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Technologically Oriented Societal Norms

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This novel with its contemporary feel is highly relevant even to twenty-first-century America, where technological lives have sped up far more quickly than they were in the 1980s. It would be fascinating, for example, to know what DeLillo thinks about Facebook, or whether his satire predicted the dummying down of our youth and the boom that is convenience and more convenience. The lives portrayed in White Noise are so close to present-day technologically oriented societal norms and living that reading it has become a very engrossing affair, causing the reader and at times myself to question the reliance and importance we place on technology and these seemingly positive time-saving devices, without considering what the loses are.

Given that television served historically to advise its viewers of major political world events, such as the War, we are now overwhelmed by a surge of adverts inadvertently telling us which SUV to purchase. The effect as we see in White Noise is that it enters the person on such a level that they chant these mantras in their sleep ‘ Toyota, Toyota, Toyota’ (Delillo 141).

Everything from airborne toxic events striking small college towns to the novel’ s conclusion when Jack shoots himself in his effort to kill the seducer of his wife highlights how technology is omnipresent. After the toxic event (as a result of a technological failure), chaotic evacuation follows. People clamor into their cars hoping technology will save them from technology, again highlighting the hypocrisy and ambivalence of this witty satire. This can be seen most acutely in the behavior of the Gladney family Jack, unfortunately, becomes exposed to ‘ Nyodene D’ which is potentially deadly toxic.

Babette, Jack’ s wife, also develops her own ‘ death awareness’ quite like her husband, for which again she places her trust in the modern advancements of medicine and uses the experimental drug Dylar. Babette, failing to consider the unknowns of an ‘ experimental’ drug, places her faith in the unknown to ironically escape the unknown. Delillo then plays with the reader as he exposes Babette and Minks (the supplier of the experimental drug) in the end.

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