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White Noise, Book Review Example

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Book Review

In the novel, White Noise, Don uses Jack and Babette, who are married couples too worried about dying to live well to communicate the fear of death, which many think should be an option. Don argues that, even though people think that living is an option, it may not be an option after all. This is especially in the 20th century where mediation of existence is through cultural ephemera (DeLillo 12). The cultural ephemera include things like pharmaceuticals, corporations, and media all of which play an integral role in the perception of life and death. A chemical accident that forces Jack’s family to flee home lays the basis of the aspect of death in the novel. This is because when Jack stops to fix a car breakdown he receives a warning from a volunteer that his exposure to the event will certainly cause him premature death. This assertion remains in Jack’s memory who becomes obsessed with the reiterations of the volunteer. Meanwhile, Jack later discovers that Babette also suffers from fear of death that has made her rely on pills that enable her forget the thoughts of dying. Jack’s subsequent discovery that his wife had an affair with the doctor supplying the phobia depressing drugs so that she could maintain her supply of drugs decides to take revenge on him. In as much as the initial outrage is the issue of sex manipulation of his wife, Jack also plans to steal the drugs from him so that he can contain his fear of death too (DeLillo 145). In Don’s novel, characters interact with popular culture at almost all levels of existence to a degree that death seems to be the opposing force of the popular culture. The implications of white noise that are prevalent in the novel include the impact of consumerism, technology, mass media, and the complex industrial and economic systems.

According to Leopold’s, the ethical sequence is a significant aspect of survival where in as much as man needs to survive he needs to limit his freedom action as he struggles to survive. Otherwise, the resources will become extinct and there is no more life. This then communicates the message of cooperating with others, and this is where just as man depends on earth for survival the earth also depends on man for protection. This dependence ensures that the earth continues to supply the resources to people and ensure survival. In this case, the tradition of viewing man as an individual detached from the environment is inappropriate. This standpoint shows that land has no ethical standing, and it is absurd that such views have dire consequences on man. It is noteworthy that man’s way of living life has contributed to the catastrophic effects thus endangering the beauty of nature. Leopold’s work tries to help man to live in a new outlook. The view is through the lenses of a forever-existing mountain that, for a long period now, it has witnessed the wonders and ruins that form the current environment.

The issue of mass media and technology in the novel reveals some things about Jack, who apart from having the fear of dying he also uses shopping as a way of getting relief from his negative feelings. The technology and media Jack depend on not only makes the death seem unreal but also enables him find relief from the fear of death, which are the two main themes of the novel (DeLillo 321). However, Leopold’s information on the ethical sequence as a complexity of cooperative mechanisms only proves that, in as much as, there is technology no man should deviate from the realities of life that man and environment depend on each other. Therefore, technology is just one of the inventions of man that should not destruct man from respecting the order of nature, but enhance his survival to prevent him from premature death. This is because the environment is instrumental in the determination of man’s survival and not the technology; therefore, environment needs protection.

Just like Jack, Babette also believes that drugs will somehow prevent their timely death, and this makes them dependent on drugs to a point that Babette has sex with Willie to sustain her supply of drugs. Babette behaves in a desperate to run away from the reality of death. Jack also acts desperately to get the supplies of drugs from Willie so that just like his wife he keeps his death phobia at bay (DeLillo 225). It is evident that the two are not aware of the fact that the drugs that they so depend on that they are willing to do certain things to enable their possession of drugs, is a product of environment. The solution for them is straightforward where; in the first place, there should not have been that chemical plant because the fact that it was present was ethically unacceptable. This is because of the community concept that an individual is a member of a community, which consists of interdependent parts. Therefore, the man who put up the chemical plant could have been considerate of others and not only the profits. This is because even though, the environment provides the resources extravagant use of resources depletes the sources and causes harm to the environment. Environment protection will lead to the desired corporation and increased survival, and it shows how ecological sequence and not drugs and media can enable man avoid harming the environment.

Another aspect is the consumerism factor that is characteristic of Jacks family, and this is especially in the many sense that take place in the supermarket. When Jack visits the supermarket, he gets relieved from his fear and the fact that the shops just to carry home more than what he needs gives him the sense of ownership (DeLillo 41). According to Leopold, ownership is one of the inventions of man that have enabled man exploit the environment for his benefit as if he has no ecological conscience. The fact that jack shops because he believes he gains “existential credit” (DeLillo 52) when he spends money on goods shows the destructive nature of man. Even though cooperative mechanisms increase with population density, it is certain that man is also extravagant in how he uses the resources, and this depletes the reserves and causes excessive wastage.

For that matter, man should only focus to have things that he needs and avoid extravagance, for this will help in conserving the environment for a sustainable future. The white noise is thus the environment pollutants that man should not accept their influence, but rather focus on the mutual aspects that make man’s life better than before. The earth is the determinant of death and man should prioritize its significance to the white noise that is evident in the novel, which seems to have obscured the characters in the novel from the reality.

Work Cited

DeLillo, Don. White noise. City of Westminster, London, England, Penguin Group US, 1999. Print.

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