In the existentialist view--the view that Kierkegaard, Sartre and Camus (and Wittgenstein also can be said to) share--, an individual is not automatically a self, but has to become one. A human being merely embodies the possibility of becoming a self. According to existentialism, there is no 'true core' that an individual always already 'is' or 'has,' and which underlies selfhood. Becoming a self is the task of human life. A human being has to integrate his individual imitations and possibilities into a unified existence; this is the process of developing a self. If an individual does not assume himself in this way, he does not acquire a self; he is just an immediate natural being, a thing among the things. Such a human being does not 'exist'; he just 'is'. Throughout this study, we will recognize this view of the self in Wallace's writing.
i like this, but on the other hand, i don't know if i agree with the implication that one is either a "self" or not. i feel like a better characterisation would be that everyone is in the process of becoming a self, and in fact the notion of "self" cannot be separated from this very process