"Good People"

Topics: Short story, David Foster Wallace, Fiction Pages: 4 (1191 words) Published: April 29, 2014
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 accounting and business.4 Lane is a very reflective person because he reflects a lot on how he is and how he thinks he should be. “He knew it was wrong, knew something was required of him that was not this terrible frozen care and caution, but he pretended to himself he did not know what it was that was required.”5 This shows that he is a conscientious person and that he has high expectations for himself. Through the whole short story thoughts like the mentioned quote are seen. It seems like Lane is not satisfied with the way he is and keeps comparing himself to his girlfriend, Sheri. “He was starting to believe that he might not be serious in his faith. He was desperate to be good people, to still be able to feel he was good.”6 The fact that he is moving away from his faith makes him question whether he is a good person or not. It makes him confused about his identity, about who he is. Lane is also confused when it comes to his love for his girlfriend and that could be the reason why they are not happy sitting together.7 Lane’s girlfriend, Sheri, is 20 years old, studies to become a nurse and has a hosting job.8 She is very serious in her faith and values and she is a girl who knows what she wants.9 So Sheri seems more secure than...
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