David Foster Wallace’s “Incarnations of Burned Children”


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Essay #: 058971
Total text length is 5,839 characters (approximately 4.0 pages).

Excerpts from the Paper

The beginning:
David Foster Wallace’s "Incarnations of Burned Children"
David Foster Wallace’s short story, Incarnations of Burned Children, is a deep and tragic tale about poverty and family. The bleakness of the story extends all the way to coal black humour at times, because the material is so provocatively sad. There is nothing worse than the death of a child.
The parents are referred to as the Mommy and the Daddy, as the story is narrated by dead baby. This is a distressingly underprivileged family. Poverty is revealed as an the opposite of familial wellness.
The tale begins with the Mommy screaming, as “The Daddy was around the side of the house hanging a door for the tenant” (para. 1). Most doors are of course not “hung,” but rather erected, or...
The end:
.....ge, there is a gruesome sense of how alone families are in this world. This story actually celebrates families, though poverty and ignorance help wreck everything. The family unit is only as effective as its members, but the service it provides humanity is like the only organization where people share blame, pain, and struggle. The reflexive, automatic love in families feels like the purest human virtue in this story. Even if the parents are hapless, hopeless, and their child dies of parental stupidity. Remaining is a backward affirmation of familial love.
Wallace, David Foster. “Incarnations of Burned Children,” Esquire. 21 Aug. 2009.