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White Noise

            "Who will die first (Delillo 15)?" Driven by the fear of death, Don Delillo's White Noise strategically attempts to uncover the underlining notion of death relating to all aspects of popular culture. Based on television and radio commercials, print ads and the internet, there seems to be an earnestly increasing campaign to hide death beneath the surfaces of eye-catching ads and commercials to purposely divert people's attention from death. According to The Theory Toolbox, Nealon and Giroux state that "cultures influence subjects as much as subjects influence culture (Nealon, Giroux 53)," but if this is true, then why is there such a big emphasis being placed on concealing death? Why are so many people afraid of the idea of dying? In one way or another, does religion, or the lack there of prevent people from finding internal peace with death and the skeptical afterlife? Although these questions have been raised in a variety of scholarly debates, Don Delillo has managed to create a novel where the plot, theme, and conflict all revolve around the central fear of death. In order to understand the relationship between culture and death as it is symbolically portrayed in White Noise, one must thoroughly examine the character roles of Jack and Babette Gladney and their representation of real life fears and concerns.
             " Even if culture somehow controlled subjects in some simple cause-and-effect way, contemporary culture itself is so diverse and diffuse that those methods of "control" would necessarily produce a very strange being indeed (Nealon, Giroux 53)." Meet Jack Gladney, the founder and professor of Hitler Studies at College-on-the-Hill. If "control" would produce a very strange being indeed, Jack Gladney would be god. Jack is driven by his fear of death. One of the many ways Jack displays his conscious fear of death is through the creation of the department of Hitler Studies. Based on the events that transpired during the Holocaust and the reputation of Hitler, one would question the goals of the department of Hitler studies.

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