Infinite Jest

Infinite Jest


David Foster Wallace

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Infinite Jest: Chapter 30 Summary & Analysis

Tennis and the Feral Prodigy, Narrated by Hal Incandenza, an 11.5-Minute Digital Entertainment Cartridge Directed, Recorded, Edited, and—According to the Entry Form—Written by Mario Incandenza, in Receipt of New-England Regional Honorable Mention in Interlace Telentertainment’s Annual ‘New Eyes, New Voices’ Young Filmmakers’ Contest, April in the 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), Almost Exactly Three Years After Dr. James O. Incandenza Passed from this Life. This chapter is narrated in the form of instructions, beginning with an instruction of how to wear a red E.T.A. shirt. The narrator (Hal) also gives instructions on how to play tennis and excel at E.T.A. He then remarks: “Here is how to handle being a feral prodigy.” He gives further instructions on how to survive screenings of his father’s art films, how to turn down a date, how to endure a growth spurt, and how to “be no one.” Hal finishes with a recommendation of different medications and balms.
There is tension between the long, detailed chapter title and the content of the chapter. The title seems to imply (through the clause “according to the entry form”) that it is unlikely that Mario himself wrote the film. Indeed, the tone of the film—including the phrase “feral prodigy”—does not sound like the kind of language Mario would use. It’s unclear if this means that Hal wrote it instead.
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