WhiteNoiseEssay

WhiteNoiseEssay - White Noise DeLillo's Warning for the Future In White Noise Don DeLillo creates a world where reality is replaced with

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White Noise: DeLillo’s Warning for the Future In White Noise, Don DeLillo creates a world where reality is replaced with simulations imitating the real. DeLillo clearly draws on French thinker Jean Baudrillard’s perspectives on simulacra, representations or images of originals: “It is no longer a question of imitation, nor duplication, nor even parody. It is a question of substituting the signs of the real for the real” itself (Baudrillard). The world portrayed in White Noise is brimming with these simulations, which often blur the line between reality and fiction for its main characters: Jack Gladney, Babette, and their eclectic group of children, loosely bound by birth, marriage, and a common residence. Each member of the Gladney family constructs his or her own realities, such as Jack’s Professor J.A.K. Gladney façade, a simulacrum for Hitler himself. As DeLillo suggests throughout White Noise , our identities are shaped by what Baudrillard calls “hyper-realities,” the false pursuits presented by supermarkets, televisions, or other technologies that create the false, postmodern reality that could easily be our future. DeLillo utilizes the ubiquitous “white noise” to express the daily intrusion technology has in our lives. Silences in the Gladney household are filled with television jingles and commercials, which Jack’s family gives significant meanings and associates with the truth. Spurts of media often interrupt Jack’s narration: “The voice at the end of the bed said: ‘Meanwhile here is a quick and attractive lemon garnish suitable for any seafood’” (178). One literary scholar of DeLillo’s works attempts to explain this phenomenon, “Man is overwhelmed by the sheer number of material things, brand names, information, and codes in an entropic simulacra…Simulation is achieved in the novel by its insistent focusing on simulacra conveyed through the media” (Heller). 1
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In another moment in which the media directs meaning, the Gladney family sees Babette on TV teaching her weekly posture class. Another removal from reality occurs: The face on the screen was Babette’s…What was she doing there, in black and white, framed in formal borders? Was she dead, missing, disembodied?. ..It was only as time drew on, normalized itself, returned to us a sense of our surroundings, the room, the
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This essay was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course ENG 283 taught by Professor Nelson during the Spring '08 term at St. Olaf.

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WhiteNoiseEssay - White Noise DeLillo's Warning for the Future In White Noise Don DeLillo creates a world where reality is replaced with

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