ENG 221 – CSS
Critical Analysis Essay – “Good People”
The Battle Within
“Good People”, written by David Foster Wallace, and published in the February 2007 issue of The New Yorker magazine is a story about two young Christians who are faced with the issue of an unplanned pregnancy. The critic reviewing this short story is Matt Bucher. He takes a psychological/philosophical approach and references the division and dichotomy within the story. Religious imagery is highlighted as well as the struggle and divisions within ourselves. Outwardly, this story seems focused on “to abort” or “not to abort,” but in reality, it is a story about our inner battle between good and evil; division and union.
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He detaches himself and envisions himself escaping on a train and seeing his problems become smaller and smaller. Lane desperately wants to be “good people” and his spiritual convictions make him feel like a hypocrite and a liar and he begins to question his faith, but he does not seek counsel from his pastor, prayer partners on campus, his UPS friends or spiritual counsel at his parents’ old church. This deliberate avoidance to seek counsel is because he knows that all of these mentors would not approve of their decision to abort their child. I agree with Bucher when he points out that the man in the gray suit and the fishermen across the lake are all references to a higher power. Christ is symbolized by the fish, some of the first apostles were fishermen also Sheri’s last name is Fisher. Lane references the old man in the suit as reminding him of his grandfather which is an authority figure. The eloquently written, philosophically agonizing crux of this story, Bucher points out is the “two-armies” passage, which depicts the battle Lane is experiencing within himself. “But sitting here beside this girl as unknown to him now as outer space, waiting for whatever she might say to unfreeze him, now he felt he could see the edge or outline of what a real vision of hell might be. It was of two great and terrible armies within himself, opposed and faced each other, silent. There would be battle but no victor. Or never a battle – the