Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Dan Doll

Second Advisor

John Hazlett

Third Advisor

Leslie White


Often aligned with post-postmodernism, David Foster Wallace’s later work retreats from the ironic detachment and cynicism of postmodernism in favor of a more sincere approach to writing. This is especially evident in his posthumous novel, The Pale King, a work dealing with what it means to be human in the Information Age. After locating the novel’s setting within a recent history of American masculinity and work, this paper examines several of the novel’s male characters as they struggle to be fully realized boys and men, concluding that The Pale King is Wallace’s final statement that enduring the ennui of modern life is admirable, even heroic.


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