Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Place of Hard Hits, Timely Tackles, and Solid Sacks: You've Entered the 'End Zone'

“How lovely it is that there are words and sounds. Are not words and sounds rainbows and illusive bridges between things which are eternally apart?” 

― Friedrich NietzscheThus Spoke Zarathustra


In Don DeLillo's early novel, End Zone, there is much ado about something untellable, something unthinkable looming, not just for the protagonist, but for the author, his reader, and all of civilization, as well. Peek-a-book below:


"I graduate," Deering said. "Talk about nothing happening, that's the biggest nothing there is. That's the ultimate nothing. I graduate in the spring."

"No more football," Billy Mast said.

I'm all through school. I graduate. I'm gone for good."

"No more football. No more hitting. No more sweat and pain. No more fear."

"I can't believe it."

"No more being yelled out and cursed by those insane coaches. No more running in the heat. No more two laps around the goal posts. No more getting kicked and elbowed and spat upon."

"It's awful. I can't accept it. It's a bitch."

.  .  .

Howard Lowry, Billy's roommate, came in and sat on the desk, addressing himself to Billy.

"People keep bringing up that course you're taking. The untellable. I keep hearing about that course. Nobody talks about it but I heep hearing."

"So do I," Ted Joost said.

"There's not much I can say about it," Billy said.

"You can tell us what goes on."

"We delve into the untellable."

"How deep?" Bobby Iselin said.

"It's hard to tell. I don't think anybody knows how deep the untellable is. We've done a certain amount of delving. We plan to delve some more. That's about all I can tell you."

"But what do you talk about?" Howard said. "There are ten of you in there and there's some kind of instructor or professor. You must say things to each other."

"We shout in German a lot. There are different language exercises we take turns doing. We may go on a field trip next week. I don't know where to."

"But you don't know German. I know damn well you don't. I'm your damn roommate. I know things about you."

"Unfortunately I've picked up a few words. I guess that's one of the hazards in a course like this. You pick up things you're better off without. The course is pretty experimental. It's given by a man who may or may not have spent three and a half years in one of the camps. He doesn't think there'll be a final exam."

"Why things in German?" Ted Joost said.

"I think the theory is if any words exist beyond speech, they're probably German words, or pretty close."

"What do I say to people who keep bringing up the untellable?" Howard said.

"It's a three-credit course. It's a very hard course, no matter how bright you are. And apparently there are field trips. I don't know what else you can tell them."

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