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Eng 121 Journal

In: English and Literature

Submitted By dcmariott
Words 484
Pages 2
Week 4 Journal - Summarizing
ENG 121
Instructor: Clinton Hale
November 24th, 2014

Summarizing David Foster Wallace’s “Consider the Lobster” is an in-depth 2004 article about the annual Maine Lobster Festival. The event is held every July in an area of Maine known as the mid-coast, which Wallace describes as, “…from Owl’s Head and Thomaston in the south, to Belfast in the north” (Wallace.2004). Throughout the narrative, Wallace deftly uses concrete language to bring the reader into the tents at the festival, Styrofoam plate in hand along with him. When describing the fare on offer for instance, Wallace talks about the soft drinks being “iceless and flat” and describes the coffee as “convenience store coffee”. Apart from being fairly humorous, these descriptions help the reader immerse themselves in the narrative. We’ve all had awful and overpriced meals at county fairs and so when we read Wallace’s description, we know exactly what he is talking about. Wallace’s overall take on the festival is that it is a slice of a vanishing Americana, but perhaps it is one that should be relegated to the past. Festivals like the one Wallace attended used to be much more commonplace as a way for areas of the country to celebrate regional interests which may seem unworthy of celebration in other areas. Although enjoyed and heartily endorsed by most locals Wallace says, several national groups, including PETA have been campaigning against the festival on the grounds of animal cruelty sine the 1990’s. The local opinion is characterized most succinctly by Dick, who Wallace introduces as “our florid and extremely gregarious rental car guy”, who says when asked if boiling lobsters alive is tantamount to animal cruelty, “There’s a part of the brain in people and animals that lets us feel pain and lobster’s brains don’t have that part”(2004. page 5). Wallace explains to the reader that Dick’s opinion is wrong on a scientific level, and in doing so conveys the general mood of most outsiders; that the festival and most of its attendees are an anachronism in today’s growing environment of folks who think about the welfare of the animals that they are eating. Although I have tried to add more concrete language to my personal essay on every revision, I have the sneaking suspicion that I may have overdone it a bit on my latest version. In reading Wallace’s article I noted that instead of cramming as much concrete language into his piece as possibly, he sprinkled it throughout which made for a much more interesting read. I think readers of the current incarnation of my paper may get lost in the language. In the next revision I plan on taking a page from Wallace and remove some of the unnecessary language, leaving only a sprinkling.

Wallace, D. F. (2004). Consider the lobster. Gourmet. Retrieved from

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