Infinite Jest

Infinite Jest

by

David Foster Wallace

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Orin is the eldest of the Incandenza children. He was in the first class of students at E.T.A., and originally gained a tennis scholarship to B.U. However, after falling in love with a sophomore baton twirler (Joelle), he switched to playing football. Orin ends up playing for the NFL and living in Arizona. He is not as intelligent as Hal or as kind as Mario; he is also highly dishonest, capable of convincing himself of his own lies. Orin is a sex addict who only gives but does not receive pleasure. He calls the women he sleeps with “Subjects,” and is especially attracted to married mothers. The implication is that Orin’s sex addiction results from his complicated relationship with Avril. Orin is deeply resentful of his mother, but the two of them appear to have sexual obsessions with one another, and it is possible that they have even had sex. Throughout most of the novel Orin is seemingly in possession of the master copy of the Entertainment and has been sending copies out to people (such as the medical attaché, presumably to punish him for his affair with Avril). At the end of the novel, Orin is kidnapped by one of his Subjects, a Quebecoise woman named Luria P—— who had been posing as a Swiss hand model. Luria and M. Fortier torture Orin in order to find the location of the master copy, and Orin surrenders.
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Orin Incandenza Character Timeline in Infinite Jest

The timeline below shows where the character Orin Incandenza appears in Infinite Jest. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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...first home was in a suburb called Weston. He recounts a story his older brother Orin told him from their childhood. Orin was helping their mother Avril, who they nickname “the... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...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... (full context)
Chapter 8
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October — Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. Orin wakes up alone in Phoenix; the woman he slept with the night before left her... (full context)
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One of the women Orin was recently sleeping with liked watching InterLace education cartridges, and Orin ended up watching a... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...that she struggled to obtain a visa to enter the United States. Having a child (Orin) with James helped Avril to overcome this obstacle. In the five years before James’s death,... (full context)
Chapter 13
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Denver CO, 1 November Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. Orin and the rest of his football team (the Arizona Cardinals) are flying around a stadium... (full context)
Chapter 22
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3 November Y.D.A.U.Orin calls Hal and asks why Hal always sounds so out of breath when he answers... (full context)
Chapter 35
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...many hours but never let her see the footage. Joelle nicknamed him “Infinite Jim.” After Orin left, Joelle went through a phase of getting high and cleaning. At this point it... (full context)
Chapter 36
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...Minimal Mambo, an “anticraze” popular in Y.D.A.U. that basically looks like standing still. Joelle was Orin’s lover and James’s “optical beloved” for about two years each. Joelle thinks about James’s suicide,... (full context)
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...Studies). She thinks about how much fun freebasing was at the beginning. Neither James nor Orin showed any interest; Orin because of the urine tests he had to undergo for football,... (full context)
Chapter 37
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5 November — Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. Orin calls Hal and Hal tells him that he’s picked an “interesting” time to call, as... (full context)
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Orin says the journalist is unusually large, but “weirdly sexy.” Orin says he’s reluctant to discuss... (full context)
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...a bottle of Wild Turkey whisky next to him on the counter when he died. Orin grows more and more horrified by the details of the suicide, and Hal tells him... (full context)
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Orin is incredulous about this twist in the story, but Hal insists that from then on,... (full context)
Chapter 38
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Orin left the world of competitive tennis when Hal was 9 and Mario 10. As a... (full context)
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On April 1 of Orin’s senior year of college (Year of the Trial-Size Dove Bar), James killed himself. Later, in... (full context)
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Orin and his doubles partner nicknamed this girl P.G.O.A.T., or Prettiest Girl Of All Time. She... (full context)
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While everyone’s attention was focused on the collision, Orin kicked the football from where it had landed near him back toward them. He had... (full context)
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That year, Joelle spent Thanksgiving with Orin’s family and Orin spent Christmas with hers in Kentucky. On New Year’s Eve, Orin watched... (full context)
Chapter 40
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...the punctuation in Emily Dickinson’s poetry. This is followed by a letter Avril sent to Orin in June, Y.W.-Q.M.D., in which she tells him news from E.T.A. and tells him she... (full context)
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(The same endnote then recounts a phone conversation between Hal and Orin in which Hal mentions an Emily Dickinson poem. He explains to Orin that he is... (full context)
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(In the same endnote, Orin asks why James’s name would be associated with the word samizdat. Hal muses that it’s... (full context)
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...far more than they hate O.N.A.N. Hal asks for more information about Helen, and when Orin gets cagey, Hal brings up Orin’s promiscuity and fetish for married mothers. Hal angrily urges... (full context)
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...to Hal, who gestures for Pemulis to throw him a pair of underwear. Hal tells Orin that Pemulis is there signaling that it’s time for dinner. Hal, Pemulis, Struck, and Troeltsch... (full context)
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(In the final passage of this extended endnote, Orin tries to continue the conversation while Pemulis threatens to break off the antenna of Hal’s... (full context)
Chapter 44
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...his work was plot. (An endnote here contains a “transcript-fragment” from Helen Steeply’s interview with Orin in Moment magazine. Orin explains how James slowly lost his sanity and that it was... (full context)
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(In the same endnote, Orin says that he and Hal always called James “Himself” or “the Mad Stork,” although when... (full context)
Chapter 58
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In a hotel room, Orin is having sex with a Swiss hand-model he met in Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport after... (full context)
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(In the same endnote, Orin also accuses Avril of “worship[ing] Mario,” treating him as a “secular martyr.” However, he then... (full context)
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Back in the main narrative, it is noted that the Swiss woman approached Orin at the airport and asked him to sign a football for her “toddler-age son.” Orin... (full context)
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After Orin leaves the hotel, he thinks about a man in a wheelchair he saw there, and... (full context)
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Orin can only give and not receive pleasure, to the delight of many of his Subjects... (full context)
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The man in the wheelchair asks Orin what he misses, elaborating that he wants to know what Orin feels nostalgia or yearning... (full context)
Chapter 59
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...correlation between one-handed backhands and breast size in female players. Hal thinks about the girl Orin was once “wildly in love with” who starred in James’s films and who ended up... (full context)
Chapter 62
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...against Stice. Both players are left-handed. Steeply has (ostensibly) come to speak to Hal about Orin, but Charles won’t let her have a conversation with him yet. No one knows where... (full context)
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...her to speak with Charles, and then suggests that she profile Coach Schtitt instead of Orin, because Schtitt is a “genius.” He is confused why she is writing about Orin, considering... (full context)
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...answers, which he sends back to Helen in another letter. Bain explains that he and Orin were childhood friends who met through competitive junior tennis. They were the top two under-10... (full context)
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...at E.T.A. after it was founded when he was 15. At the academy, he and Orin experimented with substances; taking psychedelics left Bain with several disabilities that now make his life... (full context)
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(In the same endnote, Bain describes a horrifying story in which he and Orin drove Orin’s parents’ car without realizing that the family dog, S. Johnson, was attached to... (full context)
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Steeply reiterates that she is profiling Orin, not a current E.T.A. student. DeLint returns, and Steeply offers to switch to French; Poutrincourt... (full context)
Chapter 68
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...the Entertainment and appeared to have obtained them via a relative who was an athlete (Orin). Steeply has been “clinging to this person like a bad odor.” Fortier notices that the... (full context)
Chapter 69
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...a love for cleaning that has nothing to do with getting high. When she and Orin lived together as young lovers, she would put anxiety at bay by cleaning, which gave... (full context)
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Orin had predicted that James would want to cast Joelle in his films because of her... (full context)
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...they became close, James confessed to Joelle that he didn’t know how to talk to Orin or Hal. Orin used to cry about his nonfunctional relationship with James. Avril always creeped... (full context)
Chapter 70
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...Hal asks if Mario remembers S. Johnson, and says he can’t stop thinking about how Orin lied to Avril about S. Johnson’s death. (full context)
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...persuaded him to conduct the test in a month’s time. Mario suggests that they call Orin and ask him to come to WhataBurger. Hal discusses different types of lies, even sorting... (full context)
Chapter 71
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...with a peculiar lens. Molly explains that Madame Psychosis only had a sexual relationship with Orin, not James, and that she hadn’t attended James’s funeral. Madame Psychosis has never seen the... (full context)
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...college, she realized how creepy this was. It reached a horrible climax when she brought Orin home for Thanksgiving and her father started mashing up her turkey into puree. She confronted... (full context)
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...to her husband’s chemical lab to throw acid on herself. Madame Psychosis, her father, and Orin all ran after her, though not before the mother had drastically disfigured herself with the... (full context)
Chapter 74
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...would treat him with “compassionate sorrow rather than disappointed sorrow.” Hal remembers a time when Orin and a group of other E.T.A. students organized a clandestine viewing of some porn cartridges,... (full context)
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James told Orin that he wouldn’t ban him from watching hardcore porn, but that he would rather he... (full context)
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Orin thinks that James was still a virgin in his late 30s, when he and Avril... (full context)
Chapter 75
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Orin has been imprisoned inside a glass cage by his latest Subject, the Swiss hand-model (Luria... (full context)