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Things you can look out for in ‘Consider the Lobster’

Read some ideas and questions to help you analyse David Foster Wallace's 'Consider the Lobster'.
a picture of the front cover of 'Consider the Lobster' which shows a girl dressed in a lobster suit

If we understand the postmodern to be a disruption of prevailing narratives centred around truth and certainty, its literary techniques, amongst others, include:

-self-reference – drawing attention to the text (or narrative) as a construct

-subversion of genre with its established ‘rules’

-a mixture of genres – also disrupting the idea of a single, unifying set of rules

-an undercutting of an authoritative ‘voice’ through using a mixture of high and low registers

-the questioning of language as a purveyor of truth

-encyclopaedic information to counter the concept of totalising (comprehensive and controlling) knowledge.

Look out for these techniques as you read the essay, and especially the way Wallace uses them for sincere moral communication, in particular the way he weaves them together with philosophical reflections.

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David Foster Wallace: Literature and Philosophy

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