White Noise Death Analysis

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Regardless how unique and unparalleled individuals throughout society may seem, there is one inevitable commonality that all of humanity must encounter: death. Don DeLillo presents the inevitability of death through the Gladney family in his post-modern novel White Noise. Through the journey and characterization of protagonist Jack Gladney, readers are capable of recognizing how uncomfortable the subject of death truly is, as well as how individuals repress their fear of dying. However, DeLillo’s also focuses intensely on other aspects of American society, such as consumerism and humanity’s impact on nature, through his unique implementation of literary elements. Analyzing DeLillo’s White Noise through the Marxist, psychoanalytic, environmentalist,…show more content…
According to _______, a false consciousness is defined as people’s acceptance of an unfair social system without protesting or questioning. The Gladneys are a part of an unfair system because they are being unconsciously influenced by the bourgeoisie’s money and production. Proletariat families invest in unnecessary items that they are convinced they need through marketing and advertisement, due to bourgeoisie’s power, which causes the proletariats to use the money they receive from the bourgeoisie to cycle back to the bourgeoisie. The working class would “remain in bondage” (Kolakowski 248) until they realize they must defend their own social and political interests. Karl Marx, the father of communism, encourages a revolution, which involves the proletariat becoming aware of their disadvantages and the unfairness of their social systems. He claims that the proletariats must strive not for “the improvement of existing society, but the foundation of a new one” (Kalokwaski 248). [Could I argue for this as a separate paragraph???] However, critics see that Jack Gladney remains in his false consciousness when he says, “These things happen to poor people” and mentions how “society is set up in such a way that it’s the poor and the uneducated who suffer” from “man-made” disasters. (DeLillo 114). Gladney does not recognize that he is within the “working…show more content…
Through questioning the representation of nature, critics see how DeLillo utilizes the environment as an active role that is essential in understanding the plot of the novel, such as the toxic cloud event. The chemical cloud is significant because humankind essentially creates the toxic cloud since the hazardous cloud originates from an oil spill due to the factories, cars, and other conditioned societal “necessities” that require oil to maintain the production of the product. Jack claims that the “man-made event” (DeLillo 128) exposes Blacksmith to Nyodene D, which causes “[c]onvulsions, comas, [and] miscarriages” (DeLillo 121, suggesting that society’s effect on nature ultimately comes back to effect humankind. According to Ehrenfield, DeLillo reveals the “proud tradition of humanism” that involves “loving ourselves best of all” and only thinking of private interest instead of the sustainability of resources for future generations (Love 239). Furthermore, the toxic event reveals Jack’s fear of death when he finds that he has a strong possibility of dying within the next thirty years. Although DeLillo’s novel does not focus entirely on eco-centric arguments, “[nature] intrudes in White Noise [through] its apparent absence” (Love
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