David Foster Wallace

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In “Everything Is Green” by David Foster Wallace, find an example of how water and sunlight are used in the story to support the symbol of greenness as the vibrant, life-affirming choice Mitch makes to embrace his love for Mayfly.

In David Foster Wallace’s “Everything Is Green,” rain and sunlight are used in reference to the window and what is visible through it. Although Mitch disagrees with Mayfly’s assessment that “everything is green,” through the clean window, he can see some green things. The light and green stand for his positive choice.

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In the short story “Everything Is Green” by David Foster Wallace, water and rain are used along with light, especially sunlight, to indicate Mitch’s changing frame of mind. The story takes place inside a home, and at various points both characters, Mitch and Mayfly, look out through the window. The first reference to the window and rain refers to Mayfly as “looking sly” as the light falls on her while she looks “in light through a wet window.”

As the story progresses, while the couple disagrees, they notice that the rain has cleaned the windows. Their perceptions about the effects of the rain are rather different. Mayfly sounds surprised and even wounded that Mitch is criticizing her and implying he mistrusts her. She is portrayed as an optimistic person, one who states, “Everything is green.” As she encourages him to question his attitude, she emphasizes this total greenness: “How green it all is Mitch … everything outside is green like it is.”

When Mitch looks, he can see that the window has been cleaned by “the hard rain last night, and it is a morning with sun.” He perceives that some things are green; together with the reference to morning, this conveys the beginning of optimism within him. Mitch sees “a mess of green” in such things as the trees and grass. The fact that for him “everything is not green” indicates he is cautious and unconvinced about their future. Nevertheless, he comes to a positive conclusion, that Mayfly “is my morning.”

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