2. The uncertain chronology of IF as well as the interruption of the footnotes serve to divert the reader from the emotional impact of the text. DWF has said that he put the footnotes in to break the linearity of the text, but the text itself is nonlinear. The novel unfolds in what I would call the no-time of the imagination -- scene after scene like annular waves repeat the a vision of a cage whose escape turns out to be the bars of the cage. It is of interest that in this imaginative time the novel begins in November and ends with Gately somehow tossed out upon a beach with the tide way out. The imaginative time, not the linear time, is that of Melville's Moby Dick ("November in my soul" to "the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago"). Like MD, IF is also an epic that examines the nature of necessity and the American psyche. (There are also many allusions to whales in IF.) As the white whale represented the play of necessity in our lives just so Entertainment becomes the engine of fate in IF. Instead of the handbook of whaling that we get in MD we find in IF a a handbook on drugs.
3. Diversion from the emotional power of IF is a constant temptation for readers as they search out hints, loose ends and chronological conundra -- just so the allusions in T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land function to lure the reader away from the deep personal despair of its author. DWF Himself knows this waste land.
4. DWF haunts the pages of IF. It is not for nothing that Jim Incandenza is called Himself or that Gately's first two initials are DW. Of course, one can see DWF as alive in all his characters, but Jim Incandenza and Gately announce themselves more directly. These two characters meet in the visitation of the wraith to Gately in the hospital. The wraith is at once Himself (now manifestly DWF) and the brain voice of Gately. The occurrence of paranormal events (a bed on the ceiling, the haunting of rooms at ETA, etc.) speaks to the author's visitations in lives of his own characters. Note that Himself's films are short on narrative but rich in optics. The same could be said of IF. One can easily understand that DWF wants ,as HImself does, simply to entertain, yet the entertainment creates its own fatal necessity.
5. Joelle wears her veil because, as she says, she is fatally beautiful. Before the acid, her beauty was apotropaic but not fatal. She appears unveiled in the last film of HImself in which the viewer catches a wobbling glimpse of her face, her voice repeating for twenty minutes "I am sorry" in various formulations. She is the Medusa. The film turns out to be lethal. One imagines the viewer caught between her beauty and disfiguration as the wobbling lense causes him to focus and refocus on her face over and over while all the while listening to her insistent apology. Her face in the film is a moving image of the novel itself both as to its theme and its effect upon the reader.