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Maturing Through the Eyes of David Foster Wallace - Forever Overhead

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Submitted By Darbyfarrish
Words 799
Pages 4
Darby Farrish
English 112
11, Sept. 2014 Maturing Through the Eyes of David Foster Wallace

He is finally in line for the high dive. Should he look bored? Cross his arms? Look at the other girls and boys or just in a general direction? Too late, there is no time to think. It is time to climb. In David Foster Wallace’s memoir “Forever Overhead”, Wallace depicted how maturing can be scary, but worth the strife through his great description of his 13th birthday. The setting I s describes in such detail and portrays the theme in many different ways. Three places that the theme is portrayed is when he completely bypasses his parents on his walk to the diving board, when he sees the “girl-women, women”, and the preparation and the, assumption of, act of jumping off of the diving board after contemplation. As he recalls himself at a swimming pool for his 13th birthday, he sees the high board. He knows that he and his family will be leaving soon, so he makes the quick decision to go get in line and do it. As he gets out going to get in the line, he walks right by them without saying a word. “Get out now and go past your parents, who are sunning and reading, not looking up. Forget your towel.” His parents, not even paying attention to their birthday boy, show more trust in him by letting him do whatever he pleases, not looking over his shoulder every ten minutes. Also, once most people hit the age of 13, an official teenager, most kids tend to think their parents are annoying, and that they may not need them as much as they used to. So when Wallace made the decision to jump off the high board, he didn’t think he needed his parents’ permission, or needed to tell them where he was going. He was an adult now, no longer a kid. As Wallace walked over to the line he notices the “girl-women, women”. He states, “And girl-women, women, curved like instruments or fruit, skin burnished brown-bright, suit tops held by delicate knots of fragile colored string against the pull of mysterious weights, suit bottoms riding low over the gentle hips totally unlike your own, immoderate wells and swivels that melt in light into a surrounding space that cups and accommodates the soft curves as things precious. You almost understand”. He is beginning to notice women in ways that he didn’t before. He begins to notice that their hips aren’t shaped the way his are, that their bodies flow in different ways then boys. However, he is not quite mentally ready for the world of women. Even though he may not be all the way ready, Wallace begins to think in different ways about women, and it slightly confuses him. He is finally to the line. Should he look bored? Cross his arms? Should he look at the other kids? Or just look around in general? Too late, there is no time to think. It is time to climb. It is time to climb up behind the woman as old as his mother with the too tight bathing suit. The woman jumps, and now he is on the board. However he notices something about the board. “The end of the board has two dirty spots. They are from all the people who’ve gone before you”. Someone needs to clean it. Wallace rethinks his decision to jump, even though he thinks he was ready. There are people behind him, just like there are people to go through what he is going through at that very moment, maturing. Even though he thought he was ready to jump, just like he thought he was ready to mature and grow up, maybe he wasn’t. There are the two dirty spots of people before him, silently recalling the new way that he thinks about girls, about how previous people thought the same exact thing at his age. Even though he is not ready, here it is. “Hello”, the last line of his memoir. The reader can assume he jumps, and accepts the fact that things are changing. Hello, to a new world. Hello, to a new life. Hello, to being thirteen. Throughout David Foster Wallace’s account of his 13th birthday, he beautifully describes the changes he goes through while maturing, hidden behind a creative image of a swimming pool birthday party. Jumping off the high dive was the beginning of a new stage in his life. A new stage where he had accepted the fact that things were changing, that he was changing, and he was ready to take it head on. Maturing may be scary, but somehow it is all worth it in the end.…...

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