Daily Question – 105

Details of tomorrow’s QFI meeting:

Quizmasters – TK “the Baron” Balaji (aka TKB) & Raghuvansh

Date – 28th September, 2008

Venue – PS Senior Secondary School, # 33, Alarmelmangapuram,
Mylapore, Chennai 600004

Time – 10 AM

The question today is from Meera. Connect.

Answer: Visuals are Hamlet and Horatio in the Graveyard, Eugène Delacroix and a Sierpinski gasket.

The novel infinite jest by David Foster Wallace derives its name from a line in Hamlet, in which Hamlet refers to the skull of Yorick, the court jester: “Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is!”

The narrative of Infinite Jest is structured along the lines of a Sierpinski Gasket, a primitive kind of pyramidical fractal.  It is constructed by taking a triangle, removing a triangle-shaped piece out of the middle, then doing the same for the remaining pieces, and so on. The result is an object of infinite boundary and zero area. A Sierpinski Gasket is self-similar; any smaller triangular portion is an exact replica of the whole gasket.

Cracked by Sankhya, Raghuvansh, Udupa and Zizzyphus.

5 thoughts on “Daily Question – 105

  1. Ok…I’m guessing that the connect is the recently deceased David Foster Wallace’s novel Infinite Jest. The title of the novel is taken from a description of Yorick in the gravedigger scene of Hamlet portrayed by Delacroix. And the novel is apparently structured like a Sierpinski Gasket that you see in the second visual which is a kind of fractal in which you start with a triangle, shrink it to half its height and width, add two copies to the original so that each triangle touches the other two at a corner, and repeat this for each of the smaller triangles ad infinitum. In DFW’s words, it looks like a ‘pyramid on acid’.

  2. Dear Annachi,

    It has been so so long since I answered! But then, it does appear pretty long since ANYONE has answered. Except super-moolai Thejaswi annachi and this zizzyphus, whoever he is.

    The connect is recently-deceased David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest”. The novel is named after the holding-up-a-skull routine in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, where Hamlet makes a reference to his jester Yorick’s “infinite jest”. The Delacroix painting is a depiction of a scene in the same play showing exhumation of said skull.

    The Sierpinski Triangle is a type of fractal, DFW supposedly claimed that his book’s infinite recursions and loops and deviations and whatnot were inspired by the Sierpinski Triangle. Many websites also claim he was inspired by the same Sierpinski’s carpet, square, curve and whatnot. The idea remains the same however.

  3. Keeping in line with the QFI tradition of asking questions about recently deceased people, the connect here would be David Foster Wallace’s famous novel – Infinite Jest.

    It takes its name from the famous Hamlet quote – “Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy…”. The painting shown is a Delacroix painting of the exhumation of Yorick’s skull, which leads to the above quote from Hamlet.

    The novel is structured as a Sierpinski Triangle, the famous fractal. Incidentally, some Iranian jobless researcher released a paper recently ‘proving’ that Hamlet itself is structured as an approximate Sierpinski Triangle.

    Nice question, btw.

  4. Fantastic Question
    Infinite Jest is the connect,novel by David Foster Wallace.
    1.Eugene Delacroix painting shows the Yorick’s grave.
    2.Sierpinski Gasket or Triangle,one of the simplest fractals.
    The novel takes its name from the line in Hamlet,when Hamlet says,Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest.
    The widely held theory is that the Wallace’s narrative structure is like a Sierpinski Gasket.

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