White Noise

White as Death

White as Death

by, Aaron Chan

December 10, 2004

White as Death

Don DeLillo's novel White Noise confronts the primal fear of death much in the way his own characters do-- by nullifying or minimizing this otherwise terrifying human phenomenon. What is referred to as "white noise" in the novel is the barrage of modern life that blocks out most of what it takes to be human. The idea that a pill can remove such an instinctual emotion as the fear of death startles any reader. To remove this fear is to remove much of our own evolution. By not confronting the psychological necessity of fear of death, the characters are avoiding a large part of their own humanity. The author farther emphasizes such a loss of humanity by avoiding narration of first-hand death experiences. By trivializing the information surrounding death, DeLillo is able to make it distanced and less daunting. Here, dath is defanged even to the point of commercialization. DeLillo manages to commodify something as instinctual as the fear of death in order to criticize the direction in which the modern world is moving away from basic human instinct.

The novel discusses death in terms of characters and plot by employing a variety of methods working on different...

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