Death in "Good Old Neon" by David Foster Wallace - Free Essay Sample

Published: 2023-11-02
Death in "Good Old Neon" by David Foster Wallace - Free Essay Sample
Essay type:  Book review
Categories:  Psychology American literature Social issue
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 628 words
6 min read


"Good Old Neon" is a heartbreaking detail for psychological suffering, Neal to suicide that leads the narrator. As the story begins, "My whole life I've been a fraud," the author tries to unpack Neal and their causes and consequences. The author states that Neal is a private concern, and causes and consequences are private based (Wallace). According to the author, Neal's life was not fraudulent, but as he was troubled by the existence of fraudulence and was still unable to get out of the condition. Hence, it is the concept of Neal that explains the gap between subjective experiences and idealized guideless state in which self-consciousness can prevent. By the author holding himself in impossible and non-existent standards, he creates the perfect mixture for being an enemy of good and, in some cases, undermined the possibility of actions that always feel sincere (Wallace).

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In the story, Kantian guilt is vastly explained as the author does most of his actions for narcissistic reasons and the need to do things with the right motives. The theme of death is a major theme and explained through different arguments that help build an understanding of Neal's concept. This essay analyzes death's theme in Death Wallace's work and how Neal interacts with the world for narcissistic reasons.

Initially, he describes death as a condition of self-realization; for instance, it describes when one dies as one being on a board in the ocean. When one is alive, he knows of the position but does not notice the vulnerability (Peters). Hence, during one's death minutes, one has a flash of their lives; he compares this feeling to understanding the vulnerability in the ocean. From this explanation, the author explains death as a condition when one realizes themselves through the realization of how people get to realize the lives they lived and the vulnerabilities they are subjected to. With this subjective view of death as an adventure where one experiences the adventure of life. Hence, by the description of death condition, he signifies how the condition interrupts one's routine with a frightening view of the vulnerabilities as an adventure of death.

Condition of Change

Secondly, death is explained as a condition of change and has a significant influence on one's life. In this case, death is an instigator to forced change. In this case, in a condition of death, one understands their vulnerability, hence instigates one to make some changes to keep up with the vulnerability that influences an individual. In cases in the article, death is described to explain a change of flow and a condition when people change various aspects of their lives. In most cases, death acted as a time when change is forced into an individual's life. In addition, death is explained as a state of dysfunction and state of non-meaning, which individual moves to the internal afterlife have been taken (Kelly and Adam). In this case, one describes death as a state of a number of actions that cannot be explained to an individual of a higher self-consciousness. Therefore, the article describes death as a result of being unable to explain the small fundamentals that make up an ideal condition.


In conclusion, death is described by David as an adventure of realization, which influences an individual's understanding of themselves and vulnerabilities in their lives. Secondly, death is described as a condition of change instigated by exposing the vulnerabilities in individuals' lives (Wallace). Finally, death is explained as a state of meaninglessness that affects individuals of a higher self-consciousness.

Works Cited

Kelly, Adam. "David Foster Wallace: The Death of the Author and the Birth of a Discipline." IJAS Online 2 (2010): 47-59.

Peters, Tim. "Good Old Wallace." The Los Angeles Review of Books (2014).

Wallace, David Foster. "Good old neon." Conjunctions 37 (2001): 105-140.

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