Consider The Pain

In Consider the Lobster, David Foster Wallace gives examples and supporting details to educate the reader on why it is not ethical to boil lobsters alive. A professional lobster man stated that there was a part of the brain that humans and other animals have that allow us to feel pain, but that lobster lack this particular part.

Wallace argued by using the analogy, when we touch a hot stove our immediate reaction is to avoid touching the hot stove again. That being said, our brain is bypassed and the action happens in our spine. He goes on to explain the pain and suffering that is clearly noticed when boiling a lobster. The lobster becomes frightened and attempts to flee the scene. Wallace explains the clanking and rattling heard when submerging the lobster into boiling water and argues with a second analogy; he lobster reacts just as we would if we were getting submerged in boiling hot water: discomfort, panic and pain. In his essay, he asks “Is it alright to boil a sentient creature alive just for our gustatory pleasure?” Although prior to reading this I would have said “yes, it’s alright!,” Wallace gave me, as a reader, a different perspective on the consumption of lobster. One is quick to eat the food handed to us but we never really think of the pain and suffering our lunch actually went through. Although personally, I am not a lobster consumer, it gave me a viewpoint to take into consideration when eating any type of meat and an understanding of putting myself in the position of the animal. I feel that Wallace comes to the conclusion that it is not ethical to boil lobsters alive. He suggests different ways to kill the lobster in more gentle ways (if any) and provides the reader with a vast amount of information and examples to support his thoughts.



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