Reading Response: DFW’s “This Is Water”

David Foster Wallace was an experimental novelist who wrote in a hyperattentive style some critics have dubbed “the Adderall genre.”

After reading David Foster Wallace’s “This is Water,”  respond by writing about 300 words to any question(s) which pique(s) your interest.

1.What genre is DFW writing in and how does he play with the conventions of that genre?

2.DFW states “learning how to think” as the end-all be-all of a liberal arts education. Why are you enrolled in this university? What’s the holy grail for you and how does university fit into that picture?

3.What do you think it means to be “well-adjusted” in today’s society?

4.What’s the point of the “This is Water” parable? What’s “water” for Wallace? What else might be called “water” in our societies?

5. What kind of ethos does the author create for himself? How?


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