I thought the scene where the Waterhouse Family splits the inheritance was absolutely hilarious (Origin 620-633). The notion that the contentious process of equally dividing all of Randy's grandmother's possessions by reducing their worth to two relatively simple variables, monetary and sentimental value which then have to be crunched by a supercomputer. In spite of the supposed equality and objectivity, Rnady admits that "certainly there won't be a mathematically exact solution" (630). With everyone's fixation on getting what they want, it seems that they may as well have just fought it out and settled it the good old fashioned way!
After all the discussion about being forced out into the world and forced to abandon infant-like innocence I though Pamela Hoffman-Jeep's character, the girl that "spent most of her life passed out and sleeping" was an interesting example of someone that is managing to retain that infant-like innocence. Only such a character is perpetually taken advantage of, and the "single passivest person" Gately's ever met (924). So staying "beyond" the corruption of the world isn't really that attractive either. As "Death's Poster-Child," is she an illustration of how someone that resists the world is just waiting for death?
Hal and Gately converged in some ways near the end. Both end up attending Ennet house meetings, and are connected to Joelle, and have a dangerous addiction to drugs, but there's more....
I feel like we a got a lot of horizontal or reposed imagery near the end, especially with the two of them. There was the scene where Hal was lying in his room and can't get up (902), and the scene with Gately falling onto the floor when he's really drugged up (938), Gately being stuck in the hospital bed, and of course the end, with Gately lying on the cold sand at the beach. All of these reposed positions kept evoking a death/corpse image for me.
On page 433 it says that Mario had insisted that he be the one to clean up the mess that was the result of Clipperton "blowing his brains out" inside a room in the ETA. I was wondering if anyone knew/had an idea about why Mario insisted on this. Do you think it had something to do with the fact he was the only one able to connect with Clipperton?
Okay, still got quite a bit of reading to do, but as I've been reading, I keep thinking about this: from the moment I read Jim Incandenza's microwave-related death on April Fools (and Hal's reaction about something smelling delicious), I've been wondering if every death in this novel is going to be interlaced with some sort of humor. I remember the man who was robbed in the beginning of the novel, and died from a stuffy nose after the robbers put tape over his mouth.
And now we get the absolutely absurd story of Eric Clipperton, who swears he'll shoot himself if he should ever lose a tennis match, and then blows his head away when he's marked first on the rankings. The people at ETA compare him to the Kid who laced his Nestle Quik with cyanide after winning a tournament, and is discovered by his dad, who tries to give him CPR. Then every single member of his family (including the little medically-trained siblings) proceeded to give CPR to the last person who tried to recessitate someone in the family, and "by the end of the nigth the whole family's lying there blue-hued and stiff as posts, with incrementally tinier amounts of lethal Quik smeared around their rictus-grimaced mouth" (437). That moment was tragic, but also sort of amusing to me... very darkly comical.
I thought it was really interesting that Himself commits suicide on April 1st. I feel like this has to have some significance. Killing yourself on a day of practical jokes? Was it meant to be the biggest joke of all time? Or maybe he felt he was a joke? I'm not sure.
Here were just some things that stood out to me during the first part of this reading...
I thought it was oddly fitting that Sister Edgar was described like death/some powerful force in the game of "Tag, You're It" that damns children forever. (717) On page 720, Matt also describes her nun's habit like something the Grim Reaper would wear: "It was her after all, habit and hood. The cloth was daunting. She was all cloth. She was a wall of laundered cloth. A woman of the cloth."
I also wondered about those dogtags that the kids have to wear so that their bodies could be identified "following the onset of atomic war" (717). Wouldn't the dogtags be destroyed, as well? What's the point then?
It is so refreshing to actually understand a book's plot!
I am anxious to find out what connections Delillo makes between the prologue and Nick Shay's narrative-- how the ball ended up in Nick's hands, the relationship between Nick and Kara forty years ago (an affair?), etc. I'm anticipating some sort of connection between bombs and baseballs, but I'm not quite sure what to make of it yet.
I'm sure this will make more sense as I read further, but I'm not sure about the significance of the prologue's title-- "the triumph of death," which was also the title of the painting that fascinates J. Edgar Hoover. While everyone else is celebrating the triumph of the Giant's huge win, climbing over seats and rushing into the field, Hoover is completely fascinated with the image of the dead and rotting bodies. Delillo mentions that Hoover is somewhat of a germaphobe, yet he "loves this stuff." Then he focuses on the audience: "Admit it--you love it" (50).