Influence on Popular American Culture

David Foster Wallace's Influence on Popular American Literature

August 1, 2012

David Foster Wallace's Influence on Popular American Literature
David Foster Wallace, an avant-garde of realistic fiction, was imaginative and humorous in his observations. In his best known 1996 novel Infinite Jest, he rhetorically describes his perception of a not-so-far-fetched-futuristic American society, a culture obsessed with pleasure, entertainment, and self.   His parodic approach also brings to the forefront an assumption that the mass culture will follow a spoon fed path toward low standards, and simple pleasures (Fest, 2011). Wallace held many job titles; journalist, novelist, English professor, the list goes on. The most important title he held was cultural icon.
Infinite Jest is presented in a multilayered fashion; the main plot revolves around a missing film that robs its viewers of their interest in life. These lifeless zombies live in a world where each year is marked by corporate subsidization, such as the ‘Year of Depends.’ Both are easily translated into the self-described addiction many Americans are faced with daily; consumerism. How far away are we really as a society willing to auction off its calendar year for naming rights or use entire state as a waste site in an effort to boost a fragile economy? The cultural values Wallace describes are usually associated with low culture; too much television watching, transsexuals, varying levels and types of drug addiction, the rehabilitation process, and terrorism (Tayler, 2008). Several backstories relay generalizations about the characters bringing their stories together into a terrorist plot to use the film to control society. It’s surprising his novel Brief Interviews with Hideous Men was made into a movie first.
David Foster Wallace creates work for a reader that is both fun and challenging. He makes readers want to research and explore further to ensure a concise understanding of him. He shares his...