Critical analysis essay on "Good People" by David Foster Wallace

Topics: David Foster Wallace, Short story, Good and evil Pages: 4 (1020 words) Published: November 30, 2014
Sandra Cartica
ENG 221 – CSS
Prof. Donnelly
Critical Analysis Essay – “Good People”

The Battle Within

“Good People”, written by David Foster Wallace, and published in the February 2007 issue of The New Yorker magazine is a story about two young Christians who are faced with the issue of an unplanned pregnancy. The critic reviewing this short story is Matt Bucher. He takes a psychological/philosophical approach and references the division and dichotomy within the story. Religious imagery is highlighted as well as the struggle and divisions within ourselves. Outwardly, this story seems focused on “to abort” or “not to abort,” but in reality, it is a story about our inner battle between good and evil; division and union.

The setting is in the spring, at the park. While sitting on a picnic table Lane and Sheri are faced with the dilemma of going through with a scheduled appointment for an abortion. Lane is torn between what he knows is right and what he wants, which is to be free from the burden of raising a child with someone he is not sure he even loves. Bucher points out the division and dichotomy within the story such as; “two great and terrible armies within himself”, “Two-hearted”, “their shadow a two-headed thing in the grass before them”, the downed tree being “half-hidden” in the water. The dichotomy suggests a dual struggle between two things: good vs. evil and division vs. union. When Lane reassures Sheri that he will be there for her and he will go with her because it was the decent thing to say. His heart and conscience struggle with the division of doing what is wrong, and knowing in his soul what his spiritual convictions demand. Sheri says nothing except acknowledging, “Where he’d be was the waiting room” Which would be far removed from the pain and guilt she would be experiencing in the adjacent room (Wallace 2). Bucher describes Sheri’s demeanor as “she was blank and hidden.” I believe her to be deep in thought...
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