David Foster Wallace
“Consider the Lobster” by David Foster Wallace
Lobster is one of my much-loved seafood dishes due to its delicate rich flavored meat, however, after reading this article I have a change of mind. “Consider the Lobster” by David Foster Wallace is a controversial article to whether or not it is humane to drop a live lobster in a pot of boiling water. He brought up the question is it right to boil a live lobster just for one’s desire, quite thought-provoking. Thus, he had convinced me to his viewpoints on logos, ethos, and pathos. I believe Wallace uses description to deliberate the meaning of pain to convince and gain my heart he includes definitions about taxonomical terms and references to prove his point while he compares and contrast different viewpoints on this specific matter. In order for Wallace to get his point across in the first paragraph he described what Main Lobster Festival was, he expressed it in the first person which allowed me to see stuff from his perspective and to understand how he felt towards this subject.
In the article, it’s evident Wallace tends to show pathos the most, where he includes foot and end notes voicing his opinion and stance on a precise segment of the article which allows him to bring a new perspective up. To get his stance across he uses a lot of rhetorical strategies that I myself had to contemplate. His strategies made me ponder on several other viewpoints such as the lobsters, chefs, and meat lovers. Wallace captures the use of pathos in a way that would be very convincing as he compared and contrasted the lobsters to humans. He drew me in when he stated, “the lobster will sometimes cling to the container’s sides or even to hook its claw over the kettle’s rim like a person trying to keep from going over the edge of the roof. Giving me a sense of remorse for the lobster as if I were the creature being placed into a pot of boiling water.
In addition, he compares the Main Lobster Festival to Nebraska beef Festival. he states a few of the festivities but the one he emphasized most on was “watching trucks pull up and the live cattle get driven down the ramp and slaughtered right there” screening that image in my head I naturally had the tendency to feel guilty which was Wallace’s main point to why is it that one feels bad for the cattle, but not the lobster, there is not a difference in my eyes. Furthermore, that is when Wallace introduced me to the ethos side of the argument where he sways me that it is, in fact, inhumane to boil a lobster alive when he stated “It is difficult not to sense that they’re unhappy, or frightened, even if it’s some rudimentary version of these feelings,” showing we should not judge and treat the lobster better or worse based on what pain level they feel. His perspective made me consider the lobster more just by that consideration.
However, Wallace brings up the argument that one may think they have the rights to eating a lobster because they are not human. Wallace proves this theory that people defends that assumption. At the Main Lobster Festival, there was a” Test Your Lobster IQ Test” conducted where it stated that lobsters have simple nervous systems like those of a worm or grasshopper. He explained a particular case where he questioned a man named dick whose son in law so happens to be a professional lobsterman and one of the Main Eating Tent’s regular suppliers who argues that lobsters are simply just a large sea insect he goes on to say “there’s a part of the brain in people and animal that lets us feel pain and lobsters don’t have these parts” Wallace denies Dick’s son in law beliefs by giving his own insight in his footnote elaborating on why the cerebral cortex in the human brain is actually not what gives experience of pain “ the cerebral cortex is the brain-part that deals with higher faculties like reason, metaphysical self-awareness, language etc.” He goes on to give in his own opinions how pain is experienced by articulating someone accidentally touching a hot stove and yanking there hand back do not involve the cortex the brain is bypassed altogether and all the neurochemical actions take place in the spine.
Not to mention some consider “lobsters are not human” to the motive to why lobsters do not need ethical concern. Which brings me to the conclusion that if lobsters aren’t human neither are cats and dogs. Wallace has me curious as to why is that we humans are defensive when it comes on to cats or abused dog but not a lobster they are all non-human creatures. On the contrary, Wallace began to shift his ideas to Logos which is the “appeal based on logical or reason”. According to precise evidence, lobsters have neurotransmitters that are more similar to those in a human which allows them to register pain.
David Foster Wallace’s Use Of Rhetoric In This Is Water
In the text “This is Water” by David Foster Wallace although many people may seem to the center of the universe, Wallace guides them to be aware of the world around them. Wallace uses emotional and logical appeals in his main argument that people can choose to look at anything in life differently than their default setting. People should view the world in the shoes of others and their own.
The primary rhetorical device that Wallace relies upon is emotional words. The persuasive effect of emotional words is felt during Wallace’s walk through on a grocery trip in which he talks negatively to be in comparison to people’s default setting. As it states in paragraph 9, “Now it turns out there aren’t enough checkout lanes open even though it’s the end-of-the-day-rush, so the checkout line is incredibly long, which is stupid and infuriating”. In this instance, Wallace intends to illustrate how quick a person’s day can turn left when they are mentally unconscious. He also does this when he states, “And look at how repulsive most of them are and how stupid and cow-like and dead-eyed and nonhuman they seem here in the checkout line”. This detail shows how deep and selfish a person thoughts can be as to why many people keep that part to themselves.
Throughout the text, Wallace continues to demonstrate the fact that humans are never always right so there is always going to be individuals with different perspectives. With the use of logical reason, Wallace was able to show how humans can change their point of view. As it states in the text, “Look, if I chose to think this way, fine, lots of us do – except that picking this way tend to be so easy and automatic it doesn’t have to be a choice.” This detail shows how Wallace wants people to be reasonable with others instead of being one minded. Another thing that Wallace states is, “you get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship…”. Furthermore stated, Wallace wants people to know they have a choice and whatever you do with they would leave them down one of the two pathways.
All in all, David Foster Wallace’s strength as a persuasive writer comes from his ability to use ethos and pathos to impact people’s better judgement. He challenges people to critically think by opening up their mind to that second choice that brings out the positive in every negative situation.
Priority and Perspective in “The View From Mrs. Thompson’s”
“The View From Mrs. Thompson’s” is an account of the author’s experiences in Bloomington, Illinois directly following the 9/11 attacks. Largely based around his thoughts while watching events unfold on TV at a neighbour’s house, the essay contains descriptions of the clips shown and insight into the reactions of the people surrounding the author. The word “view” can mean either a sight or a mindset, and it is clear that both meanings resonate in Wallace’s essay.
At first, Wallace concentrates not on the tragedy itself, but on his efforts to purchase a flag to display in the event’s wake. Although they’re everywhere in his hometown, uniting citizens across lines of class and geography, he’s unable to find one, and fears that the sight of his home without a flag will appear to be a negative statement on his part. Questioning his neighbours as to their reasons for hanging up flags, he notes that their statements are fairly identical: it’s about unity, support, and pride. Although he eventually creates a makeshift flag from paper and Magic Markers, the power of appearances and images to variably unite and isolate is an important theme in the essay, and one that seems especially relevant considering the racial profiling that occurred in the name of national security following 9/11. At the moment, however, this is not yet a concern. Wallace is watching the news in Mrs. Thompson’s living room, surrounded by other neighbours and fellow church members, and his description of the scene calls to mind an observation from the opening paragraph: it’s as if everyone’s standing there watching the same traffic accident. Despite their different opinions and mindsets, this tragedy is a shared horror.
Furthermore, the essay indicates that what people see and how they react to it can effectively reveal their priorities. For instance, although footage of skyscrapers crumbling were upsetting, they were still viewable, whereas the clip of people falling from the North Tower was shown once, and never rerun. As it plays, Wallace tells us that the people in the room with him looks traumatised, simultaneously terrified and jaded, and finally moves on, unsure what to say. Although he and his neighbours could handle the large-scale destruction of buildings, the sight of people jumping from them–almost but not yet lost–is too much to bear. Perhaps this is because people are naturally predisposed to sympathise with those in peril, or perhaps it’s because it could just as easily have happened anywhere, but these reactions to the images of tragedy on Mrs. Thompson’s television show that despite the increased consumerism and greed in American culture, when it comes down to it, humanity still matters to us infinitely more than property.
View could also refer to the differing opinions and perspectives which informed the American public’s responses to 9/11. In many cases, these differences are based on age, as that greatly affected the ability of people to comprehend the situation. For instance, Wallace mentions a woman who said at first her sons thought the tragedy was just a movie, until they noticed it was playing on every channel. This innocence caused them to react with less anger and grief than many adults, even after learning the truth of the matter.
Wallace also discusses how differences in geographical location affected people’s mindset with regards to the tragedy. He says that people in the Midwest tend to spend less time together, choosing to watch television at someone’s house instead of going out to a party, whereas the East Coast is much more focused on meeting people face-to-face. This likely creates a sense of distance and detachment in places like Bloomington, and increases the contrast between everyday life and the sense of unity that followed the tragedy. This isolated viewpoint also causes the tragedy in New York to seem more distant–if they choose to turn off the TV, the events are still happening, but they are less immediate and therefore less terrifying. New Yorkers, however, would not have had the luxury of that remote viewpoint. Their altered skyline is evident and viscerally felt, not merely an image on a screen.
The last difference in viewpoint that Wallace explores is the contrast between his cynicism and the prayer of the women in the room with him. Silently, he critiques Bush’s lacking speech and notes how as time wears on the networks seem to be presenting a manufactured reaction. However, he ultimately notes that it may be preferable to believe in Mrs. Thompson’s view of the president, the images on TV, the power of prayer, because that means America as a nation would be better than he believes.
The Main Lesson in David Foster Wallace’s This is Water
The author of “This Is Water” uses the unique creation of persona through default setting, repetition of keywords, and ethos to get his message of the personal obligation our society needs in order to face “our lives, bodies, and minds.” David Foster Wallace was an American writer and a university professor in the disciplines of English and creative writing, and is now renowned all over the world for his highly acclaimed essays, novels and short stories. He starts off his commencement speech to the 2005 Liberal Arts graduating class of Kenyon College by telling a story about two young fish who encounter an older fish that asks them “How’s the water?” The parable demonstrates that usually the most direct actualities in the real world are often the hardest to observe.
According to the author, his main lesson concerns “default setting,” referring to the idea of daily tasks most of the audience happen to commit without acquiring the thought of if it’s the right thing to do or not. Wallace demonstrates how in mainstream society, people often forget about what they’re most passionate about. By acting unconsciously, they lack paying enough attention to their experiences which lead them to becoming ignorant of certain surroundings. For example, based on the reader’s thoughts, a variety of people often cherish jobs and money more rather than more valuable things such as how their bodies function and what they can do to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Of course, some of these aspects of worthiness are what Wallace strives to introduce to each of them.
Wallace utilizes repetition throughout his graduation speech hoping to persuade the class to view the world as a whole instead of individually by stating, “If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life then you will never have enough. Worship your own body and you will always feel ugly. Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid. Lastly if you worship your intellect as a consequence you will begin to feel stupid”. His point in repeating “worship” and the parallelism of his sentences mirror the daily routine that most people tend to live. Wallace says, “Since my natural default setting is the certainty that situations like this are truly all about me. Referring to my anxiousness, fatigue, and desire to get home it begins to semblance for all the world as if everyone is in his way”. He elaborates on the subject of people always feeling the need to interpret situations from the natural instinctive view that majority of others, including himself, frequently catch themselves doing. To further the emotional appeal, he provides the audience with an alternative viewpoint when he mentions “Maybe she’s not usually like this, the possibility could be that she has been up three straight nights holding the hand of her husband who is dying of bone cancer.” Various times throughout his speech, the repetition of ideas and words that come to mind are mentioned with multiple parallels.
He begins to establish his credibility through his use of ethos to make it clear that he does not want to preach or oversee the reader and their expectations. Wallace is simply trying to prevent the reader from thinking they’re listening to someone who holds a higher authority than the average person. In the beginning of his essay, after he mentions the story of the two young fish who are clueless when it comes to knowing what water is, he states “if at this very moment, you’re worried that I plan to present myself as the wise old fish distinguishing to you younger fish the characteristics water contains, please don’t be.”
Wallace also depicts multiple hypothetical parables. The former parables about the fish is one example, then he continues the use of “didactic little parable like stories” when he talks about an Atheist and a religious man. The parable classifies the problem with blind certainty among both the religious guy and the atheist. Both men are totally certain, arrogant about their beliefs, and do not acknowledge the other person’s side. Wallace reinforces this idea to the audience with logical reasoning when he says “Because a huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded. The reader has learned this the hard way, as they predict the graduates will, too.”
Throughout all of these aspects of Wallace appealing to his audience, he successfully presents his argument within the speech “This is Water.” He made it clear that his goal was to open everyone’s eyes which would lead to view the world with others’ needs included, not just the individual’s needs. It should not only be observed centered around an individual. It is often overlooked but is something that should not be at all. The way he persuades the reader is specifically used through the use of pathos in personal situations. Genuinely strong emotions are worn to influence the reader to do so. His speech effectively impacts both the judgment and optimism of the reader. It completely targets them to look further and assess the judgment of someone based off of their life rather than judging a person off of a quick glance, just as people always say “never judge a book by its cover.” Furthermore, this speech also helps the observer to look at situations through a positive point of view no matter how high the risks may seem instead of dwelling on negativity within every single situation that happens to occur. The choice that Wallace gives the audience was often overlooked due to the reason of people automatically deciding to make choices on the sport or as others say “within the heat of the moment” rather than looking for a deeper meaning.
In conclusion, Wallace focuses on showing empathy along with compassion towards other people. Regardless of the situation, one should have the opportunity to witness life and everything around from different angles. You have the power to not become stressed or anxious about anything. Being consciously aware, should have an outcome of a more positive and uplifting state of mind. It is essential to obtain perspectives like these, thinking of people being in even worse situations than you could ever imagine. The analysis of “This is Water” by David Foster Wallace helped to discover its main lesson with many effective apprehensions.
This is Water by David Foster Wallace: the Cost of One Life for the Quality of Many
The hardest part of a person’s life is finding out who they are. To find out who they are, they might go to college or drop out of college to travel or do something else with their life completely. Both 2005 Kenyon College graduates and every reader learned a lot about themselves after either reading or listening to David Wallace’s speech “This Is Water”. Wallace’s speech contains raw and emotional insights that should be taken to heart, even more so after knowing Wallace committed suicide three years after his speech was given.
The beauty and uniqueness of Wallace’s speech is the brutal honesty of it. “…The truth is that most of these suicides are actually dead long before they pull the trigger”. Wallace talks about suicide and every day, boring adult situations to warn us that if we don’t train our mind to work for us, then it’s going to control us and we’re going to end up unhappy. Wallace proceeds to say “…learning how to think really means learning how to exercise control over how and what you think.” This further explains how Wallace’s insights are pure and honest. His comments of suicide and his deeper explanations of his insights discredits his claim that he’s not trying to “give moral advice” as he says throughout his entire speech. His diction indicates he really wanted the audience to take his insights on life to heart, perhaps so the audience doesn’t end up with the same fate as himself.
Wallace entire speech gives advice that can be detrimental to a young person’s future, but there is one that stuck out like a sore thumb. Wallace says, “You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t”. He’s trying to promote the idea of controlling your actions and feelings by teaching your mind to consciously decide what’s important to you and what simply doesn’t matter. This is important to the audience, especially at the age range it is targeted at. Most people when they’re graduating college are hyper focused on relationships or work life or the drama in their life. As a balance of work and personal life are important, he’s telling the audience that they get to decide what’s important to them. For example, maybe the girl at your work that is constantly in a bad mood with you isn’t worth your time and you should focus your energy elsewhere.
Since reading and listening to Wallace’s speech, I’ve thought a lot about it as a whole. I thought a lot about how his insight, “You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t” applies to me and my life. I choose to deal with a lot of problems and people that aren’t beneficial to my future or mental health. I thought a lot about choice after reading Wallace’s speech. I started choosing to think differently about unnecessary problems and situations. My automatic reaction to someone hurting me is to forgive and forget and just never address it again. I still forgive people for hurting me, but I also started choosing my battles and choosing who I should focus my energy on.
Wallace’s insights not only inspired the audience to live their lives better, but to live in spite of how his life ended. His speech was raw and brutally honest, had insights that can help anyone at any time in their life, and managed to impact people like me in their everyday way of thinking. David Foster Wallace was an honest man who didn’t ever want anyone to suffer the same misery as he did. His insights on life may have saved a lot of people’s lives, even though he sacrificed his own.
David Foster Wallace: Think Outside The Box
David Foster Wallace was born February 21, 1962 in Ithaca, New York. He was an American novelist, short-story writer, and essayist. He was the son of a philosophical professor and an English teacher. In 1985, Wallace received his B.A. from Amherst College, and was working towards his master’s degree in creative writing at the University of Arizona. Wallace’s work inspired the lives of many. Several well-known writers often cite him as an influencer such as Matthew Gallaway, David Gordon, and many more. Although Wallace positively impacted others, he often struggled to follow his own advice. He had battled depression since his early twenties, and after various failed attempts of finding effective antidepressant medication, he took his own life.
In 2005, David Foster Wallace presented a commencement speech to the 2005 graduates of Kenyon College, a liberal arts college in Gambier, Ohio. Wallace’s speech, This is Water, was powerful due to the relatable style, heartfelt and genuine tone, and the targeted audience. Wallace delivers this dialogue comprised of different parables with distinct messages behind them. Each message contributes to his main purpose of his speech which is to think empathetically. He ultimately wants his audience to pay attention to the world around them instead of being self-centered.
Wallace’s This is Water commencement speech begins with Wallace amusingly stating, ‘if anybody feels like perspiring cough, I’d advise you to go ahead, because I’m sure going to.’ This humorous tone grabs the attention of the audience from the start. Wallace continues by
introducing two young fish who come across an older fish passing by. The old fish says, ‘Morning, boys. How’s the water?’ The young fish continue swimming and one eventually goes, ‘What the hell is water?’ Although this may be a simple story, it has a deeper, philosophical meaning we can delve into.
The first life lesson you can extract from David Foster Wallace’s This is Water speech is to first look deeper into the water parable. The young fish are not paying attention, they do not acknowledge the water and often take it for granted. The older fish understands the water and has learned to see its beauty. Wallace is sure to point out that he himself is not a ‘wise fish’, he is still learning too. This gives him credibility, otherwise known as using an ethos appeal to his audience. As you can see, this is an example of us being the fish and water being the day-to-day grind. We are so focused on what is happening in front of us that we miss out on the small beauties of the world. Luckily, as we grow older, we learn to appreciate everything around us.
Another story presented by Wallace is about two guys sitting together in a bar in the Alaskan wilderness. One being an atheist, and the other religious. The atheist was stuck in a blizzard completely lost and unable to see anything. He had gotten on his knees and cried out, ‘Oh God, if there is a God, I’m lost in this blizzard, and I’m going to die if you don’t help me.’ The religious guy was puzzled, saying, ‘Well you must believe now. After all, here you are, alive.’ But the atheist guy rolled his eyes and responded, ‘No, man, all that was a couple Eskimos happened to come wandering by and showed me the way back to camp.’ Both men had constructed entirely opposite opinions on the situation that occurred based on their beliefs.
The second lesson from Wallace’s speech is that every person has the freedom to look at life differently. Wallace believes you have awareness stating, ‘you get to decide how you’re going to see it. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t.’ Everyone has a ‘default setting’ that is hardwired into them since childhood. We are innately the center of every one of our experiences. The goal Wallace is trying to justify is to alter your instinctive, default-setting. Being able to interpret everything outside of your ‘lens of self’ will allow you to be well-adjusted. Although sometimes it is inevitable to fall back into your hard-wired setting, with practice you can improve and progress.
The last story Wallace presents to the graduates is a situation many have likely experienced. I, myself have been in this situation countless of times, which helps me determine that this is the most powerful part of his speech. He mentions how you are just getting off work and have to rush to get groceries before heading home, and seemingly every little thing begins to irritate you. The checkout line is long, and then when you eventually leave to head home you drive through slow, heavy traffic where you find ‘patriotic or religious bumper- stickers that always seem to be on the biggest, most disgustingly selfish vehicles, driven by the ugliest.’ This is when Wallace’s pathos appeal hits home and generates a great applause from the audience who unequivocally have experienced a similar situation.
With all of that being said, David Foster Wallace delivered this brilliant speech with benevolence to his audience. Throughout the speech, Wallace puts a heavy emphasis on certain words that he wants to stick out to the audience, especially when he is trying to make a point. His delivery throughout most of the speech is humorous which helps keep listeners engaged. He comes off trustworthy and continues to point out that the graduates do not necessarily have to change the way they perceive life, he is just giving them an alternative perspective and they are able to do with that what they will. His stories successfully keep the graduates enthralled and allow them to make their own personal connections. Towards the end, he effectively unites all three lessons into an overall purpose, which is to be mindful not only of yourself, but also your surroundings – to stop thinking in your default setting. David Foster Wallace’s unfortunate suicide helps increase the emotional appeal and advises the audience that his underlining message should not be neglected.
The Issue of Animal Cruelty in “Consider the Lobster” by David Foster Wallace
In “Consider the Lobster” David Foster Wallace is given the opportunity to write a review for a magazine, Gourmet. Which is meant to cover the Maine Lobster Festival held in the summer of 2003. However the review was nothing like expected, instead it was more based on ethics and morals in relation to the painful impact we place on lobsters such as boiling them for the sake of our desires. By looking at Wallace’s use of the descriptive strategy we can see how the issue of animal cruelty is at hand. This is important because most individuals intend to ignore morals when they come to face this. By evaluating the strategy and what it creates; we can see how effective Wallace was at painting his argument to the readers.
Wallace’s main argument is that we must treat all animals humanely, like lobsters and others mentioned in this instance. He uses descriptive strategies to emotionally appeal to readers through pathos. By describing the festival to how tasty the lobster is, and then ending off on how the lobsters are cooked creates this emotion of shock. From there on Wallace backs up his main argument by providing us with imagery of how the lobsters may feel pain, whether they do feel pain at all and focus on making the reader question why they ignore the obvious. Now taking a look into Wallace’s overall purpose we can see the strengths and weaknesses that make up his argument. The description has emotional appeal rather than using logic constantly. For example, he describes an image of “how lobsters hang for their dear lives, just as humans would in any given life threat”. He does use clear language to represent his argument, along with limited use of hidden assumptions and defines multiple ideas behind terms through the use of footnotes. Organization of his logic flows as he descriptively creates a thought of “how tasty lobsters are, then aims towards the perspective his readers should think about their morals and ethics’.
On the other hand, taking both sides into consideration is not in depth enough to be fair. For example, he explains that the “PETA work humanely towards animals, showcasing their morals”. However, the morals of the other side seem to remain questionable. Also uses either/or fallacy where he mentions a statement said by a local that “they do their thing and we do our thing.” These are some of the descriptive details that Wallace uses to make his point be known. Use of the descriptive strategy allows us to see the overall issue of animal cruelty. The points he makes using this strategy compel us to agree that animals must be treated humanely. When he asks the readers to imagine the cattle slaughtered, it creates the awareness that we impact all species alike then lobsters should be no exceptions. The work provides good use for us to think before we take actions, allowing the questions out of our unconscious to arise. For example, if we look into “the puppy mill seizure that had taken place locally in February 2016”. We could use this article to question our thoughts of how horrible it is to treat any animal inhumanely. However, this work cannot provide us with the answers to those questions which may make it less credible in that aspect.
Overall Wallace wants the readers to understand the importance of how we must not overlook lobsters as animals and treat all animals humanely. He effectively uses description to guide the readers to be more aware of the underlying means in our unconscious in regards to the way we treat animals. Wallace’s use of imagery is the most intriguing aspect, which allows the readers to imagine the circumstance and feel it emotionally, thus making the readers be driven into his perspective.
A Rhetorical Analysis Of Consider The Lobster
Gourmet magazine had originally intended for David Foster Wallace to write a harmless review of the annual Maine Lobster Festival (MLF). As the essay continues, the reader notices the transition of a review of the festival into a topic on to the ethics of food consumption, specifically that of the lobster. The rhetorical aim of this essay is not to convince the culinary foodies to abandon their current eating habits, but to tell them that they need to reflect on the culture and ethics of food consumption and how people generally have little sympathy for what they eat. Wallace is able to create a thought-provoking debate, while remaining fairly neutral, through his use of diction, irony, imagery, and persuasive appeals, with an authentic, informative tone throughout the essay.
The diction that Wallace uses begins with rather simplistic word choice. References to the lobster are often negative, calling them “eaters of dead stuff” and “chewable food”. The purpose of this word choice is to initially give the readers little to no opinion on lobsters. Over time, Wallace’s diction evolves to become more sophisticated and uses scientific and anatomical words associated with lobsters. He does this because his diction is very much like his readers. It becomes far more articulate and knowledgeable, all in a bid to assimilate with the audience. They may not have an opinion of lobsters in the beginning of the text, but Wallace is slowly able to inject himself into their environment with his word choice, and allow him to change their views on this crustacean. Wallace then uses grotesque diction in the hopes that it will spur some sort of emotion. A “home-lobotomy” or a “medieval torture-fest”, this graphic diction will now be more powerful to the audience now that have adopted Wallace. He proves himself capable of being just as interested in the ethics of lobster as they are with food, and hopefully this diction may have achieved Wallace’s goal, to question the culture and morals of food.
Wallace possesses an authentic, informative tone. Throughout the entirety of the essay, Wallace does not pick a side. The essay composes language that is impartial, and his tone distinguishes him as a moderate. The reader is capable of seeing that he is not like the typical food critic who usually fills up their reviews with pretentious, bloated language. On page 7, Wallace admits that he sees animals as a lesser in comparison to a person. Considering this is a food magazine, many authors would probably put animals on a pedestal. The readers are able to see that he is incredibly truthful in his writings; they can trust that he is not trying to pull any tricks on him. Anything that he is saying here is genuine and has some information to back it. Wallace is now able to get them to realize the deeper meaning to this article and will most likely get them to think critically about the topic, much like how he has exhibited through his writing.
Wallace’s use of persuasive appeals is prevalent throughout the entirety of the essay. He utilizes a series of emotion appeals to get the reader to sympathize with the animal. The main point of conflict in this article is that there is no clear answer as to whether these lobsters would experience the same pain as a human would. Piled together, huddled in a corner, running away from incoming people, these are some of the observations of the lobsters stuck in the glass tanks at the festival. This paints a vivid picture in the mind of the reader. The actions of the lobsters in the tank are like that of many animals, including humans. Wallace is able to show to the audience that these animals are distressed, they are suffering, and that their struggles need notice. Prior to this, most would not care for a lobster in a tank, but they are now questioning the possibility of lobsters experiencing the same emotions humans do. Some lobsters cook in a microwave after having been poked with “several extra vent holes in the carapace”. What Wallace is trying to do here is to provide the audience with horrifying details of the cooking process. While some may still not be moved, Wallace’s main goal is to get the pot simmering; he wants people to think about what they eat. He admits that even he will most likely not change his eating habits, but he certainly has a new view of food now.
Wallace employs irony as a way to get the reader to further question the culture of how people eat food. The MLF claims that lobsters are both a healthy food choice and creatures incapable of feeling pain. Wallace refutes these claims by stating that the festival sells lobsters with ounces of butter and unhealthy sides (Wallace 3), and that lobsters contain body parts that may allow them to experience pain (Wallace 6). Doing this allows Wallace to show the readers that the festival is presenting a false imagination for the visitors. Some may even interpret this as a blatant lie in trying to reel in more attendees. Wallace provides them with the possibility that this is a cash grab, and humans have little to no morals of the animals that they consume. Wallace’s use of imagery allows him to provide the audience a new perspective of the food festivals that they hold very near and dear to their hearts. Considering that these foodies have most likely frequented these events in the past, they typically have a generally positive opinion of them. Wallace ruins this by meticulously describing some pitfalls of the MLF such as “aisle-blocking coolers” or the death match for “NyQuil-cup size samples”. The readers are able to recount all the events that they have attended themselves. It is not shocking when they see that most of the festivals have some aspects to it that spoil the entirety of it. Wallace then presents the readers with a hypothetical cow festival, similar to the MLF, where he refers to it as the “World’s Largest Killing Floor”. He utilizes this to get the reader to question why they even bother to go to these festivals. They all seem to have some sort of negative connotation with them, yet they still go. Switching the type of animal being killed makes these festivals appear as a glorification of slaughter. All of these negatives enable the readers to have second thoughts on the purpose of these events.
Wallace wants the audience to take a look at the ethics of food and the culture associated with it. Through his excellent use of emotional appeals and style, he is able to give the readers with a rather profound effect that causes them to think critically of how low people hold the food they consume. The effect of the article will vary among the readers, but it certainly has affected Wallace, and he hopes that carries on to them. The readers all have new perspectives on food consumption thanks to Wallace, regardless of whether they change their eating habits.
- Wallace, David Foster. “Consider the Lobster.” Consider the Lobster, Aug. 2004.
Analysis Of Persuasive Techniques Used By David Foster Wallace In Consider The Lobster
In David Foster Wallace’s article, “Consider the Lobster,” he persuades the audience that cooking lobster and eating them is cruel and that it is wrong to eat lobster “alive for our gustatory pleasure.” Wallace applies thought provoking information that exhibits whether it is right or wrong to boil lobsters “for our gustatory pleasure.” Wallace emphasizes with details the various ways lobsters are cruelty prepared. He also provides the readers with outside resources and calls attention to the of the MFL and how they mention that Lobsters have no pain, “no brain, no cerebral cortex, which in humans it is the area of the brain that gives the experience of pain,” but Wallace claims to be “incorrect.” He supports this case with multiple further reasoning. Although, Wallace article portrays a controversial view, he can persuade the audience to reflect on the morality of boiling lobsters alive for food consumption. Wallace relies on facts and descriptive details, pathos, logical reasoning, which praises his view on lobsters to an audience of those who attend the Maine Lobster Festival, gourmet food eaters, chefs, those against animal cruelty and the public.
Wallace uses an immense of detailing to exhibit the concerns of pain in lobsters and how unnecessary the deaths are, specifically at the Maine lobster festival, also providing factual support for his argument. Wallace depicts how Lobsters are prepared at the Main lobster event and in one’s kitchen. Wallace goes into great detail explaining the environment surrounding the Maine lobster festival in order to convey the idea that people ignore the massacre of thousands of lobsters right beside them. When it comes to cooking at home Wallace’s describes “the lobster will try to cling into the container or even hook its claws… like a person trying to keep from going over the edge of a roof.” he bluntly affirms how lobsters act just like any human that is in pain would. To prove that Lobsters feel pain Wallace includes sources that confirm lobsters pain. In his article he corrects sources that said Lobsters do not feel pain, when they do, allowing his article to be more credible, and therefore having the audience to really appreciate his knowledge on Lobsters. To further strengthen his point, Wallace points out how when a Lobster is scrabbling, this shows an important indicator of suffering, concluding that Lobsters do in fact feel pain. According to an article by U.S. News, “Some say the hiss that sounds when crustaceans hit the boiling water is a scream (it’s not, they don’t have vocal cords)”. This leads to an assumption that consumers think lobsters may feel pain as they enter boiling water, but perhaps we do not care enough or enjoy the flavor too much to care.
In addition, Wallace creates appeal to pathos and connects to the readers emotions. When comparing the Maine Lobster Festival to how a Nebraska Beef Festival the audience draws a sense of guilt. Wallace states, “at which part of the festivities is watching trucks pull up and the live cattle get driven down the ramp and slaughtered right there…” Most times people will feel sorrow for the cattle, but what about the Lobster? Wallace applying the context of the cattle and how one feels bad for them but not the Lobsters, also ties with hypocrisy. He outlines this to accurately show the hypocrisy of people’s attitudes surrounding the mass slaughter of the lobsters when they find the mass slaughter of any other animals horrific. Again, Wallace adds a dreadful metaphor, The lobster will sometimes cling to the container’s sides or even hook its claws over the kettle’s rim like a person trying to keep from going over the edge of a roof,” which really shows how inhumane the general cooking method can seem when envisioning the process of boiling lobster. Another comparison used by Wallace is when he mentions how Lobsters were for the lower class and how feeding lobster was thought to be cruel, once again using a simile, “like making people eat rats.” This draws a sense of disgust and discomfort to the readers. As Wallace bring disgust to the readers, there are numerous other people who will fully support Wallace. “Lobsters are very good as article of commerce, and pretty enough to look at, after they are boiled but, as to eating them, I prefer castoff rubber shoes”. Wallace metaphors can be triggering to the audience which can enable to really understand the wrong in boiling lobster what they go through, and but oneself in the perspective of a lobster.
Furthermore, Wallace seeks logical reasoning to properly expand the readers knowledge on Lobsters. When gaining knowledge on Lobsters readers can comprehend and come to realize how unethical and inhumane it is to boil Lobsters. Wallace provides research about the large well-known and highly acclaimed Maine Lobster Festival which thrives each summer. After mentioning the Main Lobster event and including horrifying aspects to the event many individuals may not want to participate in the event after reading Wallace argument. Wallace is able to give the audience clarity and a new understanding to what takes place to have a lobster in one’s plate. Although Lobsters Wallace “discuss the boiling of lobsters with a negative viewpoint, there are many people who truly enjoy eating Lobster and feel no need to stop. Many individuals view Lobsters as “more than food: It is an idea, an event, a challenge, a happening, a celebration and Indulgence”. Ultimately, Wallace provides support using facts, appeal to pathos, and logical reasoning to why Lobsters should not be boiled/cooked for consumption. Wallace exhibits how Lobsters feel pain and how inhumane it is to kill a Lobster. He is incredibly convincing and allows the audience to truly “consider the Lobster.” After reading Wallace essay one is convinced to really think about the morality of boiling Lobster for consumption and to really ponder about the food one puts in their mouth, partially a lobster, because it was once a living breathing creature.
The Issue Of Inhumane Treatment Of Animals In Consider The Lobster By David Foster Wallace
In David Foster Wallace’s article, Consider the Lobster, the author starts off explaining the festival he was attending, known as Maine Lobster Festival. Wallace starts by explaining what the Maine Lobster Festival is all about, from the crowd that is drawn in right down to the exact ways the lobsters are treated. He also uses this article to show and turn the readers to the cruelty that the lobsters endure for people’s entertainment. Wallace’s main point is to try and provoke the readers in the morality of cooking and eating of any animals.
“We do not have direct access to anyone or anything’s pain but our own”. Wallace uses this quote in the article Consider the Lobster which brings the tone throughout the article as aggressive and all around bothered by the topic on the way animals, but mostly lobsters are treated. There are parts of the article that show the direct focus of aggressiveness and being bothered especially when he starts to talk about the way they are handled and how people do not really see anything wrong with how they are cooked, along with them being able to feel and have human reactions to being boiled. Wallace uses the aggressive tone, to get his point across when stating that it is wrong on the way that us humans treat animals for our own pleasure and entertainment, not only does he have that tone throughout the article you can also get the sense of him just being all around bothered. “ From which you can pick out your supper while it watches you point…” Wallace not only seems to be bothered by the way the animals are cooked but also by the way that the festival is ran, and that people are still attending it without seeing a problem with it. Wallace also brings up the point about this being a part of a cultural divide, by stating that lobster used to be seen as a lower class meal and now they are holding an entire festival surrounding the idea of cooking and eating live lobsters for an entertainment and tourist attraction.
When you begin to read the article you are not sure what to expect or where this is going to go, every sentence seems to contradict the last or not make any sense to why it is being put in there. Wallace beings with talking about the festival and what it does, along with how it attracts people to the area, his main point throughout the article always circled back to the point of it being wrong and inhumane with how the lobsters are treated. Although, Wallace supports his argument about it being wrong to cook lobsters alive he also adds in the fact that many people try and defend it by saying that it does not matter because the lobsters themselves cannot feel pain. “We do not have direct access to anyone or anything’s pain but our own”. When Wallace uses that statement he is showing us that not everyone believes the way they are handled matters because they do not believe they can feel pain, but Wallace strongly uses pathos in the middle of the Consider the Lobster. He uses pathos when he explains what happens at the Maine Lobster Festival and compares it to how a Nebraska Beef Festival could be played out as, by saying “at which part of the festivities is watching trucks pull up and the live cattle get driven down the ramp and slaughtered right there…” this is used as a way to play off the likeliness to feel bad for the cattle and how that would never happen, which in the long run is no different than the way the lobsters are being handled, differently. Using pathos, Wallace is able to pull at the heartstrings of the readers by referencing those two topics, many people do not reference to eating a cow when they are eating beef because of the attachment it gives to the meat. Except when they are referencing to lobsters they do not think anything different about it because as Wallace states “the point is lobsters are basically giant sea-insects”, because of that many people do not bring any attachment to it and do not think twice about eating it, just because it is not a household animal people do not really think there is anything wrong with eating it but say it was a household animal that would be a whole other topic and probably not as common as it is now.
In the article Wallace is back and forth on arguing the points of animals not feeling any pain, to how the animals are used to be tortured as an entertainment purpose and or a gourmet meal for the people, but I believe Consider the Lobster was written to really make you think about the way we all treat animals. Wallace begins to explain the process of what the lobsters and of the chefs who are cooking them have to go through. Not much thought goes behind the cooking of them and everyone just sees it as a gourmet or out of the ordinary main meal. After reading and figuring out But, throughout Consider the Lobster, Wallace makes many main points in supporting his claim that the morality behind cooking and eating lobster is wrong. He makes it very clear that it is an ethical issue with cooking the lobsters. “The lobster in other words, behaves very much as you or I would behave if we were plunged into boiling water” using this statement gives the readers a sense of guilt for comparing such a human reaction to an animal, and how the thought of it would make anyone uncomfortable. “A detail so obvious that recipes don’t even bother to mention it is that the lobster is supposed to be alive when you put it in the kettle” when he is talking about cooking the lobsters, Wallace shows that is just a part of the norm to harm the lobster without thinking about the animal itself, that goes to show that our culture has made it normal to inflict pain on the animals just to cook them and enjoy them. Wallace also states that many cooks will have to leave the room because they do not want to hear the process of cooking a live lobster. “Or the creature’s claws scraping the sides of the kettle as it thrashes around” this quote alone shows how bothered Wallace is with the entire process of cooking the lobsters, as everyone should be. If the way we were cooking the lobsters was not wrong then the cooks would not have to leave the room. This does not always have to be only about lobsters, but can be used towards any animals, it is an inhumane way to treat animals.
My final thoughts with reading this article came to the simple fact of how we treat animals is inhumane, David Wallace proved that through Consider the Lobster. After reading this I believe that many people can see the bigger picture to something if they simply take the time and really understood the meaning to it. While Reading this article it really makes you sit back and open your eyes on the way we treat animals every day. Wallace used an interesting strategy, while reading the article you never know what you are going to read next considering that Wallace was all over the place, leading up to the sensitive topic of animal cruelty that you didn’t see coming. This forced the readers to read what else was happening behind the festival instead of it all being a great thing for tourists to do, this causes us to stop and think about everything that was stated in the article. Consider the Lobster was an interesting read because of all the things Wallace covered, from a festival, to how the animals are treated, and finally just the cultural divide between the classes. I believe this article can and will be used to show the way that humans treat any animal is wrong because it goes into details of what is happening when you cook a lobster and how inhumane it is. All and all this article was very well put even if it did not have a strong structure on where it was going next.
- Wallace, David Foster. “Consider The Lobster”. Gourmet, August 2004.