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The Issue of Animal Cruelty in "Consider The Lobster" by David Foster Wallace

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In “Consider the Lobster” David Foster Wallace is given the opportunity to write a review for a magazine, Gourmet. Which is meant to cover the Maine Lobster Festival held in the summer of 2003. However the review was nothing like expected, instead it was more based on ethics and morals in relation to the painful impact we place on lobsters such as boiling them for the sake of our desires. By looking at Wallace’s use of the descriptive strategy we can see how the issue of animal cruelty is at hand. This is important because most individuals intend to ignore morals when they come to face this. By evaluating the strategy and what it creates; we can see how effective Wallace was at painting his argument to the readers.

Wallace’s main argument is that we must treat all animals humanely, like lobsters and others mentioned in this instance. He uses descriptive strategies to emotionally appeal to readers through pathos. By describing the festival to how tasty the lobster is, and then ending off on how the lobsters are cooked creates this emotion of shock. From there on Wallace backs up his main argument by providing us with imagery of how the lobsters may feel pain, whether they do feel pain at all and focus on making the reader question why they ignore the obvious. Now taking a look into Wallace’s overall purpose we can see the strengths and weaknesses that make up his argument. The description has emotional appeal rather than using logic constantly. For example, he describes an image of “how lobsters hang for their dear lives, just as humans would in any given life threat”. He does use clear language to represent his argument, along with limited use of hidden assumptions and defines multiple ideas behind terms through the use of footnotes. Organization of his logic flows as he descriptively creates a thought of “how tasty lobsters are, then aims towards the perspective his readers should think about their morals and ethics’.

On the other hand, taking both sides into consideration is not in depth enough to be fair. For example, he explains that the “PETA work humanely towards animals, showcasing their morals”. However, the morals of the other side seem to remain questionable. Also uses either/or fallacy where he mentions a statement said by a local that “they do their thing and we do our thing.” These are some of the descriptive details that Wallace uses to make his point be known. Use of the descriptive strategy allows us to see the overall issue of animal cruelty. The points he makes using this strategy compel us to agree that animals must be treated humanely. When he asks the readers to imagine the cattle slaughtered, it creates the awareness that we impact all species alike then lobsters should be no exceptions. The work provides good use for us to think before we take actions, allowing the questions out of our unconscious to arise. For example, if we look into “the puppy mill seizure that had taken place locally in February 2016”. We could use this article to question our thoughts of how horrible it is to treat any animal inhumanely. However, this work cannot provide us with the answers to those questions which may make it less credible in that aspect.

Overall Wallace wants the readers to understand the importance of how we must not overlook lobsters as animals and treat all animals humanely. He effectively uses description to guide the readers to be more aware of the underlying means in our unconscious in regards to the way we treat animals. Wallace’s use of imagery is the most intriguing aspect, which allows the readers to imagine the circumstance and feel it emotionally, thus making the readers be driven into his perspective.

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The Issue of Animal Cruelty in “Consider the Lobster” by David Foster Wallace. (2020, September 01). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 4, 2022, from
“The Issue of Animal Cruelty in “Consider the Lobster” by David Foster Wallace.” GradesFixer, 01 Sept. 2020,
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