Analysis of Persuasive Techniques Used by David Foster Wallace in Consider The Lobster

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About this sample


Words: 994 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: May 14, 2021

Words: 994|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: May 14, 2021

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.

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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.

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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.

Works Cited

  1. Wallace, D. F. (2004). Consider the Lobster. Gourmet, 64(8), 150-165.
  2. Griswold, W. (2006). “Consider the Lobster.” Wallace Studies, 4(2), 1-9.
  3. Humane Society of the United States. (n.d.). Consider the Lobster: Pain and Consciousness in Crustaceans. Retrieved from
  4. Regan, T. (1985). The Case for Animal Rights. University of California Press.
  5. Singer, P. (1990). Animal Liberation. Harper Perennial.
  6. Korsgaard, C. M. (2011). The Status of Animals in Kantian Ethics. In T. L. Beauchamp & R. G. Frey (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Animal Ethics (pp. 87-108). Oxford University Press.
  7. Hursthouse, R. (2000). Ethics, Humans and Other Animals: An Introduction with Readings. Routledge.
  8. Hargrove, E. C. (2012). Killing for Food: Eating Animals and the Limits of Ethics. University of North Texas Press.
  9. DeGrazia, D. (2002). Animal Rights: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.
  10. Lymbery, P., & Oakeshott, I. (2017). Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat. Bloomsbury Publishing.
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Analysis Of Persuasive Techniques Used By David Foster Wallace In Consider The Lobster. (2021, May 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved November 30, 2023, from
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