From photographed barns to rain that might not be rain to simulated evacuations, we see that reality is pretty malleable in White Noise. It seems to shift based on people's perspectives, and Jack finds this concept difficult to deal with. He likes a commonsense approach to things, where there's only one reality and that's that.
But when your son is Heinrich and your closest friend is Murray Siskind, you need to be prepared to have you idea of reality put through the ringer. For DeLillo, modern media like TV has completely separated the real world from the world we experience every day. Like Jack, we tend to think the real world is the one we see on TV, and we're confused when everyday life doesn't live up to it.
Questions About Versions of Reality
- What do you think of DeLillo's take on the breakdown of reality in the modern world? Does the media actually warp reality itself, or are people to blame for not listening to common sense and trusting their own experience?
- According to Murray, how does advertising manipulate what our eyes actually seewhen we look at the world? How do the coded messages of society
prevent us from ever encountering objective reality?
- For DeLillo, what reality is all the "white noise"
of modern life trying to distract us from? What keeps the distraction from
- What is Heinrich's version of reality, and why is it so
frustrating to Jack? Use example from the text to support your answer.
Chew on This
Noise, </em>Don DeLillo suggests that there's no such thing as a real
world anymore. With all the media in our faces all the time, we're basically
living in a made-up world.
Noise</em>, DeLillo tells us that the modern world is broken, and
that the only way forward is to reconnect with reality by throwing out our TVs
and moving into the woods.