Superfluous Existence

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In juxtaposing the work White Noise by Don DeLillo and that of Paula Fox's Desperate Characters one finds similarities as well as stark differences. Both works address the pitfalls of modern life and the ills that pervade the portrayed societies, yet the authors approach their commentary on their constructed worlds in entirely different manners.The ills of society as seen by Fox and DeLillo, while not mirror images, are similar.Fox portrays a society that values style over substance while De Lillo paints a picture of a society approaching cultural death.I contend that both authors would agree that their novels address the superfluous existence that has cast its pall over modern society. While their views appear to be analogous regarding the superfluous nature of our society, it is their distinctly disparate approaches to this topic that makes the comparison of these two works interesting.
DeLillo's novel borders on surrealism.I am not alone in the ideas that DeLillo has a surrealistic bent; Arnold Weinstein mentions this when he calls DeLillo's style "cool to the point of being hip…exquisitely focused on the inane, the bizarre, [and] the surreal" (288). I describe DeLillo's work as surreal in that it paints a picture of a society that, while based on our own, has traveled down a path that might occur if our own jaded view of modern convenience were extrapolated to the fullest imaginable extent.Consider the thoughts that course through Jack's mind when he makes a trip to the automated teller and upon discovering that his bank showed a balance that "roughly corresponded to [his] independent estimate…waves of relief and gratitude flowed over [him]" (46).Granted one can experience something similar to this at an ATM of one's choosing, yet the use of the word "gratitude" adds an element of utter dependence upon the word of the bank, and furthermore infers that …