Sunday, March 4, 2012

David Foster Wallace Lobsters--Best Quality

I read David Foster Wallace’s article about the Maine Lobster Festival.  It is a very interesting article that explains and debates all aspects about lobsters.  David Foster Wallace uses footnotes, parenthetical writing, and his unique voice to make the article very interesting.  The beginning of the article talks about, anatomically, what a lobster is.  David then describes the hectic setting of the lobster festival. David then goes on to describe the “preparation” of lobster (as he keenly points out in the article preparation is a kinder word for killing).  Inevitably he then raises the ethical question about eating lobster: “ Is it all right to boil a sentient creature alive just for our gustatory pleasure? A related set of concerns: Is the previous question irksomely PC or sentimental? What does ‘all right’ even mean in this context? Is it all just a matter of individual choice?”  Similarly to in the “The Joy Luck Club” David explains the scene and feelings that rise when you drop a lobster in the pot.  Jing Mei experience guilt when her mother threw the crabs in the boiling water:
I remember that crab screaming as he thrust one bright red claw out over the side of the bubbling pot. It must have been my own voice, because now I know, of course, that crabs have no vocal cords. And I also try to convince myself that they don’t have enough brains to know the difference between a hot bath and a slow death (201).
In the article David Foster Wallace looks at all angles of the ethicalness of boiling lobster.

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