DIKSIA.COM - Infinite Jest is a novel by the American writer David Foster Wallace, published in 1996. It is one of the most ambitious and influential works of fiction in the 20th century, and has been praised by critics and readers alike for its originality, complexity, and humor. The novel is set in a near-future dystopia, where the United States, Canada, and Mexico have formed a superstate called O.N.A.N., and where corporations sponsor the calendar years.
The novel revolves around two main settings: a tennis academy run by the eccentric Incandenza family, and a halfway house for drug addicts and alcoholics. The novel also features a mysterious film called Infinite Jest, which is so entertaining that anyone who watches it becomes addicted and loses all interest in anything else.
Themes and Motifs
One of the main themes of Infinite Jest is the nature and effects of entertainment and addiction in modern society. Wallace explores how people seek various forms of entertainment, such as drugs, alcohol, television, sports, and art, to escape from the boredom and pain of their lives, and how these forms of entertainment can become addictive and harmful.
Wallace also examines how entertainment can be used as a weapon of mass destruction, as in the case of Infinite Jest, which is sought by a group of Quebecois separatists who want to use it to destroy O.N.A.N.
Another theme of the novel is the difficulty of communication and connection in a world where people are isolated and alienated by technology, bureaucracy, and consumerism. Wallace shows how the characters struggle to express themselves and relate to others, and how they often resort to irony, sarcasm, and self-deception to cope with their problems.
Style and Structure
Infinite Jest is a postmodern and encyclopedic novel, famous for its length, detail, and digressions. The novel consists of 1,079 pages, with 388 endnotes, some of which have footnotes of their own. The novel has an unconventional narrative structure, with multiple plot lines and characters, and frequent shifts in time, place, and perspective.