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White Noise - An Umbrella Term for Modernity-Induced Perception of Life and Death - Essay Example

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This paper "White Noise - An Umbrella Term for Modernity-Induced Perception of Life and Death" focuses on the term ‘white noise’ which appears as an incorporeal character which exists from the beginning to the end of the novel. Its acoustic existence refers to an array of epistemological connotations. …
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Download file to see previous pages Delillo is afraid of the prospect of death and meticulous about any possible threats to life, he gradually learns that a life filled with the fear of death is more stifled than death itself. Therefore, ‘white noise’ seems to equate both life and death in the novel. Delillo, indeed, attempts to refer to the dilemma of modern man; the dilemma is that on one hand, modern man hankers after individuality; on the other hand, this individuality is coerced by the dins and bustles of modern life. While the cacophony of modern life serves as the background of Jack’s life, it is perceived as a part of life also. Jack ultimately perceives it at the end of the novel. He feels that he himself is a part of the white Noise; of the “cacophony, as a stream of sounds, some human, some artificial” (Frow 45). Thus ‘white noise’ has been endowed with an array of meanings throughout the whole novel. Referring to Dolillo’s concept of white noise, Yurick comments,

White noise is a susurration, a fusion of signals and messages, a levelling of sounds into one all-sound--its individual components become indistinguishable. White noise is essentially anti-dramatic. No highs, no lows, no emphases, no diminuendos, all utterances made equal. People who have trouble sleeping--perhaps they want to shut out the screams of the world and their minds--put on earphones that emit a monotonous, soothing sound. (Yurick 273)

Indeed the term ‘white noise’ is analogous to human life as a whole or it is a referent to the universe itself. It includes both life and death. Ironically when Jack struggles to run away from death, he essentially evades life, as John Frow comments in this regard, “the story…shows how J.A.K. Gladney is the ultimate buffoon who lives his life in denial of both life and death.” (13) When he speaks of the events in his surroundings, the white seems to affect the tone of his narrative. The blurring effects of the white noise also tend to blur the pleasure of living a life.  ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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