As I get deeper into Cryptonomicon, Bobby Shaftoe seems to remind me a lot of Hal Incandenza. Beyond his moments with Glory (which he promptly sets out to forget), Bobby has an automated robotic and detached quality about him. Beginning with the lizard incident, he feels unable to communicate with others except in his military protocol which Stephenson essentially boils down to a sterile enabler for the less pleasant side of soldiery i.e. killing other people. As we see on page 203 Bobby misses the "good old days, back on Guadalcanal" where he was "a free agent" able to accomplish his orders by all means necessary, but now he just takes exact orders with absolutely no freedom.
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.
I found the section around page 500 about James (Jim) Incandenza as a child interacting with his father very interesting. Did anyone else notice that Jim speaks similar to the way Hal speaks? I think that it is the matter-of-factness with which they both express their ideas. Looking at the way Hal speaks to Orin, responding with what seems like no emotion, it reminds me of this passage on page 499 where Jim is speaking to his father: "But I said I'd definitely hgeard and could confirm the prescence of a squeak when he'd pressed on the mattress, and could verify that the squeak was no one's
The beginning totally took me back to the joys of the college process. I love how well Wallace has college admission people pegged. Their way of talking was spot on, and the absurdity and artificiality of the whole affair seemed all too familiar to me. I really got a kick out of the terrified kid sitting in a chair surrounded by a mob of different adults, all sort of debating and nicely arguing about his future. In a way, it was almost like he's a young king or prince or something (no connection, but suddenly I think of Prince Hal from King Henry IV).
When Hal calls Mario Booboo, I thought about Yogi Bear. At first I figured that Mario was younger--but I think he's older, right? Doesn't the relationship between Hal and Mario seem strange in that case? Does being an athlete somehow make him older or more respected (Hal that is)? What's the deal?