That's right, ladies and gentlemen. 43 pages to go. I think I may finish this thing tomorrow. I have to say, I'll feel relieved when I do, though I've enjoyed the experience very much. The only problem? It's becoming clear to me that this is a book that demands a second reading. NOT back-to-back; that's for sure. Maybe someday in the future when I've read some criticism (I'm interested to see if there's been anything written on the multiple narrators in the book). (Or maybe the many uses of the word "entertain.") And maybe after I've re-read Hamlet. I'm going to try not to give anything away as I report on the final pages of the book.
Here are some quotes, passages, etc....
"This so-called 'psychotically depressed' person who tries to kill herself doesn't do so out of quote 'hopelessness' or any abstract conviction that life's assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom [this] invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise." (p. 696)
Well, here's me being presumptuous, but this sounds awfully like someone who knew what that feeling was like. And it's really sad.
Endnote 304 is all about a student doing research - the incredible machinations one goes through to plagiarize something successfully vs. spending that time writing the damn thing yourself. It's an interesting passage for someone interested in information literacy...like me.
There's a passage that starts on page 896 where Hal considers all the times he'll repeat a given task, and all the times he'll breathe in and out, and all the food he'll eat - and becomes overwhelmed and discouraged by the thought. I've often thought about this too; so much of what we/I do is maintenance and repetition. This can depress you if you think about it too much, which of course is Hal's forte.
Then I don't know what I think about this:
"It now lately sometimes seemed like a kind of black miracle...that people could actually care deeply about a subject or pursuit, and could go on caring this way for years on end....We are all dying to give our lives away to something, maybe. God or Satan, politics or grammar, topology or philately - the object seemed incidental to this will to give oneself away, utterly. The games or needles, to some other person." (p. 900)
This seems to me to be sort of a statement on both addictions and pseudo-addictions, and maybe the unavoidableness thereof. Maybe this is the antidote to thinking too much about thousands of breaths and breaded chicken cutlets...and some people take it to a dangerous level.
Okay, word time. Note: I am not including the barrage of vocabulary words on page 832 partially because I think you're not supposed to know what they mean along with the character who's hearing them, and partially because I'm tired.
1. hanuman (n.) An Indian monkey, Presbytis entellus, venerated by Hindus.
2. veronica (n.) A large genus of scrophulariaceous plants (herbs or shrubs) having leafy stems and blue (rarely white or pink) flowers borne in racemes or spikes.
3. gonion (n.) The outermost point on the angle of the lower jaw on each side.
4. entrepôt (n.) Temporary deposit of goods, provisions, etc.; chiefly concr. a storehouse or assemblage of storehouses for temporary deposit. Also fig.
5. colposcope (n.) Entry for colpo- prefix: comb. form of Gr.
6. parturient (adj.) About to give birth; in labour; (of a plant) bearing fruit (obs.).
7. olla podrida (n.) 1. A highly spiced stew of Spanish and Portuguese origin, made from various kinds of meat and vegetables - or - 2. A diverse mixture of things or elements; spec. a mixture of different languages.
8. strigil (n.) An instrument with a curved blade, for scraping the sweat and dirt from the skin in the hot-air bath or after gymnastic exercise.
9. hulpil (n.) According to the Infinite Jest wiki, "probably a misspelling of "huipil," which is a kind of thin Mexican blouse"
10. parotitic (adj.) related to the inflammation of either of a pair of large salivary glands situated just in front of the ear
11. atheling (n.) A member of a noble family, a prince, lord, baron; in OE. poetry often used in pl. for ‘men’ (viri); in later writers often restricted as a historical term to a prince of the blood royal, or even to the heir apparent to the throne.