White Noise Critical Essays

White Noise Critical Essays-82
Saltzman THE FIGURE IN THE STATIC: WHITE NOISE Paul Maltby THE ROMANTIC METAPHYSICS OF DON De LILLO Topics for Discussion and Papers Selected Bibliography I ntroduction White Noise has often been dubbed Don De Lillo's "breakout book." This term is usually meant in one of two ways: either that the work has achieved greater commercial success than an author's previous works, or that it has raised the author's art to a higher level.In the case of White Noise, the second is arguable, but the first is definitely true, for the novel garnered the best reviews and strongest sales of De Lillo's career to that point.But Jack doesn't take up skydiving or learn to box.

Saltzman THE FIGURE IN THE STATIC: WHITE NOISE Paul Maltby THE ROMANTIC METAPHYSICS OF DON De LILLO Topics for Discussion and Papers Selected Bibliography I ntroduction White Noise has often been dubbed Don De Lillo's "breakout book." This term is usually meant in one of two ways: either that the work has achieved greater commercial success than an author's previous works, or that it has raised the author's art to a higher level.In the case of White Noise, the second is arguable, but the first is definitely true, for the novel garnered the best reviews and strongest sales of De Lillo's career to that point.But Jack doesn't take up skydiving or learn to box.

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No longer comforted by hunkering in Hitler's penumbra, and bereft of strong ties to religion, community, or family, Jack becomes desperately obsessed with his mortality.

The novel seems to veer into a midlife crisis tale.

And just as the family members gorge themselves with disposable information and fast food, so are they also inundated by consumer goods, not only when they visit the supermarket and the mall, but also when they are at home watching television, which they seem to do constantly.

Indeed, White Noise is preoccupied with consumerism and with the values inherent in a consumer society.

Jack Gladney, professor of Hitler Studies at the College-on-the- Hill in a town called Blacksmith, has four children: Mary Alice (age 19) and Steffie (9), from his first and second marriages to Dana Breed-love; Heinrich (14), from his marriage to Janet Savory (now known as Mother Devi); and Bee (12), from his marriage to Tweedy Browner. His wife Babette's three children are Denise (age 11), Eugene (8), and Wilder (about 2).

As Thomas Ferraro points out, since Wilder is not Jack's child, this "family" can have been together no more than two years; moreover, not one child is living with a full sibling (Ferraro 1991, 17).

Many readers have found White Noise's humor more palatable because it is leavened by a warmth and compassion less obvious in De Lillo's earlier work.

Much of this warm comedy is derived from De Lillo's slightly skewed depiction of the postmodern family, where the once-solid core of mom, dad, and kids has given way to a loose aggregate of siblings, step-siblings, and ex-spouses rotating in various impermanent groupings.

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WHITE NOISE Text and Criticism Don De Lillo was born in 1936 in the Bronx, New York, and educated at Fordham University.

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