White Noise

1154 Words5 Pages
Death is probably the most feared word in the English language. Its undesired uncertainty threatens society's desire to believe that life never ends. Don DeLillo's novel White Noise tells the bizarre story of how Jack Gladney and his family illustrate the postmodern ideas of religion, death, and popular culture. The theme of death's influence over the character mentality, consumer lifestyle, and media manipulation is used often throughout DeLillo's story. Perhaps, the character most responsive to death is Jack Gladney. In fact, he is so consumed by his fear of death that his ordinary thought processes are often interrupted by the question: "Who will die first" (DeLillo 15)? In Jack's mind: "This question comes up from time to time,…show more content…
"No film footage, no live report. Does this kind of thing happen so often that nobody cares anymore? Don't those people know what we've been through…? Is it possible nobody gives substantial coverage to such a thing? Half a minute, twenty seconds…? Are they so bored by spills and contaminations and wastes? Do they think this is just television…? Don't they know it's real" (DeLillo 161-162)? The absence of media attention stops the immediate terror from the citizens, making the whole event seem less important, and "because the evacuees are attuned to the forms, genres, and in fact the larger aesthetics of television, they experience a lack, a sense of emptiness" (Duvall 130). According to Duvall: The heart of the TV man's anger is that for those who experience disaster, the presence of the media makes the experience "real;" that is, as part of our cultural repertoire, people know, like the TV man, that the media is supposed to be interested in marketing disaster. Therefore, the airborne toxic even cannot be a real disaster if the media shows no interest (133). Irlbeck 5 Consequently, the rumors of death if you are exposed to the black clould could not be accepted as truth without media saying that the event was a disaster; meaning "that somehow a media apotheosis assures immortality…(Conroy 101). DeLillo also displays the
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