White Noise

Telisha Lindore

Final Paper

ENGL 2002

Professor Watters

            “WHITE NOISE” by, DON DELILLO

“White Noise” by, Don DeLillo post-modern novel is a representation of a Social approach to fear of dying in its literature. Throughout the novel death’s influence over the characters mentality, media manipulation and consumer lifestyle. The novel becomes a meditation on modern society’s fear of death and its obsession with chemical cures in a postmodernism timeline. Death is part of the natural process of life. It has been delayed by medical science, ignored by society and disregarded by the young. Nevertheless, it still exists lurking in the back of our minds. Each day were alive we all move closer to the moment of our death. And if we allow this thought to preoccupy out existences then it will prevent us from living our life to the fullest due to an intruding dreadful fear of death and dying.

“White Noise” is a representation of how were always aware of death but do not wish to acknowledge it due to fear. Death can be seen as the white noise which is always present in our life but not always heard. The characters in this novel have to face their fear that death is inevitable. Death is present throughout the novel, and since you can’t escape it the characters hide behind the reality instead of facing it. Characters in the novel approach death differently. The character Jack Gladney is the founder and professor of Hilter studies at the College-on-the-Hill. So therefore, there is not a more relevant twentieth century icon that represents death especially since Jack surrounds himself with his work.

The character more susceptible to death is Jack Gladney. His obsession with his fear of death which is further influenced by the event of the airborne toxic. He’s so consumed with his fear of death that his thought process is often interrupted with the question “Who will die first?” (DeLillo 15). Jack find the aura of death to be apparent and real, so he relies on his consumer lifestyle as a place to escape. Jack’s wife Babette Gladney also have the same mentality of her husband which involves her keeping her fear of death to herself. Babette begins taking the drug called Dylar, which she obtains from Willie Mink whom conducts experimental trials for the drug by exchanging the drug for sexual intercourse. Babette secretly participates in the trial because she thinks it will counteract her fear of death.

When Jack becomes exposed to the airborne toxic, he tries to deal with his exposure through science. He said, “Dylar is almost as ingenious as the microorganism that ate the billowing cloud. Who would have believed in this existence of a little white pill that works as a pressure pump in the human body to provide medication safely and effectively, and self-destructs as well? I am struck by the beauty of this” (DeLillo, 219). Even though Babette said the drug didn’t work for her and that she still dread the possibility of death, Jack becomes fascinated at the idea that a little white pill could contain the end to his fear. Jack schemes to get the pill at no matter the cost, since he believes that it’s a solution to his problem and that science and technology can provide it, but he can’t find the pill. Jack’s lesser appeasing qualities prompts him to devise an improbable plot. Leaving us to see that Jack has appealed to his professional life of Hitler studies to overcome his fear of death. “Some people are larger than life, Hitler is larger than death” (De Lillo, 330). Jack ultimately submits to a kind of a Hitlerian discourse which is will to power, so he decides that he will overcome death by causing the death of another.

idea behind this is that a tyranny so large, a horror so obscure, could overpower something as small as any individual’s fear of death. However, after Jack actually does attempt to enact his will to power, and shoots Mr. Gray- Dylar Owner-, he finds:

Jack’s bizarre confrontation with Willie Mink does not help to solve his problem, so Jack must still face death with no mental relief.

Then there’s the question of how much does television shape our perception of the world around us? “White Noise” offers one view concerning the impact that television has on our lives and how it shapes our perception of the world. In this novel television may seem portrayed as a character to the audience considering the importance it has on the individual’s lives. “White Noise” embraces the message that the amount of television coverage determines the importance of an event.The media is always seen as a constant input that can’t be suppressed.