Infinite Jest

Infinite Jest

by

David Foster Wallace

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Infinite Jest: Chapter 56 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Late P.M., Monday 9 November Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. Pemulis and Stice are in Dr. Rusk’s office, and Stice is being told that he suffers from “counterphobia,” a form of magical thinking related to issues of control. Stice objects to Dr. Rusk’s diagnosis. It is late, though the lights inside both Avril’s office and the Headmaster’s Office are still on. Pemulis enters Avril’s office and finds John Wayne in there with Avril. Wayne is wearing a football helmet and little else, and Avril is wearing a cheerleader’s uniform. Pemulis comments that it is obvious he is interrupting and tells Avril he was hoping to speak with her.
The shocking twist of Pemulis finding Avril and John Wayne in the midst of some kind of sexual role play scenario puts Avril’s roles as a mother and school administrator in a truly different light. John Wayne’s football helmet indicates that Avril is acting out an incestuous fantasy about Orin, while as a cheerleader Avril is arguably playing the part of Joelle (who was a baton twirler). This strengthens the impression that Avril was pathologically jealous of Joelle.
Themes
Addiction, Mental Illness, and Suicide Theme Icon
Institutional Control vs. Rebellion Theme Icon