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Summary of the Article “Consider the Lobster”


In the article “Consider the Lobster” published in Gourmet magazine, David Foster Wallace writes about his experience of attending the Main Lobster Festival. Wallace provides a history of this event, describes the audience, and different aspects of the festival. The author raises the moral question of boiling live lobsters for gastronomic pleasure and discusses different positions on this matter, leaving readers to decide for themselves.

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In the first half of the article, Wallace provides various facts describing the event. The festival is held every July in the western side of Penobscot Bay, where everyone can come to enjoy many kinds of lobster dishes made. The festival features cooking competitions and other activities for the participants. For lobster lovers, there are also lots of merchandise, including lobster bobblehead dolls, t-shirts, clamp-on lobster hats, and other souvenirs to remember the trip. Talking about lobster history, Wallace says that they used to be low-class food. When people realized how tasty the lobsters were, the price jumped up, and they become as expensive as caviar. The author also states that eating lobsters is unhealthy, but some people ignore it, convincing themselves that this food is low in calories and cholesterol.

The second part of the article is dedicated to a sensitive issue that usually people tend to avoid: Human morality and the treatment of animals. His concern is that these creatures are boiled alive in the most painful way to satisfy the taste of customers. Whether lobsters can feel pain or not is hard to determine, and it remains debatable. Wallace mentions the opinion that lobsters cannot feel suffering because they do not have a cerebral cortex but also outlines that their tactile sensation is well-developed. The author also emphasizes that a lot of people cannot handle watching the lobsters when they are put into boiling water because it looks as if the animals are suffering..


Whether it is justified or not to kill an animal for culinary purposes remains a big question to humanity. There are different perspectives and approaches to this issue, and it is up to every individual to decide how to go about it. In this article, Wallace cannot give readers a single answer, but appeals to each person’s thoughts and feelings, promoting more awareness and stimulating moral reasoning in the audience.


Wallace, D.F. (2004). Consider the lobster. Gourmet magazine, 1(1001), 2. Web.

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