Summary: Good People Essay
The short story be David Foster Wallace has appeared in 2007 in the New Yorker magazine and is dedicated to the issues of morality, difficult decisions and constant struggle of good and evil inside of everyone, no matter how faithful and religious the person is as not all life situations can be solved using Holy Scripture.
The very beginning of the story brings readers to the park by the lake where a young couple of faithful Christians sit together at the picnic table. The readers are immediately allowed into Lane Dean’s head, main male character, whose girlfriend, Sheri, is pregnant. The tragic element of this situation is that the couple is unwed, they both go to college, yet Sheri is already working, they both are young (Lane is 19 and Sheri is 20), and this pregnancy was unplanned and unwanted. As a result, Sheri schedules an abortion – action that is considered one of the biggest sins that breaks the first commandment – Thou shalt not kill as the Church considers an embryo a human with soul already.
Author presents a story in third person, in kind of inner voice that knows everything, shows moral struggle of the main hero (without highlighting thoughts of emotions of Sheri), who does not know how to react and even can find enough strength to communicate with Sheri and discuss the situation. He sits still and silent, waiting for somebody or something to deal with the problem, not wanting to solve it on his own as he cannot find the solution that will still allow him to be “good people”. As a result, he becomes the one he fears the most: a hypocrite, the sin that he himself considered to be the most awful.
The story goes about his constant comparing of himself and his girlfriend, highlighting that he thinks that she is much better than him, as she is smarter, works already (she is a nurse and has a hosting job), she studies better than him. And because of his high expectations of himself, he always feels not as mature as Sheri and less confident. Yet Sheri is also cannot deal with the situation as she schedules an abortion but as a religious person she cannot stand it. Sheri is described through Lane’s thoughts and feelings, and unable to speak with her directly, Lane has a conversation with her in his head, raising questions about love, life and morale issues. Still, it is impossible to find out what she is thinking or feeling, because all we have is Lane’s thoughts and perception of her feelings and thoughts.
The main conflict of the story is not a conflict between Lane and Sheri – it is a conflict within Lane himself, as he feels as if he is in the personal Hell, that he perceives like two still armies inside him: no matter who will beat one another, there will be no victory. Thinking about this situation Lane realizes that sometimes certain situations are too complicated to be answered de rigore juris in terms of religion.
Sheri decides to carry the child, showing Lane her faith in him and inspiring him, symbolizing that faith of others in you as well as faith in God can help to break free from fear and win the battle between good and evil. Conclusion of the story is motivating, showing that sometimes you have to deal with demons in your head and go against fear and make the decisions that will make you proud of and make you a really good person.