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Identity as a self-constructed phenomenon in Don DeLillos White noise
2005 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor)Student thesis
Abstract [en]

In White Noise, Don DeLillo skilfully uses an identity theme throughout the novel to create parody and show the devastating effects of modern American society. The characters in White Noise continually manage – or try to manage - deploying different identities in various situations to gain certain character traits and strengths. My argument in this paper is, however, that DeLillo’s depiction of social identity formation is more sophisticated, focusing not only on the creation of new identities and the use of role play, but dealing with three main aspects of self: the creation of identity, the maintenance of one’s identity, and the rediscovery of one’s identity. Using sociologist Richard Jenkins’ theory of identity as a self-constructed phenomenon that can be shaped through memberships of social groups, this paper analyses the creation, maintenance and rediscovery of Jack Gladney’s identities in White Noise and looks at how these are influenced by social forces. By using a psychoanalytical approach, incorporating social theory of identity, the creation of Jack’s identities in White Noise can be seen as reflecting the many dimensions of his life, while the maintenance of the identities is equally crucial as part of the ongoing relationship between Jack’s self-image and public image. The use of parody throughout White Noise makes the processes of creating, maintaining, and rediscovering one’s identities even clearer and Jenkins’ social theory more visible. Jack’s identity formation is very much a result of his own fear of death in combination with social influences, and this paper shows how DeLillo, through gradual development of parody throughout the novel, demonstrates how the modern world affects people’s lives.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. , 19 p.
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-53768Local ID: ENG C-17OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-53768DiVA: diva2:1102328
Subject / course
English
Available from: 2017-05-29 Created: 2017-05-29

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  • apa
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