Waste

Waste/wasting away – Waste as a conceptual and concrete entity is all over this book. DFW seems interested in how waste is produced, what it’s affect is, and where it is deposited. There’s the “E.W.D. transnational catapult” that throws waste, over the border and into the Great Concavity (217) and Johnny Gentle’s obsession with a “Spotless America” (383). There are constant references to things like mold and rot (See: Avril’s freak out concerning, “I ate this” on pg. 11, DMZ drug is synthesized from mold pg.170) and also dust, as in under the bed of the Man from Glad, which looked like it had, like mold, taken “root,” and “looked a little like spoiled food, bad cottage cheese” (498). Wasting away refers to bodily ruin. During Poor Tony’s detox, for instance, he very literally hides out in a trash can and later in a bathroom stall, while his body is wasting away (299-306).

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