In fact, [section]25 becomes an instructive readerly allegory for understanding how the theme of boredom plays out in The Pale King, both formalistically and conceptually, and typifies Wallace's "aesthetic of boredom.
In a strange way, this mysticism returns us to the original theme of boredom when we consider how the novel treats one mystic in particular, Saint Anthony.
Michiko Kakutani's review of the novel for the New York Times, for instance, claims, "[n]ot surprisingly, a novel about boredom is, more than occasionally, boring" and wonders if Wallace, at times, "wanted to test the reader's tolerance for tedium.
How does Wallace's take on boredom fit into a larger literary and cultural context?
In Melancholy and Society, Wolf Lepenies remarks that "[m]elancholy and boredom belong together, even etymologically; 'ennui' is not the only term to cover both" (87), while Patricia Meyers Spacks claims, in Boredom: The Literary History of a State of Mind, that "[b]oredom was not (is not) the same as ennui, [which is] more closely related to acedia.
Unlike Kuhn's work, The Pale King refuses to privilege one type of boredom over others and, in fact, embraces the common forms of boredom, as when David Wallace wonders whether "dullness is associated with psychic pain because something that's dull or opaque tails to provide enough stimulation to distract people from some other, deeper type of pain that is always there, if only in an ambient low-level way, and which most of us spend nearly all our time and energy trying to distract ourselves from feeling" (85).