Don Delillo’s White Noise explores one mans emotional struggles, and his love/hate relationship with technology in twentieth-century America. The novel takes place in Blacksmith, a small college town with a college known as the College-on-the-hill. Jack Gladney, the narrator and main character, is known to be “a big, aging, harmless, indistinct sort of guy”(83) He is an accomplished family man, a professor at the College-on-the-hill, a husband wanting to please his wife, someone who struggles with the fear of dying. From technology to modern society, Delillo created the character Jack to show the impact of the media on our families and our society.
White Noise gives us an inside look into the life of Jack Gladney, showing readers that there is a Jack in every family, and maybe a little bit in everyone. Jack is a professor at the College-on-the-hill in Blacksmith, he teaches Hitler studies-an area of education that he created, partly because of his disturbing obsession with the man himself. Adding to Jacks obsession “the chancellor at the school felt, that in order for his students to take him seriously he suggested, that Jack grow into Hitler-by changing parts of his identity, and changing his name from Jack Gladney, to J.A.K Gladney” (16-17). Of course, this was only when Jack is teaching, at home he is himself, a family man. Jack’s personal life is something, unfortunately, the majority of people can relate to in today‘s society. Jack was married three times before marrying Babette-who was married previously herself, has a daughter, Denise, from her pervious marriage, and Wilder is Jacks son. Unlike Jacks previous wives Tweedy Bonner- who is the mother of Jacks daughter Bee, and worked in intelligence, Dana Breedlove-who...
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...Jack found the hotel, and he found Mink, the man Babette was involved with, and the man who gave her this experimental drug for death disorder. Jack found a paranoid man, a man who will sit for hours in front of the TV with White Noise. Jack realized this person was out of his mind. (308-314)
Even though the Novel was filled with so many negatives, Delillo did add some positives that jack had with technology. Jack went to confirm that amount of money his account, instead of going into the bank, where he would have to bother with lines, kids running all over the place. Jack felt a sense of relief when the ATM confirmed his amount. He said, “The system was invisible, which makes it all the more impressive, all the more disquieting to deal with”. But we were in accord, at least for now. The networks, the circuits, the streams, the harmonies. (46)
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