Infinite Jest

Infinite Jest

by

David Foster Wallace

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The Enfield Tennis Academy in Enfield, MA, an elite junior tennis academy founded by Dr. James Incandenza and run by Charles Tavis and Avril Incandenza after James’s suicide. Much of the novel is set at E.T.A., which is a short walk away from Ennet House Drug and Alcohol Recovery House.
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E.T.A. Term Timeline in Infinite Jest

The timeline below shows where the term E.T.A. appears in Infinite Jest. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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...called Aubrey deLint. Hal is trying to seem “neutral.” His uncle is the headmaster of E.T.A., the boarding school in Enfield, Massachusetts that Hal has attended since the age of seven.... (full context)
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...Hal’s test scores are “subnormal,” strangely low considering that he receives grades of “A++” at E.T.A. This is suspicious, especially considering that both his uncle and mother are administrators at his... (full context)
Chapter 3
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...Oxford English Dictionary definition of words on command, and gets beaten up for this at E.T.A. Hal asks the man if he has been sent to speak with him because his... (full context)
Chapter 9
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...method to “give themselves away.” Using drugs or alcohol is technically grounds for expulsion for E.T.A., but this is rarely enforced, particularly because the prorectors of the school—who are E.T.A. alumni—tend... (full context)
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...at it, his dinner untouched, having peed his pants. Meanwhile, Mario is tasked with filming E.T.A. students playing tennis, so they can visualize their mistakes and learn to correct them. (full context)
Chapter 11
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3 November — Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. E.T.A. student Jim Troeltsch is ill again. The illness came on extremely quickly, and Jim can... (full context)
Chapter 12
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As of Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. E.T.A. was first directed by James Incandenza, and after his death, by James’ brother-in-law, Charles Tavis.... (full context)
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...overcome this obstacle. In the five years before James’s death, he gave Charles control of E.T.A. and spent all his time making documentaries and other opaque and “dramatic” cartridges. At 54,... (full context)
Chapter 13
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...thinks to himself: “I’m an athlete! Not a freakshow performer!” In the next passage, an E.T.A. student called Michael Pemulis tells a group of little kids about the effects of eating... (full context)
Chapter 17
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Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. On November 3, Hal and other E.T.A. students are discussing an exam in the locker room. They then quiz each other on... (full context)
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Hal and the other E.T.A. students complain about how tired they are. They have class and training seven days a... (full context)
Chapter 18
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...November Y.D.A.U. Hal and a group of other students discuss the struggle they endure at E.T.A. and wonder if it is all worth it. Kent Blott admits that he’s started to... (full context)
Chapter 19
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....Around 7 pm one day in October Y.D.A.U., Hal and Mario walk together through the E.T.A. grounds. Mario can tell that Hal wants time alone and thus lets him slip off... (full context)
Chapter 21
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...A guru sits in the lotus position on top of the towel dispenser of the E.T.A. weight room. No one knows where he came from, but he can always be found... (full context)
Chapter 27
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...ranked above #64 are subject to urine tests four times a year. This includes many E.T.A. students, and about a quarter of them would not be able to pass the urine... (full context)
Chapter 29
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...on M.I.T.’s student-run station, WYYY. Mario is a devout listener. Pemulis gets home to his E.T.A. dorm and immediately calls Hal, who gives the code indicating that he would like to... (full context)
Chapter 30
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...in the form of instructions, beginning with an instruction of how to wear a red E.T.A. shirt. The narrator (Hal) also gives instructions on how to play tennis and excel at... (full context)
Chapter 32
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Avril Incandenza quit her studies at M.I.T. to focus full-time on designing E.T.A.’s curriculum. E.T.A. is one of the few sports academies in North America with a rigorous... (full context)
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...Unit #7 is immediately discharged. Some Ennet House residents have custodial or kitchen jobs at E.T.A., which sits on a flattened hilltop right behind Unit #7. (full context)
Chapter 33
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6 November Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. It is 4:10 pm in the E.T.A. Weight Room, and a group of students are completing their weight training while yelling aggressive,... (full context)
Chapter 36
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...describes the geography of Enfield in detail, ending with a restatement of the proximity between E.T.A. and Enfield Marine. (full context)
Chapter 37
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...name is Helen. Orin asks about the P.G.O.A.T.—Joelle—and Hal explains that she hasn’t been around E.T.A. since she and Orin broke up. (full context)
Chapter 38
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6 November Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. It is the annual meet between E.T.A. and the Port Washington Tennis Academy, hosted at P.W.T.A. in Long Island as it is... (full context)
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...okay and returns to the match immediately. His game is “less alive than undead.” At E.T.A., he spends most of his time alone. No one knows how he feels about the... (full context)
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...He needs to win if he’s going to make the traveling list for WhataBurger. Most E.T.A. students receive corporate sponsorship in the form of gifts (they are not permitted to receive... (full context)
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The E.T.A. players make a triumphant return from P.W.T.A., having watched their opponents sing the silly song.... (full context)
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...(Year of the Trial-Size Dove Bar), James killed himself. Later, in a Convocation address to E.T.A., Uncle Charles explained that it would have been absurd for Avril to become Headmistress on... (full context)
Chapter 40
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7 November — Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. Every prorector at E.T.A. teaches one class per term, and these classes are thought to be “jokes” by the... (full context)
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Troeltsch reports E.T.A.’s victory over P.W.T.A. in creative language. Hal is currently enrolled in a proector class called... (full context)
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...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 loves him and misses him. The reply, which is also included... (full context)
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...of old letters, and Orin gives him romantic advice. Hal then tells him news from E.T.A., and Orin asks him what the word “samizdat” means. Hal explains that it is a... (full context)
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Mario is also cognitively impaired, and he remains on the outside of life at E.T.A., although he had a special role in supporting James’s filmmaking. He continues to record E.T.A.... (full context)
Chapter 42
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...Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment Interdependence Day Gaudeamus Igitur. Every year a group of E.T.A. students around the ages of 12-15 get obsessed with a highly complex game called Eschaton.... (full context)
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...do to the precise regions they hit is precisely calculated. It is Interdependence Day, “an E.T.A. day of mandatory total R&R,” and Hal, Pemulis, and Troeltsch sit together on the pavilion... (full context)
Chapter 45
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...film was of a finger puppet show, and it was such a surprising hit with E.T.A. students and staff that it is screened every year on Interdependence Day. (An endnote here... (full context)
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Down in the weight room, Lyle recalls an E.T.A. student called Marlon whose skin was always wet. There are almost always people in the... (full context)
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...following Lyle’s advice before, but Lyle dismisses this as no problem at all. Almost no E.T.A. students smoke cigarettes because it makes training so much more painful, but Hal is addicted... (full context)
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Some E.T.A. students know that this part of the film is a “puppet-à-clef-type allusion” to the story... (full context)
Chapter 46
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...if Clipperton would simply disappear after this accidental success, but instead he turned up at E.T.A. shortly after, in an obviously bad state. (full context)
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...Clipperton’s body made. The room where he shot himself is still used to threaten disobedient E.T.A. students, who are told they will be sent to the “Clipperton Suite” if they do... (full context)
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...and before long not only her but all the boys’ six siblings were dead too. E.T.A.’s staff counselor, Dr. Dolores Rusk, is notoriously “worse than useless.” (full context)
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Mario’s film is still playing, and the E.T.A. audience members are getting increasingly fidgety. Headlines announce that President Gentle is “more or less... (full context)
Chapter 49
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9 November Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. There are currently 12 available spots at E.T.A., which Charles wants to fill only with male applicants because the current 64:72 male-to-female ratio... (full context)
Chapter 52
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10 November Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. Almost everything in the Headmaster’s Office at E.T.A. is blue. Charles’s receptionist is nicknamed “Lateral Alice Moore” by students because she is a... (full context)
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Every month, E.T.A. runs a check to make sure none of the students are being sexually abused, referred... (full context)
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...Dr. Rusk is already waiting. Otis P. Lord is in there too, along with an E.T.A. nurse and a urologist wearing an O.N.A.N.T.A blazer. Hal, Pemulis, and Axford all come in... (full context)
Chapter 57
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...he once met a deformed infant who was a refugee from the Great Concavity. At E.T.A., Hal and John Wayne have a brief, silent encounter. (full context)
Chapter 58
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...that Hal and Mario won’t understand how insane their mother is until they finally leave E.T.A. He then tells the story about Hal eating the piece of house mold as a... (full context)
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...watching him “like it’s entertainment.” Troeltsch and Pemulis are there too. The boys discuss other E.T.A. students, then nuclear fusion. They then discuss annular medicine, which involves practices like “treating cancer... (full context)
Chapter 59
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11 November Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. It is dinner time at E.T.A., and everyone is eating except Axford, who after a childhood accident developed a neurological condition... (full context)
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Recently, inanimate objects have been moving around E.T.A. seemingly of their own accord, though there seems to be an unspoken consensus not to... (full context)
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...quiet as Evan Ingersoll walks in on crutches, a prorector carrying his dinner tray. Overall E.T.A. is a place surprisingly devoid of sex. The boys wonder why Hal seems so miserable.... (full context)
Chapter 62
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11 November Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. Helen Steeply has arrived at E.T.A. and watches a match Hal plays against Stice. Both players are left-handed. Steeply has (ostensibly)... (full context)
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...He explains that it is Charles’s decision, but adds that they’ve never allowed a current E.T.A. student to be interviewed before. Steeply is panicked and irritated. DeLint advises her to speak... (full context)
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(In the same endnote, Bain continues that he was one of the first students at E.T.A. after it was founded when he was 15. At the academy, he and Orin experimented... (full context)
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...have to use in the construction of the Lung, a new inflatable covering for the E.T.A. courts. Some of the tunnels have been used for storage and are now strewn with... (full context)
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...left, and Thierry Poutrincourt has come to sit next to Steeply instead. She explains that E.T.A. staff might seem unfriendly because they are protective of their students, who she calls their... (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 shrugs, unimpressed, but continues... (full context)
Chapter 65
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...experience of everything in the world becoming completely meaningless—a kind of abstraction effect. Many young E.T.A. students think James committed suicide as a result of anhedonia. However, this is a mistaken... (full context)
Chapter 66
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...everybody.” Another girl, Jennie Bash, tells Hal that there is an enormous lady wandering around E.T.A. looking for Hal. Blood Sister, a “shocksploitation” cartridge, is one of very few James Incandenza... (full context)
Chapter 69
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...Cult du Prochain Train,” Marathe had use of all his limbs. (An endnote here describes E.T.A. student James Struck Jr. conducting research on the A.F.R. for his History of Canadian Unpleasantness... (full context)
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...on a cartridge for the residents, saying that Clenette brought some donated ones over from E.T.A. that afternoon. (full context)
Chapter 70
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11 November Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. Mario is making a documentary about E.T.A., and has taken to walking around campus with a camera that James made called the... (full context)
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...she’s only had sex twice. Eventually she stops responding to him at all. Back at E.T.A., Mario tells Hal that he seems sad, and Hal confesses to his secret marijuana use... (full context)
Chapter 71
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(An endnote describes the boys’ locker room at E.T.A. on the same day, 17 November. Possalthwaite is having a breakdown over being unable to... (full context)
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...he has something important he needs to speak about with Avril. DeLint tells Pemulis that E.T.A. believes he dosed Wayne with stimulants against his knowledge. Pemulis will be allowed to finish... (full context)
Chapter 72
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...track down Joelle. They decide it won’t be possible to commit a “direct assault” on E.T.A., and thus plan to “intercept” a team of young tennis players traveling to WhataBurger from... (full context)
Chapter 73
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...a zoo. When he wakes up, Mario is still asleep in his bed. Every year, E.T.A. hosts a “semipublic exhibition meet” between Interdependence Day and WhataBurger. E.T.A. donors and alumni attend... (full context)
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The next passage is narrated in the first person. The narrator, Hal, describes walking through E.T.A. and running into Ortho Stice in the boys’ bathroom. Stice remarks that Hal is up... (full context)
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...and worked as a researcher for the Navy before being dishonorably discharged two years later. E.T.A. students guess he is either hypomanic or an amphetamine addict (or both). Hal finds him... (full context)
Chapter 74
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Back at E.T.A., Hal suddenly experiences a surge of “unexplained panic.” There is something he enjoys about this... (full context)
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Hal recalls when James’s obsession with making films began, shortly after E.T.A. was founded. Avril assumed it was just a phase, and Hal wonders if part of... (full context)
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...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, only to be ratted out by... (full context)
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...He is aware of their ongoing sexual relationship, which began shortly after Wayne arrived at E.T.A., and doesn’t know how he feels about it. (full context)
Chapter 75
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20 November Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment; Immediately Pre-Fundraiser-Exhibition-Fête Gaudeamus Igitur. At E.T.A., there is a solemn, ritualistic atmosphere as the students prepare to play. The chapter is... (full context)