Infinite Jest

Infinite Jest

by

David Foster Wallace

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Medical Attaché Character Analysis

The medical attaché works for the personal physician of Prince Q——, the Saudi Minister for Home Entertainment. He lives in Boston with his wife. A Sufi Muslim, the attaché does not drink or take drugs but has a compulsive relationship to watching film cartridges at the end of the day. It is hinted that he had an affair with Avril. He is mailed an unmarked copy of the Entertainment (possibly by Orin) and, not knowing what it is, falls victim to it (and assumedly dies as a result).

Medical Attaché Quotes in Infinite Jest

The Infinite Jest quotes below are all either spoken by Medical Attaché or refer to Medical Attaché. 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 5 Quotes

A more than averagely devout follower of the North American sufism promulgated in his childhood by Pir Valayat, the medical attaché partakes of neither kif nor distilled spirits, and must unwind without chemical aid… The medical attaché sits and watches and eats and watches, unwinding by visible degrees, until the angles of his body in the chair and his head on his neck indicate that he has passed into sleep, at which point his special electronic recliner can be made automatically to recline to full horizontal, and luxuriant silk-analog bedding emerges flowingly from long slots in the appliance's sides.

Related Characters: Medical Attaché
Related Symbols: Substances
Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Infinite Jest LitChart as a printable PDF.
Infinite Jest PDF

Medical Attaché Character Timeline in Infinite Jest

The timeline below shows where the character Medical Attaché appears in Infinite Jest. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5
Addiction, Mental Illness, and Suicide Theme Icon
Entertainment Theme Icon
Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. A Saudi medical attaché (who is ethnically only half-Arab and was born in Canada) is in the northeast U.S.... (full context)
Addiction, Mental Illness, and Suicide Theme Icon
Entertainment Theme Icon
On Wednesday nights, the attaché’s wife plays in an Arab Women’s tennis league at the Mount Auburn Club in Watertown.... (full context)
Addiction, Mental Illness, and Suicide Theme Icon
Entertainment Theme Icon
Searching through the new cartridges, the attaché finds a medical film and a women’s magazine for his wife. He also finds a... (full context)
Chapter 7
Talent, Precociousness, and Fame Theme Icon
Addiction, Mental Illness, and Suicide Theme Icon
Entertainment Theme Icon
...a “workaholic.” Mario begins to cry. The chapter ends with a note that the medical attaché is still watching the unmarked entertainment cartridge. (full context)
Chapter 9
Talent, Precociousness, and Fame Theme Icon
Addiction, Mental Illness, and Suicide Theme Icon
Entertainment Theme Icon
Just after midnight on April 2, the medical attaché’s wife leaves her tennis evening while the medical attaché sits at home still watching the... (full context)
Chapter 14
Addiction, Mental Illness, and Suicide Theme Icon
Entertainment Theme Icon
In a brief passage, the medical attaché’s wife arrives home to find the medical attaché watching the entertainment cartridge in a “soiled”... (full context)
Chapter 15
Addiction, Mental Illness, and Suicide Theme Icon
Entertainment Theme Icon
Institutional Control vs. Rebellion Theme Icon
...afternoon of April 2, Y.D.A.U., Prince Q——’s personal physician’s personal assistant goes to the medical attaché’s house to check why he hasn’t shown up for work. When the assistant doesn’t come... (full context)
Chapter 16
Entertainment Theme Icon
Institutional Control vs. Rebellion Theme Icon
...he calls “the Entertainment.” He notes that the cartridge was received by a Saudi medical attaché in Boston, and that the package was sent from the Southwest. (full context)
Entertainment Theme Icon
Reality as Corporate Dystopia Theme Icon
Institutional Control vs. Rebellion Theme Icon
...with the Entertainment, suggesting that the cell wanted to “make an example” out of the attaché. He adds that the attaché may have had a connection to the Québécoise wife of... (full context)
Chapter 55
Addiction, Mental Illness, and Suicide Theme Icon
Entertainment Theme Icon
Institutional Control vs. Rebellion Theme Icon
...of the audience of an avant-garde film festival in Arizona, not to mention the medical attaché and associated “incidentals” in Boston. (full context)