Analysis of David Foster Wallace´s Novel: Infinite Jest

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Self and other The theme of self versus other evident in the novel is reflective of the postmodern idea that there exist boundaries between the two separate entities, the internal and external, perception and reality. This theme manifests as the idea that the ‘other’ can influence the ‘self’, that society controls the individual. Wallace also explores the theme of self and other in Infinite Jest by contrasting the boundary between what goes on inside the characters’ heads and the outside world. Characters such as Millicent Kent feel a sense of loneliness in their own thoughts and consequently seek diversion in something other. Kent alludes to the “Taoist paraboloid logo” (Wallace 265) which symbolizes self and other when she “asked Mario if he’d ever seen a girl’s yin-yang before” (Wallace 124). Kent draws a parallel between the two pairs of seemingly opposite forces that are actually connected to and dependent upon each other. For Millicent and Mario, yin and yang symbolize female and male, but also a balanced relationship that leads the characters out of loneliness. Through his allusion to ideological jargon, Wallace suggests that a harmonious balance between self and other is necessary.

Irony leads to addiction One of the most poignant instances of irony is in regards to the cynicism in postmodern society. The characters Infinite Jest are remarkably sarcastic and the narration of the novel has a dark, satirical quality to it. David Foster Wallace uses Remy

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