Are people fundamentally good or bad in general?
How Good Are People
The short story written by David Foster Wallace is about a boy named, Lane Dean Jr. The scene starts near 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” (Wallace 157). The purpose of mentioning downed tree sets the mood, which is sad and dark. We also learn that the main characters, Lane and his girlfriend, Sheri Fisher, are sitting still on the picnic table. This tells us that the setting is intense and sets the mood. It does not say for how long they sit by the lake, but it can be assumed that they sit there for a while because it says, “They’d sat here long enough that only their right side was shaded now” (Wallace 158). The story is about Lane and Sheri having to make a very important decision, abortion. They fight about a disagree about the decision throughout the story.
As the story is mainly about Lane and his thought and feelings, it is obviously more in his point of view. He his religious but would go against his beliefs to have the abortion. The story tells us he’s in Jr college, he’s self-absorbed, hypocritical, he’s 19, and the relationship with Sheri is new. Wallace does give us background on Sheri. She is 20, she smells good, wants to be a nurse, smarter than Lane, down to earth, a hostess, and obviously pregnant.
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The story is written in a third person point of view. Throughout the story, Wallace describes how Lane feels and his thoughts on what he wants Sheri to do. Lane wants to have the abortion, but Sheri does not. Lane does not want to be stuck with Sheri per the baby, “But neither did he open up and tell her straight out he did not love her” (Wallace 160). Lane knew if he told her he didn’t love her then she would have an abortion, “… were he to look right at her and tell her he didn’t, she would keep the appointment and go” (Wallace 160). Knowing this, Lane as a young character, was weak, “… some terrible weakness or lack of values, could not tell her” (Wallace 160). Lane was understanding about Sheri’s view as he said: “The appointment could be moved back; if she just said the word they could call and push it back to take more time to be sure in the decision” (Wallace 159).