Reach and Pull

Musings on Infinite Jest

The Highest Common Denominator

with 3 comments

In this corner of the internet, I’ll be musing randomly on Infinite Jest, musing to myself and to the friend who recommended the book to me.


Written by reachandpull

July 21, 2008 at 6:52 am

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. Okay so after reading your theory, I went back and did some leg work. Luckily for me, when I re-read IJ I took great notes and had every pg. on which Lyle appears written down in the back of the book. So right off the bat, beside the tongue licking (pg. 933, which also includes a desciption of Lyle) there is a more confirming clue. On pg. 128 the narrator says: “His (Lyle’s) big one for awhile was: ‘And the Lord said: Let not the weight thou wouldst pull to thyself exceed thine own weight.'” This of course refers to the advice Lyle gives the students at ETA. Then on pg. 973 while Gately is in a fever dream we have this: “A voice that sounded like his own brain-voice with an echo said to never try and pull a weight that exceeds you.” This clearly shows Lyle communicating as a wraith. But, this is IJ and nothing is so easily decided. On pg. 199 Pemulis overhears Lyle talking to Graham Radar, so Lyle can actually talk aloud, rather strange for a wraith. But the pg. also mentions that Lyle’s voice is always a whisper, which could be construed as barely talking; maybe he’s found a way to talk even though he’s a wraith. But then on pg. 316, it talks about him DRINKING a fuckin caffiene free diet coke. What kind of ghost can drink real live coke? Also on pg. 379, he gets tipsy off of JOI’s pores excreting bourbon and on pg. 784 Hal supposes he doesn’t want to lick his pores because Hal was always high. Also on pg. 128, the color of his Spandex can change, even though his T-Shirt stays the same. Some more intersting things: he mentions how incredibly old the earth is numerous times, he does isometric neck stretches, and he supposedly met JOI in the 80’s at a remote spa off Canada’s NW coast, and he disappears for three days while JOI is away right before JOI dies. And strangest of all on pg 700 he begins to levitate above the towel dispenser and when we hear from him again he is talking to Gately’s internal brain voice. So my thought is that Lyle is some semi-wraith who has figured out how to “escape the cage” after all he tells LaMont Chu (pg. 389), “You might consider how escape from a cage must surely require, foremost, awareness of the fact of the cage”.

    Jesse Simms

    August 28, 2008 at 6:14 am

  2. Great comment Jesse, but it was added to the wrong post! LOL, no wonder some people still think I’m nuts, they’re missing out on your exquisite evidence.


    September 26, 2008 at 9:31 pm

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