Infinite Jest

Infinite Jest


David Foster Wallace

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Infinite Jest: Chapter 25 Summary & Analysis

Enormous, Electrolysis-Rashed Journalist ‘Helen’ Steeply’s Only Putative Published Article Before Beginning her Soft Profile on Phoenix Cardinals Punter Orin J. Incandenza, and her Only Putative Published Article to Have Anything Overtly to Do with Good Old Metropolitan Boston, 10 August in the Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment, Four Years After Optical Theorist, Entrepreneur, Tennis Academician, and Avant-Garde Filmmaker James O. Incandenza Took his Own Life by Putting his Head in a Microwave Oven. This chapter consists of the article by Hugh/Helen Steeply described in the chapter title. The article describes a 46-year-old Boston woman who was the second North American citizen to receive a “Jarvik IX Exterior Artificial Heart.” At first the heart transplant was a success and greatly improved the woman’s quality of life; however, tragically her heart (which was in her purse) was snatched by a drug-addicted “transvestite purse snatcher” in Harvard Square. The woman cried out: “She stole my heart!” and then collapsed. The heart was found smashed to pieces behind the Boston Public Library.
This is another highly surreal chapter, which emerges from the joke of literalizing the saying “she stole my heart.” The exterior artificial heart is yet another example of an impressive yet counterintuitive, bizarre, and somewhat sinister technological development that has taken place in the world of the novel. Carrying around an artificial heart in a purse is surely a recipe for disaster—as the woman’s fate shows.
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