RackPull

Infinite Jest timeline

Events mentioned or described in Infinite Jest (1996) are listed below in chronological order based on textual evidence.

1920s, St. Pamphile, Quebec
Avril Mondragon’s grandfather decides to invest in Delaware-brand Punch instead of Coca-Cola.
1933, Tucson, Arizona
James Orin Incandenza’s father, James Sr., slips and injures his knee at age 12 or 13.
1940, London
The Union of the Hideously and Im­probably Deformed is founded.
Late 1960s
DMZ is discovered.
Winter 1960, Tucson
Jim’s father talks at length to a silent and prone-to-cry Jim.
~1961
Avril’s mother dies. Her father leaves for a few months and returns with his new American wife Elizabeth Tavis and her son Charles.
1963, Sepulveda, California
Jim’s father is working as the Man from Glad. He tries to fix his squeaky bed with Jim’s help. Jim becomes interested in annulation.
1960s
Jim has moved east. When Jim’s grandfather Mario Sr. dies and leaves a small fortune, Jim’s father retires from Glad and moves back to Tucson.
1970s
P-terminal experimentation.
Tiny Eldred K. Ewell Jr. scams and steals from his neighborhood, club, and father.
1983
Hugh Steeply’s father, with his MAS*H obsession, stops leaving his den.
Orin Incandenza is born as ‘at least partly a legal maneuver’ to get Avril into the U.S.A.
1989
At a U.S.T.A. convention, Gerhardt Schtitt talks to Jim regarding ‘real’ tennis.
Randy Lenz does a hallucinogen called ‘The Madame’ and experiences the world as a Cartesian grid.
1989 or 1990, Toronto
Charles Tavis’s design of SkyDome ballpark-and-hotel complex ends in embarrassment.
November 1990, Back Bay, Boston
Mario Incandenza is born in a complete surprise.
June 1992
Harold James Incandenza is born.
1996 or 1997, Allston, Boston
Mad Matty Pemulis’s father starts sexually abusing him (age 10) with Michael (age 5) in the room.
1997
M.I.T. language riots sparked partly by a debate between Steven Pinker and Avril at the Militant Grammarians of Massachusetts convention.
First dated year of Jim’s films.
March or early April ~1997, Weston, Boston
Hal eats a mold, as recounted by Orin.
~1998
Ethan From (sic) spells the end of Donald Gately’s potential football career. Gately starts working for Whitey Sorkin.
Enfield Tennis Academy opens. The Incandenzas move in from Weston over the course of almost one year.[1]
August 1999
Orin’s neglect leads to the death of Avril’s dog S. Johnson.
Fall 2001
Orin enrolls in Boston University, falls for Joelle van Dyne, switches to football, and moves in with Joelle.
Thanksgiving 2001
Joelle meets Orin’s family for the first time.
Christmas 2001
President Johnny Gentle attends the Ken-L-Ration-Magnavox-Kemper-Insurance Forsythia Bowl in Las Vegas. Donald Gately watches this game on InterLace and cries at Orin’s limitless potential. Two days later, Gately assaults two bouncers in Danvers, MA.
Joelle and Orin spend the holiday at her home in Shiny Prize, Ken­tucky. Her father does not smile at all to Orin.
31 December 2001
First State of the O.N.A.N. Address by Gentle. Reconfiguration of the map and the entertainment industry follow.
Orin sees Joelle do cocaine for the first time.
Year of the Whopper (2002)
Ennet House Drug and Alcohol Recovery House is founded.
Joelle plays her first role for Jim, plucking the string in The American Century as Seen Through a Brick.
Eric Clipperton seeks counsel at E.T.A., then shoots himself in front of Jim and Mario while Lyle is walking to them from the weight room with Lateral Alice Moore.
Winter Year of the Whopper
Depressed about criticism of his plots, Jim goes to Lyle. Found Drama and anticonfluentialism are born.
Winter Year of the Whopper and/or later[2]
Gately is on a 3-month bail before his bouncer-assault sentence at Billerica Minimum. He does full-time burglary with two lesbian cocaine addicts, leaving more of his work for Whitey Sorkin to Eugene Fackelmann. Sorkin employs Bobby C. Fackelmann scams Sorkin and Eighties Bill and uses the money to buy Dilaudid from Dr. Wo. Bobby C’s crew shoots Gately up with Talwin-PX (‘Sunshine’) and kills Fackelmann. After Gately finishes his sentence, Trent Kite becomes his burglary partner.
Year of the Tucks Medicated Pad (2003), Adirondack, New New York
For over 20 months, drivers and passengers have been killed by Les Assassins des Fauteuils Rollents (the Wheelchair Assassins) from Papineau, Quebec.
1 April Year of the Tucks Medicated Pad
Professional conversationalist scene.
Thanksgiving Year of the Tucks Medicated Pad
Traumatic revelations for Joelle’s parents, with Orin in attendance, as unreliably detailed by Molly Notkin. Notkin claims Joelle’s mother killed herself both on Thanksgiving and after release from custody.
Year of the Trial-Size Dove Bar (2004)
Clenette Henderson’s friend Wardine is sexually abused by Roy Tony and physically abused by Wardine’s mother.
January Y.T.S.D.B.
To satisfy Joelle’s condition for starring in Infinite Jest, Jim quits drinking.
March Y.T.S.D.B.
Jim flies somewhere for three days—Hal and Mario don’t know where. Lyle is gone from the weight room during this time. A week later, Avril takes Jim to detox.
1 April Y.T.S.D.B.
Jim suicides at age 54.
April Y.T.S.D.B.
Jim is buried in L’Islet Province.
April–May Y.T.S.D.B.
Hal attends grief therapy.
August Y.T.S.D.B.
Jim Troeltsch arrives at E.T.A. and starts broadcasting sports for WETA.
Autumn Y.T.S.D.B.
Many prominent Separatists are assassinated by the A.F.R.
Christmas Y.T.S.D.B.
By Jim’s will, Mario is gifted a head-mounted Bolex camera.
Year of the Perdue Wonderchicken (2005)
Mario shakes Barry Loach’s hand. Loach gets hired as an Assistant Trainer at E.T.A., then becomes Head Trainer after the previous Head Trainer, possibly Lyle, dies in a sauna accident.
21 February Year of the Perdue Wonderchicken
In an essay about heroes, Hal predicts a future of the catatonic hero.
Year of the Whisper-Quiet Maytag Dishmaster (2006)
Gately’s license gets suspended.
Summer Year of the Whisper-Quiet Maytag Dishmaster
Mario shoots his puppet adaptation of Jim’s The ONANtiad.
Year of the Whisper-Quiet Maytag Dishmaster, pre-Thanksgiving exhibition
Ted Schacht injures his knee.
Year of the Yushityu 2007 Mimetic-Resolution-Cartridge-View-Motherboard-Easy-To-Install Upgrade For Infernatron/InterLace TP Sys­tems For Home, Office Or Mobile
Ennet House’s founder, the Guy Who Didn’t Even Use His First Name, dies from a cerebral hemorrhage at age 68.
Michael Pemulis rigs Dr. Dolores Rusk’s door knob with a battery, resulting in the serious injury of a cleaning lady.
April Year of the Yushityu 2007
Hal narrates Tennis and the Feral Prodigy, a film by Mario.
Year of Dairy Products from the American Heartland (2008)
A member of U.H.I.D. comes to E.T.A. to sell Mario the idea of wearing a veil. Hal tells him to piss off.
Hal smokes marijuana for the first time, when he is nearly 16.
31 August Y.D.P.A.H.
E.T.A. Convocation with Charles Tavis’s annual speech.
Autumn Y.D.P.A.H., Brookline, Norfolk County, Massachusetts
Gately robs and unintentionally kills Guillaume DuPlessis, assistant coordinator of the pan-Canadian Resistance. Gately enters Ennet House to avoid going to jail.
24 December Y.D.P.A.H.
Emil Minty (yrstruly), Bobby C, and Poor Tony Krause rob and severely beat up Burt F. Smith. Minty and C buy heroin from Wo. C dies from laced Drano.
1 April Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment (2009)
The 36-year-old medical attache receives and watches a copy of the Entertainment mailed from suburban Phoenix.
30 April–1 May Y.D.A.U., outcropping northwest of Tucson
Rémy Marathe of the A.F.R. and Hugh Steeply of the United States Office of Unspecified Services meet to discuss the Entertainment.
9 May Y.D.A.U.
Orin calls Hal and they briefly recite lines from The Beatles song ‘I Want to Tell You’.
August Y.D.A.U.
Charles Tavis interfaces with 7-year-old matriculant Tina Echt. Hal interfaces with Avril.
10 August Y.D.A.U.
Helen Steeply publishes an article about Poor Tony Krause stealing a woman’s heart.
October Y.D.A.U.
A bird falls into Orin’s Jacuzzi.
Pemulis and Axford sell clean urine for the O.N.A.N.T.A. urine test.
Ken Erdedy enters Ennet House.
Mid-October Y.D.A.U.
1900h. ‘Mario Incandenza’s first and only even remotely romantic experience, thus far’ featuring the U.S.S. Millicent Kent and a wraith-placed telescoping tripod.
Late October Y.D.A.U.
0000h. A broadcast of Sixty Minutes More or Less with Madame Psychosis.
Very late October Y.D.A.U.
Hal has a recurring dream of losing teeth.
Madame Psychosis has gone absent from her radio show.[3]
1 November Y.D.A.U., Denver, Colorado
Arizona Cardinals’ extravagant opening ceremony, which Orin despises and fears.
3 November Y.D.A.U.
Jim Troeltsch is sick in bed with a cold. He has been stealing Tenuate from Pemulis.
1640h. E.T.A. players are tired and venting in the locker room.
E.T.A. Big Buddy sessions.
Orin calls Hal to ask about Quebec Separatism.
4 November Y.D.A.U., Antitoi Entertainent (sic)
Pemulis scores thirteen 50-mg tablets of DMZ from Bertraund Antitoi, who traded for the tablets from Sixties Bob as part of ‘an attack on the fiber of New New England’s youth.’
5 November Y.D.A.U.
Orin calls Hal to ask about Jim’s death while Hal is clipping toenails.
Pemulis, Hal, and Axford decide to take the DMZ on 20–21 November. The condition is Pemulis has to get an invitation to the WhataBurger Southwest Junior Invitational in Tucson.
6 November Y.D.A.U.
Matches at Port Washington Tennis Academy in Long Island, New York.
1610h. In the E.T.A. weight room, Pemulis eavesdrops on Lyle giving advice to Graham ‘Yardguard’ Rader on perfectionism.
7 November Y.D.A.U.
Midterm for Mary Esther Thode’s course on double binds.
1435h. WETA broadcast.
Orin calls Hal to ask about ‘samizdat’.
Joelle attempts an overdose suicide at Molly Notkin’s party.[3]
Interdependence Day, 8 November Y.D.A.U.
Eschaton violence.
1930h. E.T.A. watches Mario’s adaptation of The ONANtiad.
Lyle tells LaMont Chu there is fear in fame.
Lyle tells Ortho Stice to not underestimate objects.
Gately goes to an AA meeting with Ken Erdedy and Joelle.[3]
9 November Y.D.A.U.
0500h. E.T.A. dawn drills.
Johnette Foltz takes Ken Erdedy and Kate Gompert to a marijuana NA meeting. Erdedy ends up hugging Roy Tony.
2100h. Pemulis eavesdrops on Ortho Stice in Dr. Rusk’s office, then walks in on Avril and John Wayne.
November Y.D.A.U.
1800h. Under Pat Montesian’s order, Gately drives to buy eggs and peppers for Joelle and Amy Johnson.
The A.F.R. raid Antitoi Entertainent for the Entertainment. They had traced a pawned item that had belonged to DuPlessis to Trent Kite, who revealed that he gave the tapes to Sixties Bob, who revealed that he traded it to the Antitois.
10 November Y.D.A.U.
Hal, Pemulis, Axford, and Kittenplan are summoned to Charles Tavis’s office. It turns out Clenette Henderson has been in the office along with Dr. Rusk, Otis P. Lord, and the O.N.A.N.T.A. urologist. For Hal’s sake, Pemulis gets his and Hal’s urine test delayed 30 days by blackmailing Avril.
11 November Y.D.A.U.
Gately and Joelle engage in a heated dialogue regarding her veil.
Ortho Stice almost beats Hal with what seems to be influence from Jim the wraith. On the bleachers, Steeply and Thierry Poutrincourt develop suspicions of each other.
1625h. The Tunnel Club discovers an old fridge crawling with maggots.
Pemulis and Jim Struck research DMZ at the B.U. School of Phar­macy’s library.
Orin has sex with the ‘Swiss’ hand model and answers questions by the wheelchaired ‘surveyor’.
1810h. E.T.A. dinner. Stice attempts to will movement on objects.
Hal watches Jim’s films instead of studying.
2030h. Jim Struck reads Geoffrey Day’s article on the A.F.R.
Mario asks Avril how to tell if someone’s sad.
2245h. Bruce Green witnesses Randy Lenz murder a dog.
2300h. Outside Ennet House, Mario hears a Madame Psychosis recording. He wants to ask to borrow tapes.
Hal confesses to Mario about recent events.
November Y.D.A.U.
Helen Steeply corresponds with Marlon Bain.
The WYYY engineer is abducted by the A.F.R. in Back Bay.
12 November Y.D.A.U.
0004h. Three Canadians chase Lenz to Ennet House. Gately beats them up and gets shot.
1930h. Pemulis helps Hal with math.
13 November Y.D.A.U.
0245h. Geoffrey Day tells Kate Gompert about the horrifying dark billowing shape.
14 November Y.D.A.U.
Poor Tony suffers a seizure on his way from the Armenian Foundation Library to Antitoi Entertainent. Later, Matty Pemulis notices Poor Tony on the sidewalk.
2200h. Poor Tony steals Kate Gompert and Ruth van Cleve’s purses and gets chased by van Cleve.
2224h. Randy Lenz has stolen two Chinese women’s bags.
Marathe investigates Ennet House.
At a jazz club, Marathe tells Kate Gompert about his wife and invites her to watch the Entertainment.
17 November Y.D.A.U.
Hal goes to Ennet House and asks for a meeting schedule.
1420h. In the E.T.A. locker room, Pemulis consoles a crying Todd Possalthwaite while Keith Freer mocks on.
1435h. WETA broadcast. John Wayne has privately taken some of Jim Troeltsch’s Seldane not knowing it is actually Tenuate that Troeltsch has been stealing from Pemulis. Wayne spills his guts on WETA and the aftermath will be Pemulis’s expulsion from E.T.A.
Hal drives to an NA Meeting only to sit in on an Inner Infant meeting with Kevin Bain.
November Y.D.A.U.
Molly Notkin is interviewed by the U.S.O.U.S.
Gately’s visitors and dreams in St. Elizabeth’s Hospital: Tiny Ewell; Joelle; Pat Montesian; Mrs. Lopate the objay dart; Joelle; Calvin Thrust; Geoffrey Day; Jim; Glenn Kubitz, Bud O., and Jack J.; Joelle as Winston Churchill; Joelle as Mrs. Waite and Death; Joelle with her photo album; Ferocious Francis Gehaney and the Pakistani M.D.; Wade McDade and Gavin Diehl; Chandler Foss; Ennet House House Manager; riding north on a bus; getting licked by a wraith, presumably Lyle; digging Jim’s grave.
19 November Y.D.A.U.
The A.F.R. prepares to intercept the Quebec tennis players travelling to E.T.A.
20 November Y.D.A.U., blizzard in Boston
0456h. After waking from a bad dream,[4] Hal brushes his teeth and finds Ortho Stice stuck to a window. Hal sees someone sitting in the bleachers outside. The disconnect between Hal’s mood and expressions begins. Stice asks Hal whether Hal believes in ghosts. Troeltsch emerges from Axford’s room, which, Hal later finds out from Kyle Dempsy Coyle, is now Troeltsch’s room. After Hal gets janitors Kenkle and Brandt to go help Stice, he experiences a panic attack and lies down in Viewing Room 5. Pemulis comes in and wants to talk, but Hal opts to watch Good-Looking Men in Small Clever Rooms… instead. At some point, Pemulis’s ceiling panels ‘fall’ and his stash goes missing. Hal returns to his room, where Mario and Coyle are watching Accomplice! Hal reminisces on his childhood and imagines Avril having sex with her various men.
Meeting on Fully Functional Phil, the prancing ass, between: Rodney Tine Sr.; Rodney Tine Jr.; P. Tom Veals of Viney and Veals Advertising; Maureen Hooley of InterLace Children’s Entertainment; and Carl E. ‘Buster’ Yee of Glad.
E.T.A. players prepare for the exhibition against Quebec.
November Y.D.A.U.
After a visit to Gately, Joelle is interviewed by Helen Steeply. There’s a police car outside Ennet House when she returns.
The Revere Assistant District Attorney reveals to Pat Montesian his problem with Gately.
A.F.R. technical interview of Orin.
Hal gets wheeled into an emergency room for the first time.
12 December Y.D.A.U.
Boards exam.
November Year of Glad (2010), University of Ari­zona, Tucson
Hal is in town for the WhataBurger and attends an admissions interview accompanied by Charles Tavis and University of Arizona alumnus Aubrey deLint. It’s suggested that Orin is still alive and playing in the NFL.
December Year of Glad
Hal’s projected graduation from E.T.A.
This is the final year of Subsidized Time.

Footnotes

  • [1] The following quotes are inconsistent in terms of years and ages. Interestingly, the final quote uses Orin’s nickname for Hal in third-person omniscient narrative—in Orin’s answers to Steeply, he fumbles their ages.
    • The Enfield Tennis Academy has been in accredited operation for three pre-Subsidized years and then eight Subsidized years…’
    • I could barely recall the ‘98 blizzard. The Academy had been open for only a few months.’
    • You have been in residence at the Enfield Tennis Academy since age seven.’
    • …the Enfield Tennis Academy — erected… when Mario was nine and Hallie eight and Orin seventeen…’
  • [2] This whole Gately episode could have happened around Y.W.Q.M.D.(2006) instead:
    • At twenty-four he’d done 17 months at Billerica for assaulting two bouncers in a nightclub…’
    • But from age like eighteen to twenty-three, Gately… served as like Whitey Sorkin’s operative…’ The ages given here are inconsistent with Gately being 27 in Y.D.A.U.
    • That _bit_ is a metro Boston street term for a jail sentence, as in “Don G. was up in Billerica on a six-month bit.”’
  • [3a][3b][3c] The dates of Joelle’s overdose and arrival to Ennet House are inconsistent. 8 November: ‘…the girl just showed up two days ago right after supper. She’d been up at Brigham and Women’s for five days…’
  • [4] A digital clock reads ‘11-18-EST0456’, which is either an error or Jim messing with objects.