David Foster Wallace Biography Essay

1773 words - 7 pages

David Foster WallaceIn this essay I am going to do my best to give the reader the most informative explanation (within my constraints) of one of the most brilliant authors of the age, David Foster Wallace. He was the author of many great and insightful (at times, dark) works. Some of the more popular/well-known pieces being The Broom of the System, Girl with Curious Hair, Infinite Jest, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, Oblivion, and finally his incomplete novel, The Pale King. In all honesty, to even scratch the surface of an individual with this amount of depth would require a work similar in size and time to his "tree-killer" of a novel, Infinite Jest. That being said, I hold the belief that every free-thinking individual should at least know-this man's name in hopes that it may show them the way to his works on what it means to be "a fucking human being".David Foster Wallace was born on 21 February 1962 and finally met his end 12 September 2008 at the age of 46. Wallace was born in Ithaca, New York, to his parents, James Wallace and Sally Foster. His father, a previous graduate student in philosophy at Cornell, was from a family of professionals. His mother, on the other hand, was an English major at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, with a more rural background with family residing in Maine and New Brunswick. She was also the first in her family to acquire a Bachelor's Degree. At the age of 4, David moved with his family to Champaign-Urbana, Illinois for a better job opportunity. His home life was very structured (dinner at 5:45 p.m. and lights out at precisely 8:30 p.m.) and was very conducive for intellectual growth. It was a happy home. As he gets older, Wallace starts to realize many things. First, he had a love for tennis. With his logical and calculating mind, he could easily see the geometrical angles the ball could make as it bounced off the racket, leading him to become one of the top players in his region at that time. Other things start to surface as well; sadly, these were not among some of the happier things. He started to analyze his physical and mental self, picking at each and every flaw (compared it to sort of "counting sheep"), which did nothing to alleviate his problem at being socially awkward. He eventually found his first love, Susan Perkins, who, at the time, already had a boyfriend. It's also important to note that this was the point when Wallace discovered the joys of smoking pot.After high school, Wallace planned to attend Amherst. He chose Amherst mostly because it meant he wouldn't have to go to another interview. His father was an alumni, so he was pretty much a shoo-in. By his sophomore year, he was developing a reputation for his intelligence. He was earning straight A's and was actually opening up and making friends, until he returned from Christmas break at home. He was an entirely different person when the depression took him, as his college roommates...

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