American Consumerism: Don Delilo’s White Noise

1908 Words8 Pages
In Don Delilo’s, White Noise different themes are displayed throughout the novel. Some themes are the fear of death, loss of identity, technology as the enemy, and American consumerism. The society represented in the novel views people as objects and emotionally detached from many things. Death is always in the air and trapped in peoples mind. The culture that’s represented in the novel adds to the loss of individualism, but also adds to the figurative death of the characters introduced in the novel.
What is white noise? The definition is a noise containing many frequencies. White noise is connected with technology, which is one of the themes in the novel as well. It consist of the background noises that follows throughout the narrative. Although it’s not the same humming every time it is still a constant noise in the novel. The main characters speculate that maybe death is just an annoying, endless stream of white noise. Just as death is an everyday conversation, white noise just becomes as frequent. Being associated with death, but also with life.
Jack Gladney, the main character in the book teachers Hitler studies. His hidden fear of death grows gradually throughout the book. The fascination with death and his studies causes the start his lost individuality. He spends so much time talking and educating people about Hitler, but he still feels the need to hide behind a black robe and thick glasses to be taken more seriously. When he is out of his element he is insecure and isn’t sure who he is as a person without his studies.
“Only Hitler is large enough and terrible enough to absorb and neutralize Jack Gladney's obsessive fear of dying.”(Phillips 1) Jack realizes that the wide-scale genocide created and ran by Hitler makes ...

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...and Babette have to hide behind costumes just to be able to live a life that is surrounded by death. Society lives on technology now, the costumes that people live in today are behind computer screens and through social media profiling. Losing individuality and identity is the day death becomes reality.

Work Cited
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DeLilo, Don. White Noise. New York: Penguin.1985. Print.
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Phillips, Jayne A. "Crowding Out Death." New York Times 13 Jan. 1985: n. pag. Web. Web. 10 May 2014.
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