Analysis Of David Foster Wallace 's `` Default Setting `` Essay

777 Words Sep 11th, 2015 4 Pages
David Foster Wallace uses the phrase “default-setting” many times throughout his writing to make it the symbolic backbone of his piece. By using this phrase he emphasizes that we, as humans, carry around an outlook of life that is subconsciously pure inaction. When he describes our “default-setting,” he declares several times that we have the option to rid of that particular setting and choose other possibilities. These possibilities involve learning, optimism, and selflessness. By personally choosing to “stay conscious and alive” each day, we destroy the blocks of idleness stacked so high in our minds.

David Foster Wallace introduces the idea of a “default-setting,” when he states, “If I don’t make a conscious decision…I’m going to be pissed and miserable every time I have to food-shop, because my natural default-setting is the certainty that situations like this are really all about me... (p XIV)” It is the concept that our thinking process is naturally centered around our own mind, thoughts, opinions, and feelings. Daily tasks such as grocery shopping typically require only mediocre thought processes, but they can quickly turn harmful when we start to knock down others to get our hands on what we want, when we want it. We begin to feel frustrated when we do not gain instant satisfaction, content, or gratification. Without a slight conscious change to our default-thinking process, we will leave the store feeling just like Wallace, pissed and miserable.…

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