Date of Award

Spring 2018

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Liberal Studies




Paul Reich

Second Advisor

Emily Russell


I will attempt to reconstruct and interpret the elusive ‘Infinite Jest,’ the film within the novel of the same title. As James Incandenza’s final product whose cryptic message originates in the filmmaker’s broken upbringing and damaged relationship with his own family, the movie points beyond the novel to the world of the reader and serves as Wallace’s mirrored evaluation of the purpose and moral considerations on literary fiction, itself part of American culture. By analyzing primarily Incandenza’s relationship with his father in the two 1960s scenes, I intend to provide a missing component in previous IJ scholarship toward the elucidation of Incandenza as Wallace’s self-actuating literary device.

Rights Holder

Esteban Meneses