Date of Award

5-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

English

Advisor

Morey, Sean

Committee Member

Hankins , Gabriel

Committee Member

Bushnell , Cameron

Abstract

In this paper, I analyze Don DeLillo's White Noise through a contemporary techno-literate approach that utilizes Internet and game studies to better understand its protagonist, Jack Gladney, and to reevaluate the novel's critical legacy. Jack is not a modernist living in a postmodern world, as critics like Tom LeClair, John Duvall, and Leonard Wilcox have claimed for the many years since the publication of this novel. Lacking the authentic consistency for such a title, he is instead a postmodern human simulacrum sampling different character types to avoid his lack of discernable self. In each role he plays, however, he is abruptly confronted by a failure to successfully inhabit these new selves, which casts a cautionary light on Jack's inauthentic role-play. By examining the year 1984 in which DeLillo's novel was completed and utilizing Gregory Ulmer's avatar theory, the paper contends that Jack's character games and DeLillo's text depicting them are prophetic exercises about how we similarly interact with the Internet and games in ways that complicate subjectivity through digital narrative extension.

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