Infinite Jest

Infinite Jest

by

David Foster Wallace

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Infinite Jest: Chapter 19 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Mario Incandenza’s First and Only Even Remotely Romantic Experience, Thus Far .Around 7 pm one day in October Y.D.A.U., Hal and Mario walk together through the E.T.A. grounds. Mario can tell that Hal wants time alone and thus lets him slip off while Mario himself walks through the autumn leaves. Suddenly, a girl called Millicent Kent, who is the #1 Singles on the Girl’s 16-A squad, comes walking over. She tells Mario that she saw a silver tripod in the thicket, and they try to find it together. Millicent admits that, despite her extraordinary talent, she doesn’t like tennis that much and prefers modern dance, even though she’s not very good at it.
Millicent is yet another example of someone whose talent and success does not make them happy. Indeed, her preference for modern dance over tennis shows that “doing what you love” is not necessarily a recipe for success—in fact, frequently it is the opposite.
Themes
Talent, Precociousness, and Fame Theme Icon
Entertainment Theme Icon
Institutional Control vs. Rebellion Theme Icon
Millicent takes Mario’s hand and tells him about her father’s fetish for wearing clothes belonging to female relatives. Suddenly, Millicent pushes Mario’s head into her ribcage and confesses that she has had a crush on him for a long time. She tries to take off Mario’s pants and Mario tries to tell her that he is very ticklish, while Hal calls Mario’s name in the background. Millicent thrusts her hand into Mario’s pants, which makes him laugh uncontrollably. Hal locates them and the three of them walk out of the thicket. On the way, they stumble across the tripod.
In Infinite Jest, sex is rarely presented in a sensual or appealing way. Instead it is usually bizarre, aggressive, and disturbing. In this case, Mario’s first sexual experience is more of an assault. We don’t know how he feels about it beyond his instinctive physical reaction of laughing because he was ticklish.
Themes
Institutional Control vs. Rebellion Theme Icon