White Noise

The Fragmented American Family

The family is the strongest where objective reality is most likely to be misinterpreted. (82)

Delillo's portrayal of the American family in his acclaimed novel White Noise is atypical. The narratology changes from a contented American family who initially appear to be close with devoted relationships to each other but later changes to one that is far more fragmented. By looking at Delillo's protagonist, narrator and paternal figure Jack Gladney and observing his relationships to the various members of his family and his work colleagues, one can perhaps come to the assumption that Delillo is restructuring the notion of the American family dream.

The archetypal white-picket-fence, American Dream family is not represented in White Noise; instead Delillo thrives on the Gladneys dysfunctionality. This unusual family is far more disjointed and dysfunctional as the narrative progresses and two different questions arise, firstly, is Delillo challenging the view of the traditional American family or perhaps offering a new, postmodern one. Secondly, what is the function of the fragmented American family? Within this essay I intend to unpack the Gladney family relationships, focusing mainly on the protagonist, and therefore...

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