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What is the theme of "Good People" by David Foster Wallace?

The theme of "Good People" by David Foster Wallace is the difficulty of taking responsibility for one's actions and of resolving moral dilemmas.

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 One theme in the short story "Good People" is the crisis of conscience. 

The story's omniscient narrator focuses on the thoughts of Lane Dean and his perception of his relationship with his girlfriend. As they sit on the top of a picnic table with their feet on the bench, Lane watches Sheri sigh with the weight of deciding whether to have an abortion: 

The whole thing felt balanced on a knife or wire; if he moved to put his arm up or touch her the whole thing could tip over. 

As his girlfriend sits quietly with her thoughts, Lane wrestles with his conscience. He feels guilty for being so "frozen" about this matter. He is trying not to be involved in the consequences that he perceives as influencing his girlfriend's life much more than his.

He pretended it had no name. He pretended that not saying aloud what he knew to be right and true was for her sake, was for the sake of her needs. 

Finally, after a lengthy examination of his conscience

...two great and terrible armies within...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 812 words.)

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