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Language is an abstraction, and thus cannot be used to totally capture and communicate what is going on inside of our heads to those around us. This problem figures prominently in the work of David Foster Wallace. His first novel, "The Broom of the System" is largely based on the thought of Ludwig Wittgenstein, an early 20th century philosopher whose work explores the limits of linguistic communication. Wallace's ideas about language are also informed by post-structuralist theorist Jacques Derrida. The difficulty of linguistic communication remains a prominent theme in Wallace's work throughout his career.

Occurrences in Wallace's work