White Noise - Don DeLillo - Gladney, Babette Gladney and Murray Jay Siskind
White Noise by Don DeLillo is a book that addresses the intense influence of the media on modern lifestyles. The influential characters in the book include Jack Gladney, Babette Gladney and Murray Jay Siskind. Other characters include Jack's four children, Wilder, Denise, Steffie and Heinrich, Willie Mink and the rest of Jack's fellow lecturers. Jack, the principle character is the chairman of the Hitler studies at the College-on the Hills Campus. Babette, Jack's fourth wife is a housewife. At times, she also reads to Old Man Treadwell, a blind old man and teaches a course in adult education. Murray is also a lecturer at the campus. He is a former sports writer from the city. Willy Mink is a corrupt project manager. The following essay will analyse part one of the novel entitled, Waves and Radiation, chapters one to five (DeLillo 12).
Jack, the novel's narrator is an extreme believer in the personality of Adolf Hitler. He refers to himself as J.A.K. Gladneyand wears long, sweeping dramatic robes to school. Much to his then-wife's disapproval, he had planned to grow a beard but disregarded the idea. Instead, he began wearing heavily-framed glasses with dark lenses (DeLillo 25). Jack suffers from the acute fear of death and the fact that someone may discover what he describes as his insufficiency as a man. The latter fear results from the fact that he has no mastery of even the basics of the German language yet he expresses his immense intellectual expertise.
[...] In the first five chapters of the book, she portrays a loving wife. She takes good care of her children, reads to the blind man, Old Man Treadwell and offers herself to teach in adult education. Jack describes his wife as a strong woman and one with more noteworthy things to think about than her appearance. Babette sees the media as a way of bringing her family together. To prove this, she mandates the whole family to gather in the living room to watch television. [...]
[...] This is a sign of some influence of media in his life. The rock star's personality influences him so much that he once considers opening an Elvis Presley department in the college. Murry is, however, negatively influenced by commercial advertising. Note that this does not imply that he does not recognise it. Murray seems adequately aware of its negative influential power thus he tries to direct his life against it. This is especially evident in the when he does his shopping. [...]
[...] This has influenced his life so much to the point that he has created an entire department in the college for this obsession. The Hitler legacy also helps Jack relieve his fear of death. This is due to the fact that the holocaust represents death in large scale, which makes Jack's death seem comparatively manageable (DeLillo 29). Another effect of the media on Jack expresses on his false personality. Jack's life overwhelms with fears resulting in him wanting to copy what he observes in books, advertisements and the television. [...]
[...] Jack observes that the barn in itself is not significant in any way. Rather, it is the undeserving publicity given to the structure that attracts this multitude to it. This fact proves that the actions in their lives are heavily influenced by media reports (DeLillo 36). The tourists fail to recognize the actual world and are not able to see beyond the media's limitations. This leads them to waste time in senseless activity that adds little value to their lives. Works cited DeLillo, Don. White Noise. New York: Penguin Print. [...]
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