White Noise: A Real Dystopia?
Don DeLillo’s post-modern novel White Noise examines the relativity of meaning in a consumer and media-controlled society. A classic dystopia comments on society’s reliance on the media, and in White Noise, it creates character identity instability and hyperreality. However, White Noise does not completely portray the conventional dystopia; the lack of a dystopian hero fighting to expose the malfunctioning society, in addition to the absence of a controlling power illustrate the hopelessness of a modern culture revolving around the media.
White Noise fits the dystopian model in one aspect with Jack’s construction of his identity by the surrounding culture; this persona emphasizes his desire to find identifying legacy that will prevent him from dying. Jack’s malleable identity is strongly influenced by his surrounding society and his peers. When Jack is called “indistinct” (83) by a colleague, he creates an academic facade that will immortalize his image. As a Hitler innovator, “Jack wanted to be taken seriously “(16). He realizes that he has to create his own persona; he adds an extra initial to his name and always wears “thick black heavy frames and dark lenses” (17). The now J. A. K. Gladney wears his new identity “like a...
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