Television Language Of White Noise Essay Research — страница 3

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physically present to remind them how to behave, how to cope with their present situation. There is no television signal beaming across the heavens in “magic waves” simulating their sorrows to countless homes worldwide. Only the “survivors,” alone with their own miseries, are conscious of their subdued sufferings. The man walking around the second shelter with a television on his shoulder complaining about the lack of media coverage becomes the center of attention during the crisis’s end. He brings with him the full force of the television and consequently its disillusionment to the survivors. Since that television has no focus on the disaster unfolding, the disaster itself is negated and the experiences of the people in the disaster are therefore meaningless. This is

also evident in the other near disaster of the novel, the near collision of two airplanes. When the two plains nearly collide there are no television crews to record it and therefore the event is trivialized. Bee laments to her father about this: “Where’s the media? … they went through all that for nothing? (92). The experiences of the people on the plane become meaningless without its interpretation on the 6:00 news. Without that blurb on the news, the experiences of the “crash survivors,” during their nightmarish flight, are not affirmed. Therefore, their emotions, their fears, their panics, are all worthless to them. The “survivors,” engulfed in their melancholy, all huddle around the man relating their story to Gladney. They feel comfortable letting the

anonymous man tell their story just as they would be made comfortable by a news anchor detailing their struggle. With the obvious lack of the anchor they settle for the minor comfort of their story being told not to the world but to just one man. The bloodiest scene in White Noise, Gladney’s shooting of his wife’s lover, is also coded in terms of the television Simulacrum. The entire scene is painted with the unreal atmosphere of television, as is related by many murderers when describing their crimes. The words used by DeLillo in this scene are ripe with the hyper-detail of television. Detail is superb when an object is focused on and grows fuzzy the more the camera zooms out. Describing Gladney’s murderous approach towards Mink’s prone body DeLillo writes: I took

another step … As the TV picture jumped, wobbled, caught itself in snarls, Mink appeared to grow more vivid. The precise nature of events. Things in their actual state … [Mink was] sharply outlined against the busy air. White Noise everywhere (310). The picture in Gladney’s mind, the picture of television, gets jumbled by the overload of sensory material—just like how a face in a pile of two thousand five hundred bodies would be blurred against its background. However, when focusing his lens on Mink, his vision clears in vivid detail, and Mink’s features are easily ascertainable. And then, for Gladney, the white noise sets in; the connection in his mind becomes loosed and all that is left is mind-numbing static. Other examples of DeLillo’s television language in this

scene are as follows: “Things glowed, a secret life rising out of them … The intensity of the noise in the room was the same at all frequencies … I was in the network of meanings … [I] saw it in terms of the dominant wavelength … something large and grand and scenic” [Italics mine] (311-4). Both Jack and Mink are protected from the act of violence due to language of DeLillo. One cannot really kill or be killed in the safe realm provided by television and consequently DeLillo’s words. Instead of a grotesque and disillusioning blood bath, Jack experiences an epiphany as a thrill-seeking murderer and as a savior. In that same realm, Mink finds salvation as a repentant and punished sinner. On television and in the novel, harmlessness always prevails. By coding his

novel, White Noise, as if it were a television show, DeLillo comments on the state of affairs in our modern culture. DeLillo demonstrates our society’s codependency on what was originally only intended to be a medium of communication. By showing the benevolence of the medium as it translates into the lives of his characters, DeLillo is saying that maybe our dependence on television, even as blood bath entertainment is not as bad as generally perceived. Bibliography DeLillo, Don. White Noise. Ed. Mark Osteen. New York: Penguin, 1998. Frow, John. “The Last Things Before the Last: Notes on White Noise.” DeLillo, Don. White Noise. Ed. Mark Osteen. New York: Penguin, 1998. 417-431