Statistics

As I began reading the first story of Oblivion, I saw numbers and was right away put off. “Another book on math? Again? Ugh!” My first impression was that we would be going through another story about another subject I did not understand and was not happy to read about. That was my initial thought on this story until I got to the this line: “(talking about the Mister Squishy logo), the crude line-drawn face had become one of the most popular,  recognizable,  and demonstrably successful brans icons in American advertising” (Wallace 5). And I was happy again because I saw a returning to the Wallace writing we are used to of very detailed description, such as what the men in the board are wearing, and criticism on another issue, in this case consumerism.

Wallace does bring into his narrative many of statistics and says things like the “expressions of men around a conference table who are less than 100& sure what is  going  to be expected from them” (Wallace 4) or a line that makes me laugh out loud, “Of the 67% of the twelve true Focus Group Members who were still concentrating closely on listening to Terry Schmidt, two now wore the expressions of men who were trying to decide wether to be slightly offended; both of these men were over 40” (Wallace 24). Although at first I thought back to “Everything and more” and  thought  we would be getting a bunch of math statistics I was happy with the way that these statistics were just part of the narrative instead of Wallace trying to teac me something I wasn’t particularly caring about. I see the statistics that he use as another way to describe and very miniscule about what he is detailing to the reader. I don’t find them a distraction the way I found numbers and formulas in “Everything and more” and if anything I find them to be  factious  like in “Infinite Jest” where Wallace gives us “facts” about AA groups.

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