College of Arts and Sciences
Master of Arts in English (MA)
Primary Subject Area
Language, Rhetoric and Composition; Literature, General; Literature, American; Literature, Comparative; Literature, Modern
David Foster Wallace, George Saunders, Infinite Jest, irony, late capitalism, spectacle
Comparative Literature | English Language and Literature | Literature in English, North America | Modern Literature | Rhetoric and Composition
Hawkins, John, "Life Inside the Spectacle: David Foster Wallace, George Saunders, and Storytelling in the Age of Entertainment" (2013). Masters Theses. 280.
This project explores George Saunders's In Persuasion Nation and David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest as interventionary literature. The thesis asserts that the two works confront the problems of isolation and dehumanization created by entertainment-based consumerism; they do so by depicting satirically exaggerated consumer societies and placing well-developed, sympathetic characters in those settings. The thesis includes a consideration of Jameson and deBord's theories of spectacle and Wallace's stated concerns with postmodern irony as an ineffective form of critique.