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An Analysis Of Wallace’s Good People

1799 words - 8 pages

When I first read a short story of David Foster Wallace, titled “Good People”, I did not understand any meanings behind it. The story only involved very few physical movements, but more on main character, Lane A. Dean, Jr.’s internal conflicts. The story happened beside a lake, where the main characters, Lane and his girlfriend, Sheri Fisher sat and tried to figure out a way to deal with pregnancy. There are no dialogues happened in whole story, the place does not change as well. However, when I read this story again and again, I could always learn something new from it after each time I read. The external plot may be dull, but the internal plot, which is inner thoughts of Lane is ...view middle of the document...

However, Sheri “shook her head and laughed in an unhappy way”. She did not want to go through abortion. Lane knew it and he started to feel uncomfortable. “He hate himself for sitting so frozen.” This is the first time the word “frozen” appears, then Wallace repeated to use this word in later paragraphs. He “knew something was required of him that was not this terrible frozen care”; “he was freezing more”; “he had not thought of the frozenness of his father”. The word frozen suggested that Lane felt extremely terrible about himself for not being faithful. Another word that frequently appeared is “hypocrite”, a word that Lane used to describe himself. He had a great fear of being a hypocrite, who pretend to have faith, but did something different. The fear was so strong that caused his “frozenness”, and he waited for Sherri to “unfreeze” him. Although he felt so sorry for Sheri and even doubted his love for her, part of him actually wanted to persuade her to go through abortion. He hoped that he could “read her heart and know what to say to get her go through with it”. He might think that abortion will help him to release his burden and wash out his sin. “He so fervently wished it never happened.” However, abortion is against his faith and moral values. He kept being back and forth, struggled with himself. Finally, he found out that what he thought at first might be wrong. He loved Sheri and he was not a horrible person as he thought. They would probably give birth to the baby and carry on.
Though the place that story occurred did not change at all, Wallace carefully chose objects in the scene to evoke emotion and vest meanings to. The story took place in a springtime beside a lake. The grass was very green and there were bees flying around nice-smell flowers. Readers can imagine a warm and lively springtime picture. A springtime scene suggested new lives coming out that may imply the pregnancy of Sheri. Although the external scene is so warm and colorful, the tone of the entire story is gloomy. Such conflict make the taste of gloomy even stronger than if it happened in rainy day. Moreover, objects that were repeated in the scene had meanings behind them. For instance, “downed tree”, “long sleeves down”, “down to earth”, “downed tree’s branches”, and “inborn fallen nature, the words “down”, especially “downed tree” and “fall” were repeated several times. It may symbolize their fall with sin and also imply an infant would “fall”- abortion. Just like Adam and Eve, with a bite of an apple, gave them Fall of Man and Original Sin. Further, “exposed roots going all direction” and “shallows lapped from different direction” echo Lane’s “different angles ” to approach or deal with his problem, which is struggling with himself.
Symbolism played an important role in the story that contributed significantly to meanings of the story. “Good People” is one of the key words that it’s also the title of the story. The phase appeared in paragraphs, where...

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