Analysis Of Foster Wallace’s Argument In Consider The Lobster

Most people don’t consider the entire process animals go through before they become their dinner. “Consider the Lobster,” was launched to raise awareness about the cruel treatment that animals are subject to, in particular the treatment given to lobsters at the festival. Foster Wallace wrote the article in Gourmet, a magazine that published his work in 2003. People who love food and are interested in such topics, as well as chefs who use live ingredients, are the intended audience. Foster Wallace helps the audience think beyond the Main Lobster Festival’s focus on the pleasure of consumers. Foster Wallace’s writing successfully displayed controversial practices using rhetoric and shared information from extensive research.

Foster Wallace begins the article by explaining the attractions and festivities. It looked like a fairly standard overview of the festival. Foster Wallace states that lobster and tourism are the region’s main industries. The Maine Lobster Festival, however, is more of a collision of these two industries. Foster Wallace begins to speak for the lobsters and provides another frame. He then switches gears and describes how lobsters are handled in their final moments. He highlighted what many people would ignore and said that it was something that we should all be aware of, even though it is uncomfortable to talk about. As these animals are food, it is not something that anyone wants to worry about. Foster Wallace does not advocate that people stop enjoying the food they love because lobsters or other animals would suffer immense pain. Foster Wallace says that there are better ways to cook and that it is important to be more conscious of the perspective of others. Foster Wallace’s article is written in a tone that allows him to express his thoughts and feelings about the subject. Foster Wallace has questions to ask about future generations’ choices in food consumption and the negative view we have of Aztec sacrifices during early history. His initial reaction was that such a comparision is absurd and extreme. However, I think it is because animals are more morally important than humans. He is irritable about this topic and feels the need for brutal honesty with his audience. Foster Wallace gives his opinion when he feels it necessary to make his point. It doesn’t matter if people are interested in hearing about the cruel practices that have been committed on animals.

Foster Wallace’s writing is rich with rhetorical appeals, ethos, and research. While everyone is familiar with the basic characteristics of lobsters, Wallace goes in great detail about how they are classified and where their names come from. A lobster is a simple and straightforward item that few people know about. This shows Wallace’s intelligence and the reliability of his article. Foster Wallace cares about the unethical behavior at certain events. He has many things to say about Maine Lobster Festival. However, he also gives actual facts to support his claims throughout.

It provides details about lobsters that would otherwise be difficult for ordinary people to comprehend. The audience can also use logos to provide factual information to support his credibility. Foster Wallace’s belief is strengthened by the fact that there are many ways to cook lobsters. Foster Wallace also addresses the various cooking times that can cause lobsters different levels of pain. Baking, for example would cause more pain because the lobsters would need to be exposed to heat for longer periods. Microwaving, on the other hand, takes much longer to cook but causes lobsters less pain. Foster Wallace is easy to understand because he describes the subject in simple terms.

Foster Wallace’s belief that lobsters are capable of feeling pain is strengthened by giving specific details. It shows Foster Wallace’s trustworthiness in explaining specific information by constructing background information about lobsters.

He gives the lobsters human-like traits that are easy to understand and use by others. Wallace shows the lobsters being boiled alive. But he also shares feelings that people can relate with, saying that “it’s difficult not to feel that they’re unhappy, scared, or both.” Foster Wallace was able to use his pathos to help the audience understand the feelings of the lobsters before their death, while also strengthening his credibility. It is easy to relate to pain. This makes it easier for the audience to think about the treatment of lobsters in different situations, such as festivals. This is called emotion and it is what allows the reader to feel the same pain as the lobsters. The readers will begin to question the validity of this treatment and may ask, “Is it OK to treat lobsters like this?”

Foster Wallace said that these animals are not to be treated any less than humans. Foster Wallace intended every detail to be a reminder that people will remember this thought as they eat their next meal. Foster Wallace doesn’t advocate the consumption, but people need to be aware of the practices. Foster Wallace proves that compassion must be shown for these animals after he has done extensive research.


  • stanleybyrne

    Stanley Byrne is a 26-year-old education blogger and teacher. He has degrees in education and political science from the University of Notre Dame and has worked in various teaching and research positions since he graduated in 2014. He is the author of a number of educational blog posts and has written for Huffington Post, The Guardian, and Salon.