Orin and Hal’s Chat

During this time of year nearly everyone struggles to keep their head above water and I’ve found myself drowning in Infinite Jest. (Yesterday I sat in the fort we made reading and my suitemates dubbed our author Favid Woster Dallace). Despite my less than conducive work environment I thoroughly enjoy Jest. Every day is a struggle to keep from being brutally behind and (in a show of solidarity) I love seeing folks from class carrying around our books. Oh, and I’m thinking of another thing also: is anyone else sort of scared to read? This could be a personal problem, as I’m often someone who confuses the emotions of others for my own.


One of my favorite parts thus far has been the phone conversation between Hal and Orin that begins on 242. Orin begins: “Mr. Incredenza, this is the Enfield Raw Sewage Commission, and quite frankly we’ve had enough shit out of you.” Orin’s clearly done this before, Hal recognizes Orin and the prank is undermined. Still, Orin demonstrates dominance over Hal, calling him “Hallie.” We can see their intelligence and their one-upmanship in their diction: “You start to get like a superstitious native. What’s the word propitiate the divine spell.” Halfway down this page I was considering using the O.E.D. for the sake of my own comprehension and then they actually mention the lovely book.   Simultaneously they keep up the brotherly banter with the clippers. In connection, this passage informs us about Orin’s character. Now we know he’s the kind of guy who picks up women, goes back to their trailer where the “sweet little twins” play “very quietly with blocks without supervision the whole time” (245).  During their talk, Orin mentions that “there seems to be a statistically improbably number of wheel-chaired figures around” (245). I’m pretty proud of myself for discovering the bit of solipsism.   Orin’s only purpose for calling Hal is to run something by him. Hal validates his suspicion in a way which makes it appear plausible and ludicrous: “very shy vans, possibly?”  The conversation on 135 has a similar feeling.

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