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Death Is Not the End

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Back to Brief Interviews with Hideous Men or David Foster Wallace

Summary

"Death Is Not The End" follows a fifty six year old American Poet as he relaxes in his backyard. The poet is highly distinguished and has received such prestigious awards as the Lannan Foundation Fellowship and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant". As the poet reclines pool side, descriptions of the poet's accomplishments are interspersed with physical descriptions of the poet's physique. Such descriptions include his "unevenly recessed hairline", and moderate weight issues (3). The poet's physical and professional nature is supplemented with descriptions regarding the trees, shrubbery, and pool that surround the poet as he reclines peacefully in his backyard. The narrator informs the reader that the scene has near silence, with the only sounds being produced resulting from from the "pool's respiration and the poet's occasional cleared throat". The work closes with a description of the poet still "composed and enclosed", isolated from disruption in his home's backyard.

Characters

The Distinguished Poet

Themes

  • Escapism/Isolationism: The Poet's backyard functions as an outlet for escape from the success that pinpoints his place in the world.
  • Appearance Vs. Reality: While the American Poet's success precedes him, every action and description of the Poet is seemingly ordinary.

Voice

First Person Narrator