Complete the Final Essay by the Last Day of Class (200pts.)
White Noise & Postmodernism Project – 200pts.
The final project examines Don DeLillo’s White Noise in relationship to modernism and postmodernism. Drawing on scenes from the novel and 8-10 OUTSIDE SOURCES, show how DeLillo’s work both pokes fun at and critiques our contemporary world. Given that this novel was written in 1985, the “contemporary world” it depicts (i.e., a pre-Internet world) both alike and different from 2018. You’ll want to compare/contrast DeLillo’s vision with a culture that is now thirty-five years older.
1) Begin your paper with a summary of DeLillo’s novel for someone outside the class. As part of your summary, find a NAMED/CREDIBLE SOURCE that can speak to the importance of DeLillo’s work, perhaps even for its “postmodern” insights. Be Sure to Introduce Each Source’s Credentials.
2) In the second paragraph, outline the themes you’ll explore vis-à-vis the various scenes you’ll need to select. What, in other words, are the overarching ideas that DeLillo’s book tackles. Organize these ideas starting with the second most important and then from the least to the most important. BE SURE TO SAY THAT YOU’LL BE COMPARING/CONTRASTING THESE IDEAS IN LIGHT OF MODERNITY AND POSTMODERNITY. Assume Your Reader DOES NOT KNOW These Terms. Help explain/define them.
3) In the following paragraphs, focus on each of the key scenes you’ve alluded to in your second paragraph and give a discussion of how they connect to ideas and/or events. Below is a very condensed example of scene, what I think the scene represents, an article that I could compare/contrast with the scene, and a start of an analysis about what the scene could “mean.”
One example that White Noise uses to show its investigation of a post-modern tendency in academia is when Murray carries on about his desire to be expert on Elvis. Gladney notes that Murray had been have trouble establishing “an Elvis power base in the department of American Enviroments” (34). Indeed, Murray is forced out of this specialization by another colleague (Alfonse). The THEME that this scene represents is the strange niches that academics sometimes carve out for themselves. ~~More Needed Here~~ In an article by entitled “The Need for Cultural Studies,” by Henry Giroux, an American Cultural critic, he argue against such specialization and in favor of a critique of popular culture that would underscore its connections to political regimes. ~~More Needed Here~~ One can also see DeLillo’s as poking fun at this tendency in academia, but perhaps it also serves as a lighthearted counterpoint to Gladney’s more serious focus on Hitler.
4) Somewhere in your essay, you should introduce and use AT LEAST SOME DIRECT QUOTES from the following figures: Kaviani, Harvey, and Roderick and DeLillo himself.
5) Somewhere in your essay, you should also make comparison/contrasts with DeLillo’s depiction of culture in 1985 and where we stand today in 2020, perhaps with a special focus on the relationship between White Noise’s “Toxic Airborne Event” and Covid-19.
6) Your essay, too, might you should discuss how people are currently discussing the idea of “postmodernism and literature” today and whether anyone has written about White Noise recently.
7) Finally, you might put White Noise in relationship to the “Academic Genre.” Define it for someone outside our class. What does it reveal about the university today? What do characters like Gladney & Murray represent so far as higher education is concerned?
Fareed Kaviani’s “Understanding Postmodernism Through White Noise”: http://www.the4thwall.net/academic-papers/2014/2/18/reading-of-don-delillos-white-noise-with-reference-to-some-theoretical-concepts-about-postmodern-fiction-mark-recieved-86 (Links to an external site.)
David Harvey. Chapter 2 &3 “Modernity and Modernism” and “Postmodernism” in The Condition of Postmodernity: http://www.mediafire.com/?ock6cc4bgqa7k5a