Infinite Jest

Infinite Jest

by

David Foster Wallace

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Infinite Jest: Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
October — Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. Orin wakes up alone in Phoenix; the woman he slept with the night before left her number on his pillow. He and the rest of his NFL team returned from Chicago two days ago. There is a cockroach infestation at his house in Phoenix that he can’t get rid of, no matter how many times the exterminator comes. Orin is terrified of cockroaches, heights, and the early morning—and especially by flying cockroaches. He frequently has nightmares about cockroaches and heights, which usually begin “with some sort of competitive-tennis situation.” Last night he dreamed that Avril’s head was attached to his own like a helmet.
Like Hal, Orin also suffers from a number of neuroses. His nightmare about Avril’s head suggests that these neuroses originate in his relationship with his mother. Dreaming that Avril’s head was attached to his own suggests that Orin finds Avril overbearing and suffocating. He feels that he cannot get away from his mother; her presence is so inescapable that she horrifyingly becomes part of his body.
Themes
Talent, Precociousness, and Fame Theme Icon
Addiction, Mental Illness, and Suicide Theme Icon
Institutional Control vs. Rebellion Theme Icon
One of the women Orin was recently sleeping with liked watching InterLace education cartridges, and Orin ended up watching a CBC documentary about schizophrenia with her. The documentary was horrifying. As a result of the recent stress he’s been experiencing, Orin begins calling the woman again.
Again, the implications of this paragraph are pretty clear: Orin attempts to escape his neuroses through sexual promiscuity. In a sense, Orin’s “drug” of choice is sex with women.
Themes
Addiction, Mental Illness, and Suicide Theme Icon
Entertainment Theme Icon