Themes Page

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The theme and motif pages allow the reader to step outside the confines of the individual text and form connections between multiple texts. Starting from Wallace's first novel, The Broom of the System, he expresses the human need and desire to be connected to others outside the self, as well as the difficulty of forming these connections (e.g. the Thermos woman). Nonetheless, over and over again, Wallace's stories convey the importance of connecting with others in spite of its difficulty and emotional toll. In Everything and More, Wallace underscores once again the importance of connections—this time with respect to math. He deems that “the difference between a brilliant, revolutionary mathematical theory and a wacko one lies...in what-all can be done with it, in whether or not it yields significant results” (41). He then borrows a G.H. Hardy quote to illustrate what constitutes a significant result: “a mathematical idea is 'significant' if it can be connected, in a natural and illuminating way, with a large complex of other mathematical ideas” (42).

We have created these theme pages in the spirit of Wallace’s writing; these pages represent our combined efforts to make connections that resonate beyond a single text, to bridge together ideas that recur throughout Wallace’s oeuvre, with the hope that together, these ideas will carry more significance to the reading experience than they would alone.

Themes

Motifs