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White Noise's Place in Contemporary Literature

             Garfinkel informed us that in our first term senior English class we would be reading literature so contemporary and new that we would have to buy the books ourselves. Stuyvesant High School just could not afford to provide their over-achieving students (excluding me) with up-to-date novels. At first, this seemed like a rotten compromise. I certainly did not want to pay to read for English class, even if it was for modern books, but in the end I gave into Mr. Garfinkel's demands and bought all the required readings. I even read all of them because well if I paid for them, I thought I might as well actually read them. And it all turned out great because all of the books turned out to be very relatable and contemporary. I might even say I enjoyed reading them; money well spent. Indeed, Mr. Garfinkel kept his word about how this class would operate, that is until our final book White Noise. When we received Don DeLillo's White Noise, if pages falling out of the book and paper turning yellow from the constant abuse by students over the years did not hint to you that this book was old, then the fact that it was published 1985 certainly seemed to prove that our "contemporary studies" have gone off track. .
             The novel's setting in then-contemporary 1985 definitely is not the same as 2012. Many of the references in White Noise is so outdated, it just falls short on making an impression on the younger generations of our time. Unlike the previous readings such as Strawberry Fields and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, this book fails to engage the reader because it lacks the action and language that we are so use to witnessing. However, the concerns of the characters and the themes within White Noise are unquestionably contemporary. The fear of death and the subject of disasters on a grand scale are some of the things we can still relate to and understand, even today. Therefore, White Noise is a mix of contemporary and non-contemporary elements and can't be classified as either-or, but rather something in-between.

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