Infinite Jest

Infinite Jest

by

David Foster Wallace

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Lyle is a mysterious “guru” who sits on top of the towel dispenser in the weight room of E.T.A. In addition to a Hindu guru, he resembles a Christian ascetic. He doesn’t eat or drink but survives on licking and inhaling the sweat of people in the room. He possibly appears to Gately in wraith form (or is a wraith all along) during Gately’s feverish period in hospital.

Lyle Quotes in Infinite Jest

The Infinite Jest quotes below are all either spoken by Lyle or refer to Lyle. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Talent, Precociousness, and Fame Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Back Bay Books edition of Infinite Jest published in 1996.
Chapter 45 Quotes

“To be envied, admired, is not a feeling. Nor is fame a feeling. There are feelings associated with fame, but few of them are any more enjoyable than the feelings associated with envy of fame”…

“So I'm stuck in the cage from either side. Fame or tortured envy of fame. There's no way out.”

Related Characters: LaMont Chu (speaker), Lyle (speaker)
Page Number: 389
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Infinite Jest LitChart as a printable PDF.
Infinite Jest PDF

Lyle Character Timeline in Infinite Jest

The timeline below shows where the character Lyle appears in Infinite Jest. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 21
Talent, Precociousness, and Fame Theme Icon
Institutional Control vs. Rebellion Theme Icon
...newer kids think he is creepy and object to his presence. He is “supposedly” named Lyle. (full context)
Chapter 37
Talent, Precociousness, and Fame Theme Icon
Addiction, Mental Illness, and Suicide Theme Icon
Institutional Control vs. Rebellion Theme Icon
...petrified that he was going to “flunk grief-therapy.” In despair, Hal paid a visit to Lyle, who told him that instead of being a “student of grief,” he should start reading... (full context)
Chapter 40
Talent, Precociousness, and Fame Theme Icon
Addiction, Mental Illness, and Suicide Theme Icon
Entertainment Theme Icon
Institutional Control vs. Rebellion Theme Icon
...pursuing more creative film projects. Many E.T.A. students see Mario as a mild annoyance, although Lyle loves him and Hal, who calls him “Booboo,” secretly “idealizes” him. Hal thinks Avril might... (full context)
Chapter 44
Talent, Precociousness, and Fame Theme Icon
Addiction, Mental Illness, and Suicide Theme Icon
Entertainment Theme Icon
...1 May Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. Many years ago, James sought advice from Lyle after critics kept saying that the fatal flaw in all his work was plot. (An... (full context)
Addiction, Mental Illness, and Suicide Theme Icon
When James would go to seek help from Lyle, he spent hours drinking whisky while Lyle drank caffeine-free Diet Coke. Mario would be there... (full context)
Chapter 45
Talent, Precociousness, and Fame Theme Icon
Addiction, Mental Illness, and Suicide Theme Icon
Entertainment Theme Icon
Down in the weight room, Lyle recalls an E.T.A. student called Marlon whose skin was always wet. There are almost always... (full context)
Talent, Precociousness, and Fame Theme Icon
Entertainment Theme Icon
Reality as Corporate Dystopia Theme Icon
Institutional Control vs. Rebellion Theme Icon
Lyle’s advice tends to be straightforward and effective. Back upstairs, Mario’s film features James’s signature blending... (full context)
Addiction, Mental Illness, and Suicide Theme Icon
Institutional Control vs. Rebellion Theme Icon
One of Lyle’s repeated phrases of advice is “Do not underestimate objects!” When Stice seeks Lyle’s help about... (full context)
Chapter 58
Talent, Precociousness, and Fame Theme Icon
Entertainment Theme Icon
Reality as Corporate Dystopia Theme Icon
Institutional Control vs. Rebellion Theme Icon
...blindfolded in the hall by the weight room. They can hear Anton Doucette crying to Lyle; apparently some of the other boys are watching him “like it’s entertainment.” Troeltsch and Pemulis... (full context)