I have not yet finished Infinite Jest, but I would like to write my final blog post now so I can spend Sunday doing Spanish homework and finishing the book in a more relaxed manner, so I guess this is just a random collection of reflections on Wallace’s work and the class as a whole.
Prior to taking this class I had only read one or two of Wallace’s short stories. This was during the summer after I had gotten in early decision and someone had informed me of this apparently brilliant author that taught at my future school. At this point I was pretty obsessed with finally going off to college and anything Pomona related. I bought Oblivion and read through a few of the stories (Mr. Squishy left me rather disappointed, to be honest), but I think I mostly had the book because it was one more thing that I could buy that had some Pomona significance and I was so pumped to come here. When Wallace died I was really shocked and selfishly disappointed that I never got to take a class from him, but I still had not grasped how amazing and important a writer he was until I started reading some of the articles written following his suicide.
When I was looking through the available courses for second semester a friend informed me that the DFW class had been added to the list. I guess I just took it because it fit into my schedule and I was curious to see what all of the fuss was about. Over winter break I joked with my parents that the course might only entail reading Infinite Jest and writing a book report, and that this would be a plenty big enough workload in itself. When I learned that we would be reading all of Wallace’s work, I got a little worried.
While this has certainly been the most reading I have ever done for a class in addition to a fair deal of work writing on the blog and so on, it has also been my favorite class so far in college, perhaps in my life. The more of Wallace’s work that I read, the more I grow to appreciate his genius and the unique qualities that make his style of writing so enlightening. It would be an educational enough experience to simply read all of Wallace’s work, but to have twenty-some other students, all of whom are very intelligent, as well as a professor who knew the author personally helping to analyze and interpret the writing is a phenomenal thing. I really wish I didn’t have any other classes. It is fantastic that we can all sit around a room and open the doors to new ideas for one another, see things from each others many different perspectives. And the work is such that there is always more to find. Had I been reading these books alone, I am sure it would have been enlightening, but I wouldn’t have come close to the comprehension or grasp of his writing that I have right now.
I guess all I am really getting at is that I am extremely glad I took this class instead of macroeconomics or intro to psychology. Not only have I picked up some new favorite books, but it has enabled me to begin to have an understanding of where literature can go in this era, how our modern day issues ought to be dealt with in writing. I feel an even stronger (selfish) regret that I never got the chance to learn from him when I was in just the right place to now that I have taken the class, but then again, I have learned from him, just not in person.