Infinite Jest

Infinite Jest

by

David Foster Wallace

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Infinite Jest: Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
9 May — Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. Hal usually leaves his dormitory before 6 am and doesn’t get back until after dinner. He shares a room with his younger brother Mario, who doesn’t play tennis. Someone calls Hal on his cell phone and tells him: “My head is filled with things to say.” Hal replies that he doesn’t mind and “could wait forever.” The line cuts out; the person who called was Orin. Mario wakes up and asks who was calling, and Hal tells him to go back to sleep. He says the person on the other end was someone Mario doesn’t know.
This passage introduces us to more layers of the Incandenza family’s unique dysfunctionality. Hal and Orin’s words to each other on the phone sound like those of lovers; meanwhile, Hal’s lie that he was talking to someone Mario doesn’t know points to unspecified tensions between the brothers.
Themes
Talent, Precociousness, and Fame Theme Icon
Institutional Control vs. Rebellion Theme Icon