david foster wallace biography

Topics: Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace, Postmodern literature Pages: 5 (1748 words) Published: November 18, 2014
David Foster Wallace

In this essay I am going to do my best to give the reader the most informative explanation (within my constraints) of one of the most brilliant authors of the age, David Foster Wallace. He was the author of many great and insightful (at times, dark) works. Some of the more popular/well-known pieces being _The Broom of the System, Girl with Curious Hair, Infinite Jest, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, Oblivion_, and finally his incomplete novel, _The Pale King_. In all honesty, to even scratch the surface of an individual with this amount of depth would require a work similar in size and time to his "tree-killer" of a novel, _Infinite Jest_. That being said, I hold the belief that every free-thinking individual should at least know-this man's name in hopes that it may show them the way to his works on what it means to be "a fucking human being".

David Foster Wallace was born on 21 February 1962 and finally met his end 12 September 2008 at the age of 46. Wallace was born in Ithaca, New York, to his parents, James Wallace and Sally Foster. His father, a previous graduate student in philosophy at Cornell, was from a family of professionals. His mother, on the other hand, was an English major at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, with a more rural background with family residing in Maine and New Brunswick. She was also the first in her family to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. At the age of 4, David moved with his family to Champaign-Urbana, Illinois for a better job opportunity. His home life was very structured (dinner at 5:45 p.m. and lights out at precisely 8:30 p.m.) and was very conducive for intellectual growth. It was a happy home. As he gets older, Wallace starts to realize many things. First, he had a love for tennis. With his logical and calculating mind, he could easily see the geometrical angles the ball could make as it bounced off the racket, leading him to become one of the top players in his region at that time. Other things start to surface as well; sadly, these were not among some of the happier things. He started to analyze his physical and mental self, picking at each and every flaw (compared it to sort of "counting sheep"), which did nothing to alleviate his problem at being socially awkward. He eventually found his first love, Susan Perkins, who, at the time, already had a boyfriend. It's also important to note that this was the point when Wallace discovered the joys of smoking pot.

After high school, Wallace planned to attend Amherst. He chose Amherst mostly because it meant he wouldn't have to go to another interview. His father was an alumni, so he was pretty much a shoo-in. By his sophomore year, he was developing a reputation for his intelligence. He was earning straight A's and was actually opening up and making friends, until he returned from Christmas break at home. He was an entirely different person when the depression took him, as his college roommates described. After a few weeks of trying to tough it out, Wallace realized he was going to have to withdraw and go home. Something was clearly wrong. He returned in Fall 1984 for his senior year. Eventually, Wallace graduated and was awarded double summas for his two honors theses. _The Broom of the System_ would eventually be published and become his first serious fiction novel. This was the point when Wallace discovered his love of writing fiction.

As an immature "adult" in an adult world, Wallace made the decision to start teaching to supplement his writing career and gain health insurance for his special needs. His first teaching job was at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. He hated teaching. For him, he was just wasting time with kids who didn't even want to do their homework; when he could be spending valuable time on his career as a fiction author. Up to this point, Wallace has steadily been falling deeper and deeper in to his addictions. He had been...

Cited: "Brief Interview with a Five Draft Man". _Amherst Magazine_. Amherst College, 1999. Web. 13 April 2014.
Max, D.T.. _Every Love Story is a Ghost Story_. New York. Penguin Group, 2012. Print.
Max, D.T.. "The Unfinished". _The New Yorker_. Conde Nast, 9 March 2009. Web.14 April 2014.
McInerney, Jay. "Infinite Jest"._The New York Times_. The New York Times Company,3 March 1996.Wen.13 April 2014.
Silverman, Jacob. "The artful mediation of Karen Green, David Foster Wallace 's widow". _Los Angeles Times_. Los Angeles Times, 31 May 2013. Web. 14 April 2014.
Weber, Bruce. "David Foster Wallace, Influential Writer Dies 46". _The New York Times_. The New York Times Company, 14 September 2008. Web. 13 April 2014.
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