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It’s Not Harvard Material But… Essay

1112 words - 5 pages

In Don Delilo’s, White Noise different themes are shown throughout the novel. Some themes that are shown often are the fear of death, loss of identity, technology as the enemy and American consumerism. The society represented in the novel views the people as objects and is emotionally detached from many things. The culture that’s represented in the novel adds to the loss of individualism, but also works hand in hand with consumerism.
Jack Gladney, the main character in the book teachers Hitler studies. He has a hidden fear of death that grows gradually throughout the book. He is so infatuated with death and his studies; he starts to lose his individuality. He spends so much time talking ...view middle of the document...

Kind of like retail therapy, this supports the loss of identity and consumerism working hand in hand.
Babette, Jack’s wife lets the fear of death control her everyday thoughts. The fear of death controls her so much it starts to make her question her identity and make her uncertain of whom she really is. When the book starts she is introduced as a very loving, caring mother. She is very open and tells him everything that is going on. But as the story starts to progress she changes gradually. She starts to become sneaky and keep things from her husband. She starts to have an affair with a doctor in exchange for an experimental drug. When she is confronted she completely denies it. She was so desperate for the drug because she thought it would end her constant fear of death. “I'm afraid to die,...I think about it all of the time... it haunts me Jack, I can't get it off my mind. I know I'm not supposed to experience such a fear so consciously and so steadily.” (DeLillo, 186-187) She hoped the drug would end thoughts and comments like this that she was willing to ruin her marriage. While she would have the affair, she would wear a mask. Her reasoning was to hide his identity, but in reality it was to hide hers. She wears specific things for certain occasions. Her constant costume change shows she is uncertain of her identity. She is trying to hide her true self so she will never have to figure out who she truly is.
Jack is so structured to think that every person has a set identity. He becomes uneasy when he sees his wife starting to change gradually. Even though he feels that Babette should remain as one person and not change, he fails to realize he doesn’t behave himself. He has a false identity as a professor in order to help his career and uses it to feel more intelligent and secure. He changes himself to please others; he and Babette, both have lost their identity and fail to realize it.
“To break off from the crowd is to risk death as an individual, to...

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