Videotape: Don DeLillo’s Illustration of Postmodernism
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Don DeLillo’s ‘Videotape’ is a short story of man who is absolutely captivated by some footage on the news that can be described as both, raw and shocking. The footage is being repeatedly played over and over. It depicts a young girl with a camcorder travelling in the backseat of her family’s car who happens to be filming a man driving a Dodge behind them. She continues aiming the camera at the man and filming until, suddenly, he is shot and murdered. The man watching the tape at home is clearly mesmerized and fascinated with the footage to the extent that he was trying to get his wife to watch it with him. This story portrays society’s utter fascination of shocking and disturbing content relating to death and other horrible events unless they themselves are involved. This, along with other characteristics, clearly suggests that “Videotape” is a piece of postmodern literature. This report will analyze and describe why “Videotape” belongs to postmodern literature through the in-depth analysis of the selected passage and a brief breakdown of the story as a whole.
Postmodernism is a vague term that can describe a variety of disciplines that include, architecture, art, music, film, fashion, literature…etc. (Klages). In the case of “Videotape”, postmodern literature would be the main focus or area of study. This type of literature emerged in the era that succeeded World War II and relies heavily on the use of techniques such as, fragmentation, the creation of paradoxes, and questionable protagonists. Furthermore, postmodern literature also exudes ambiguity and critical thinking where the focus is mainly on the reader and his/her experience of the work rather than the content and form. Building upon that, the selected passag...
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...he situation in the story is not more important than his subjective voice where he tries to undermine the original story with responses that are generally negative and cynical. This is called anti-story (Denning). Last but not least, this passage clearly exemplifies all of the major characteristics of postmodernism, which is the type of literature DeLillo had chosen to illustrate.
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