Project Title

Reality, Skewed

Author Information

Kathleen Camerlin


Don DeLillo’s novel White Noise explores basic human connections and illustrates how they shift when viewed through the lens of post-modernity. The protagonist, Jack Gladney, tries to validate and substantiate his own existence through the connections he forges not only with his job and studies but also with his family, attempting to find meaning in the way his relatives interact with each other and their post modern world, where it is “no longer possible to distinguish meaningfully between a generality embedded in life and a generality represented in representations of life” (Frow 420). In this fracturing, consumer-driven, postmodern world, what is “real” is hard to determine and therefore Gladney has nowhere universal to turn in order to assuage his fear of death. Although this fear is certainly not new or unique, the means with which he deals with it are altered because of the postmodern society in which he lives. However, the novel also shows that these social constructs are, ultimately, inadequate in shielding him from the fear and reality of his own death, and illustrates how it is perhaps even detrimental to place too much faith in the security of these connections.

Note on the Author

Kathleen Camerlin is a junior majoring in English. This paper was written after being researched for her Recent American Fiction class.

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Articles published in The Undergraduate Review are the property of the individual contributors and may not be reprinted, reformatted, repurposed or duplicated, without the contributor’s consent.