"Good People" Essay

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Analysis of ”Good People” by David Foster Wallace, 2007 The short story is set at a park by a lake. “They were up on a picnic table at that park by the lake, by the edge of the lake, with part of a downed tree in the shallows half hidden by the bank.”1 The downed tree sets the mood to be sad and dark. We also learn that the main characters Lane A. Dean, Jr. and his girlfriend Sheri Fisher are sitting very still on the picnic table2, which tells us that the atmosphere is quite intense. It does not say for how long they sit by the lake, but it says that the right sides of their faces get shaded so it can be assumed that they sit there for a while.3 One of the main characters is Lane A. Dean, Jr., who is 19 years old and studies…show more content…
So it can be concluded that they may have a problem with each other. It is a third person narrative. The narrator has an obvious focus on Lane and this we see because the narrator only includes Lane’s thoughts and feelings a lot: “Sometimes when alone and thinking or struggling to turn matter over to Jesus Christ in prayer, he would find himself (…)”11 “He could almost visualize himself tiptoeing past something explosive.”12 Therefore the narrator has an inner view of Lane. We learn his opinions, and especially when Sheri is described – you learn that it is through Lane that she is described. The effect of the inner view is that we only learn how one of the main characters is feeling and is thinking. It also makes the information about Sheri subjective because it is Lane’s opinion about her and not her exact thoughts or feelings. We only have Lane’s opinion and actions and Sheri’s actions. Furthermore the short story is written in the past tense, and there are some flashbacks: “Two days before (…)”13 “Sometimes when they had prayed (…)”14 The flashbacks can enlighten the reader about the main characters background, but also confuse the reader. The short story consists of both short sentences and long sentences. The sentences are short when something dramatic happens and the short sentences make it more dramatic and interesting to read
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