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Awareness of Death in Don DeLillo`s 'White noise' - Essay Example

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Name of Professor Awareness of Death in Don DeLillo’s White Noise Death is an omnipresent truth. But only human beings received the burden of consciousness, of awareness, and, consequently, fear of death. What differentiates us from other creatures on this planet is our knowledge of this unavoidable death…
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Awareness of Death in Don DeLillo’s White Noise Death is an omnipresent truth. But only human beings received the burden of consciousness, of awareness, and, consequently, fear of death. What differentiates us from other creatures on this planet is our knowledge of this unavoidable death. The tragic consequences of this awareness are vividly portrayed by Don DeLillo in his novel White Noise. The color ‘white’ is used here to symbolize the overpowering force of awareness of death. Jack and Babette, at the heart of their fears, brood over the most unpleasant (Bloom 2003, 209): “What if death is nothing but sound?” “Electrical noise.” “You hear it forever. Sound all around. How awful.” “Uniform, white.” All through this conversation, DeLillo takes on a dialogue method of leaving out the speaker; awareness and fears at this point are the same. However, in this method, DeLillo illustrates as well that the characters represent not only themselves. Here, death is practically similar to present-day life’s interruption of continuous electricity and noise, the sensation of the vibrant white noise, a potential solace or anesthetic designed to deaden the fear of death. Rather, white noise merely intensifies Gladney’s awareness and fear of death. DeLillo does not venerate or rejoice the domain of White Noise, in spite his apparent knowledge of the culture’s expressions and ways, but all at once he witnesses how the world we dwell in has changed our elementary needs and emotions, our awareness of death, love, and loyalty, into a force virtually indistinguishable though it stays omnipresent. Enduring from the fear of death, Jack and Babette have devised ways to deal with this fear, namely, understanding death by broadening the physical being as a body; escaping awareness of their looming death by widening the physical being into shielding communication mechanisms; and protecting the hallucination-creating awareness from knowledge of its protective mechanisms. An important subject matter in this story that relates with the awareness of death is spending. The story repeatedly allows the audience to see the shopping activities of the Gladney. When Babette and Jack goes shopping together, the latter muses about the vast quantity of the groceries and products they had purchased (Bloom 2003, 13): … the sense of well-being, the security and contentment these products brought to some snug home in our soul—it seemed we had achieved a fullness of being that is not known to people who need less, expect less. This statement gives a clue at the more profound basis for Jack’s emotional and psychological condition while shopping. He normally does not sense security, or even fulfillment and it is his neurotic awareness of impending death that stops him from attaining these; having attained these after heavy buying shows that spending serves as a kind of solace or respite for Jack. This link between spending and the awareness and fear of death becomes more obvious as the story progresses. Jack’s search for an identity he had disregarded implies that through spending he experiences again his individuality as it was without the fixation and dread of dying. Spending furnishes him an experience of achieving life-worth, as though using up a particular amount of money would grant him a longer life. At this point, once more, it becomes apparent: it is through spending that the characters in the story inhibit awareness and fear of death. In this world, it is a mournful fact that all creatures should die eventually. Dying is a frightening ever-present reality. Nobody is certain when it could occur or how to stop it. When it arrives, it removes one’s existence. The enigma enclosing death results in fear of the unfamiliar. It is virtually not possible to human beings to witness what really takes place outside their tombstone. Nobody has the command of the reality of death until that individual really dies. In White Noise, DeLillo accepts that at a certain point, everybody dreads death. This overwhelming dread can affect an individual’s well-being and behaviors with ease. The portrayal of how an individual can fear the reality of death is heavily situated within the character of Jack. In the exchange between Jack and Murray all though their lengthy leisure walk outside the university, the author presents his perceptions of death. Murray inquires, “Do you think death is premature?” (Bloom 2003, 183) Jack replies, “Every death is premature” (Bloom 2003, 183). DeLillo endeavors to show that all of us are aware of, and, consequently, fear death. Work Cited Bloom, Harold. Don DeLillo’s White Noise. Broomall, PA: Chelsea House Publishers, 2003. Read More
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