt like he played a background role in any scene between his mom and the M.P., even if he was in the room during beatings he would quietly remove himself from the situation.

Another interesting thing about the wraith is that once he talks about filmmaking J.O.I. pops into my head. Another indicator of J.O.I. is his explanation of being sober for the last 90 days of his life (is this consistent with J.O.I.? Too lazy to check…). It is very possible that the wraith and J.O.I. are in fact different people but D.F.W. strikes me as too perceptive an author to just toss these coincidences around. If indeed there are meant to be connections between the characters, I wonder which Incandenza son is the feared backdrop. I think the one that makes the most sense is Orin, it is clearly not Mario, and Orin displayed the most disconnect from the family especially in giving up tennis, hating Avril and not showing up to his father’s wedding. In a sense Orin has become sort of a background, while he is a pro football player he only has a small role and he is also somewhat the background in many women’s lives. If any T.V. show or book followed one of Orin’s “subjects,” Orin would be nothing more than one night of pleasure and one small footnote. In this way, while Gately knows noting about the Incandenza family, the wraith provides a connection between different plot lines and shows people can Identify with other people with seemingly completely different backgrounds.

That section was what I found to be the most drawing during my reading of this section of Jest. I am both excited for and unhappy about reaching the end of this long (almost ‘infinite’)

EDIT: Busted! I'm not completely caught up on today's reading, so if the wraith is later absolutely confimed to be J.O.I.'s wraith, forgive me for my talk about speculation.


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