Journal 18/Reconsider the Lobster

Journal 1

“Consider the Lobster” – David Foster Wallace

  1. I found Wallace to be a very interesting writer. He didn’t take one specific side; he took both arguments into consideration. My first question would be, “How has your knowledge effected your view towards those a part of PETA?” There had been many times where I have been approached with pamphlets to prevent animal abuse and have carelessly thrown them out afterwards. I for one am against animal abuse but like Wallace, I am confused as to what is wrong/wrong. I think animal confinement is cruel, yet I am a contributor when it comes to consuming those foods. I don’t know where I stand, I feel bad for the animals that are put through such cruelty but does it affect me that much to change my eating habits? I would also ask Wallace about his comparison with watching lobsters taken from the harbor to a boiling pot to cattle being taken off a truck to watch them be slaughtered. Is that really a good comparison? In a way he has a point, it would be disturbing to watch someone decapitate an animal but does it call for the same sympathy for a lobster? Another thing that was brought to my attention was the difference between preference and suffering. How was he able to put the two together, yet have two completely different meanings?


  1. When writing a discussion one must pinpoint both sides and be able to pack up their statements. Wallace was able to incorporate his view into the two compelling sides. In most essays we are required to pick a side. In this case, Wallace stayed neutral but at the same time he targeted each problem. When making an argument it is important to state the facts rather that critiquing them. There will be three types of people in the audience; those who are against animal cruelty in all shape, way or form, those who feel that it is wrong but are not effected by it, and those who simply don’t care about the matter at all. After reading this essay I have had a new perspective. I cringed reading the description of the lobsters scraping the pot, as they are being boiled alive. What I got out of this essay was that if you don’t think about what you’re eating/doing it won’t affect you. But if you truly take the time to think about the pain and suffering that a living thing is experiencing, it can be quite terrifying.


In my initial take in reading David Foster Wallace’s “Consider the Lobster,” I could not get past how he approached such a bizarre topic. First off, who would ever even consider a lobster to be more than just a lobster? A lobster is something people rarely consider when it comes to “sea-creatures” but the first thing that comes to mind when going to a fancy and expensive seafood restaurant. Many people turn to eating lobster specifically in the summer time. The expenses of a lobster are based off of the catching and preparation of a lobster. Before reading Wallace’s excerpt about the process in which the lobster is caught and boiled, I assumed it was rather easy to have such a simple meal. Not once have I ever considered the lobster when it comes to consuming it. I have thought about the cow or the chicken I am consuming but never fully put my mind to what is actually done behind closed doors. What we are not aware of won’t hurt us in the long run which is why we are sheltered from the terror that occurs in slaughterhouses worldwide. But when it comes to a lobster being captured from the depths of the water and suffocating in the boiling hot water, I never took the lobster’s well being into consideration. My view towards Wallace’s essay remained the same. I don’t look at a lobster different, I still see no harm being done in the process. Could this be because this is what I am used to (along with society), or because I don’t consider a lobster to be worth anything? I don’t feel as if I can have a physical relationship with a lobster, nor do I believe anyone would want to have that type of relationship with one. But it’s not like someone is going to have a bond with a cow like a person has with a dog. Is this because of the size of the animal that we consider killing them to be so sane? All it comes down to is preference – how we see things and how we want to see them.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *