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Paper Topic:

Zero in on David Foster Wallaces choice of essays in The Best American Essays 2007 ed. David Foster Wallace and why he chose the essays that he did, what does it reveal about him?

David Foster Wallace 's Selections of Best American Essays 2007




April 23 , 2008 Judging from David Foster Wallace 's selections for inclusion in the 2007 version of The Best American Essays , he is iconoclastic . According to The American Heritage College Dictionary 4th ed , an iconoclast is defined as one who attacks and seeks to overthrow traditional or popular ideas or institutions (687 . The essays challenge traditional ways of thinking . In the introduction to the collection , Wallace gives several criteria by which he

judged essays , one of the most important being what he views as an absence of dogma . This is important because part of our emergency is that it 's so tempting to do this sort of thing now , to retreat to narrow arrogance , pre-formed positions , rigid filters , the `moral clarity ' of the immature (xxiii

In one essay a man whose building is burning down makes the heroic (in light of the inertia that overtakes so many of us in intense situations decision to leap across from his window through the neighboring tenement window , which was closed at the time (Beard . What is unique about this story is the tone it takes . Rather than hailing this man for his daring act , we are taken through the story in a manner which makes clear that the heroic people we read about in newss are just as scared and unsure of their actions as the rest of us are . This flies in the face of what we are taught growing up - to idolize individuals , place our heroes on pedestals , and hold certain people apart from the rest of the human race - by telling an exceedingly honest story about a regular person who was able to do something superhuman in the face of danger

In another essay , Marilynne Robinson gives a stirringly beautiful account of how her Christianity compels her liberalism . Through a wide-ranging theological dialogue , she severs Christianity from its current place as the religion of free-market conservatives . Robinson makes a compelling case for kindness and munificence in place of miserliness and avarice . In describing her own Christianity , which stems in large part from Calvinist ideology , she asserts that There is no doctrine here , no setting of conditions , no drawing of lines . On the contrary , what he describes is a posture of grace , generosity liberality (220 . This allows for a Christianity closer to what Jesus Christ taught and lived . It also allows liberals to loosen the stranglehold on religion (and morality ) that conservatives have held for the past few decades (Robinson . The essay changes essential terms of a large debate , challenging conventional thinking on the subject

In Loaded , Garret Keizer discusses gun rights , and the meaning of guns in America . His essay transcends the Second Amendment debate by creating a space to talk about guns as a means of defense against an overreach of government power . Keizer presents all sides of the argument in an empathetic and evenhanded manner , before arguing for a less bombastic...

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