When a meal is placed before you, you do not usually think of the journey those ingredients went on to reach you. You do not consider how far the corn traveled or the pain the lobster went through in order to become your food. David Foster Wallace’s article, “Consider the Lobster,” delves into the controversy surrounding the live boiling of lobster for human consumption. In order to effectively get his point across, Wallace outlines the Maine Lobster Festival and connects human experience with the lobster’s experience.
Initially, Wallace goes into great detail explaining the environment surrounding the Maine Lobster Festival in order to convey the idea that people nonchalantly ignore the massacre of thousands of lobsters right beside them. He outlines this to accurately show the hypocrisy of peoples’ nonchalant attitude surrounding the mass slaughter of the lobsters when they may find the mass slaughter of any other animal horrific. Further, he attempts to initiate compassion in his readers by gruesomely portraying the killing of the lobster. He does this in a way that sparks fear, disgust, and uneasiness within a reader who may see it as analogous with one’s own pain and experiences.
In summation, David Foster Wallace gets you thinking about the morality of boiling lobster alive for consumption through the portrayal of Maine’s lobster festival and the depiction of pain experienced by the lobster. We see how mindlessly people act when difficult matters concern their food and the morality of it. Also, we do not often pay attention to the pain animals may experience before they reach our plate. Thus, Wallace’s article encourages us to think before we eat.