“Consider The Lobster” By David Foster Wallace, Summary

“Consider The Lobster”

Consider the Lobster is work done by David Foster Wallace and is a collection of various essays handling different themes. To get an analysis of the content of these essays, there is a need to look at each of the stories independently:

Consider the Lobsters

The author finds inspiration to write about the lobster after attending an annual lobster festival that was organized in Maine. The classy advertisements and the amount of the lobsters prepared at the event do not divert the author from questioning the morality of how the lobster should be cooked. Remember that the lobsters are boiled when they are still alive. This is a fact that makes the author worried about the savage nature in which they are treated. In the author’s view, a lot of pain is inflicted on these creatures which is unethical and shows that those people are insensitive to the suffering of the lobster.

Big Red Son

The story digs deep into the intricacies of the happenings in the American pornography industry. The author collected the findings when he attended a video award organized by those in the adult movie industry in 1998. Information that is presented in this work originates from the stakeholders in the industry. Though David Foster Wallace looks at the issues from an outsider’s point of view, he can’t help but wonder the amount of obscenity that is displayed in this industry. The story also delves into the issues of auto-castration, and the effects the videos produced have on their final users. The author describes the huge revenues generated in the industry, the overwhelming popularity of the videos in the society, and the immoral issues such as rape and exposure of minors to sex by the videos. Simply put, the book is a compilation of the events of the award gala.

Up Simba

The main focus of this book is the presidential campaigns to clinch the Republican Party ticket by John McCain in the year 2000. The project initiated by Rolling Stones was meant to be a fact-finding mission on why John McCain was attracting a lot of popularity especially among the young people who were mainly known to be driven by voter apathy. David Foster followed the events of the campaign for seven days.

How Tracy Austin Broke My Heart

The story is a memoir of Tracy Austin who is a tennis star and also covers other aspects of sports. It is a critic of the poor effort that those who write sports autobiographies put in. The author is particularly frustrated by the quality of the autobiography of Tracy Austin given that the author loved the tennis player a lot.

The View from Mrs. Thompson’s

David Foster Wallace looks at the events that took place in the 9/11 bombing. The author opines that as much as the people in the other areas in the United States do not show a lot of concern for those affected, the neighborhood around Bloomington feel the pain. Everyone is concerned and finds the images of the attack in their television sets heartbreaking. People in the town are looking for the American flag to show compassion and solidarity for those affected.

Authority and American Usage

Here, the author delves into the murky world of language use by giving a review of ‘A Dictionary of Modern American Usage’ that was written by Bryan Garner. David Foster Wallace puts grammar use into two categories, prescriptivism, and descriptivism depending on the use. However, the general rule is that to communicate in English, the language used must be attractive to the readers. One should use the rhetorical questions effectively.


The essay talks about John Ziegler who was a radio talk show host at the time the story was written. The main theme in this story is the way journalists shape public opinion by the way they present their stories. The main focus of the story is on the trial of O.J. Simpson and how the media treated it.

Certainly the End of Something or Other, One Would Sort of Have to Think

The story is also a review of the book ‘Toward the End of Time’ that was written by John Updike. In the review, David Foster criticizes the approach taken by John Updike in some issues. One of such statements is:

“Makes misogyny seem literary the same way Rush makes fascism seem funny.”

Joseph Frank’s Dostoevsky

In this story, the author heaps praise on the biography of Dostoevsky that was written by Joseph Frank’s as one of the most accomplished writers. However, he also criticizes him where he may not have done well.

Some Remarks on Kafka’s Funniness from Which Probably Not Enough Has Been Removed

This is a collection of the times of Kafka. These samples intended to make people laugh. However, in the current American context, they cannot be funny.