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White Noise Essay

1208 words - 5 pages

White Noise is a novel of America's inherent problem in society of misinformation and obsessive consumerism. Based in the 1980's at a time where television was taken to a higher lever; cable television was introduced as well as the mighty video cassette player. White Noise points out a serious relationship between the main characters and their love and addition to television and it distorted media news, which influences everyone in the family, especially the children. Steffie and Wilder ( children of Jack, the novel's main character and narrator) appear in constant mouthing words at the television, reflecting an attitude that television is the teacher and the parent of an entire generation ...view middle of the document...

Murray points out the similarities between dictator and performer, creating a following that would do anything for master. Fame is a mania that overwhelms and leads to fanaticism. Murray worries about the children's television obsession and their strong involvement in consumerism taught to them through schools. Schools are not only for learning about math and English, but teaching us to be good costumers by placing all kinds of advertisements targeting youth at the school, like vending machines filled with clever slogans and colorful wrappers to later turn on the television and listen to the jiggles. Another of education's purposes is to created qualified workers and transform into serious consumers.But Murray's interest in consumerism is quite odd, since his found mostly at the grocery store but his purchases are all in generic white package items. Babette, Jack's current wife, creates a theory of how to de-glamorize television since it's to blame for the glamorization of drugs,gangs, crime etc. She makes every Friday night a family night routine of watching the television together as family to help de-glamorize television, but by becoming a family affair it brings up the question of will the children want to watch the family based shows? Babette is your typical American woman: worried about her appearance but trying to make it seem like she's not, buying healthy food but not eating it but at least she buys it so that maybe she'll be forced to eat it. Or at least the grocer will think she's more healthy and then more beautiful or maybe I should say her doctor who supplies, her with Dylar pills a pill that takes all fear of death away. Babette, the name is a stereotype in itself, signifying someone beautiful but not all that smart," trophy wife" but even trophy wives have problems. Television becomes the contemporary replacement for the divine guidance. Product jingles become comfort for Steffie which she repeats the Toyota jingle during the Airborne Toxic Event which she mutters when she is afraid. Instead of God, advertising and the media are these characters turn to. In a post-God era, something is needed, and according to this novel, that something is television. The advertising media images and sounds are her...

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