White Noise by Don DeLillo.(1~79) Prewriting and answer the question

1. Prewriting part.

I heard speculation that media events, like the cable tv coverage of a
balloon over Colorado, could actually make people “dumber” by serving as an ongoing distraction. The timeless theme of appearance vs. reality gains new venues through the media of video, the internet, etc.  For this discussion, before you start reading White Noise, I wanted you to think about the role of technological innovations in changing society, for the better or worse, especially in the realm of communication. How do we know what to believe? Why are we blindsided by an economic meltdown or the breech of levies in New Orleans, both of which informed people should have known were coming? How much do we rely on experts to fix our problems, and can we rely on experts? How much do we end up believing what we want to believe—what is convenient for us, or what will make us feel better about ourselves or safer? And what might be the consequences?

2. Question part. (You can choose one of them for writing answer. not all of them.)

Question 1: The station wagons arrived at noon, a long shining line that coursed
through the west campus. In single file they eased around the orange I-beam
sculpture and moved toward the dormitories. The roofs of the station wagons     were loaded down with carefully secured suitcases full of light and heavy     clothing; with boxes of blankets, boots and shoes. . . As cars slowed to a crawl     and stopped, students sprang out and raced to the rear doors to begin removing the     objects inside; the stereo sets, radios, personal computers; small refrigerators. . .     fruit chews and toffee popcorn; the DumDum pops, the Mystic mints. (3)
Why does the novel open this way, with a parade of students moving into the dorms?
What recurring themes of the book do you see introduced here? (3)

Question 2: Babette and I and our children by previous marriages live at the end
of a quiet street in what was once a wooded area with deep ravines. There is an
expressway beyond the backyard now, well below us, and at night as we settle into
our brass bed the sparse traffic washes past, a remote and steady     murmur around
our sleep, as of dead souls babbling at the edge of a dream.     (4)
How might it be significant that the highway takes the place of the ravine?

Question 3: “Not that I’m complaining. I like it here. I’m totally enamored of this place. A small-town setting. I want to be free of cities and sexual entanglements. Heat.     This is what cities mean to me. You get off the train and walk out of the station     and you are hit with the full blast. . . The eventual heat death of the universe that     scientists love to talk about is already well underway and you can feel it happening all around you in any large or medium-sized city.” (10)
According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the second law of thermodynamics states that a closed system will always move towards disorder, entropy. The universe as a whole moves towards greater randomness and will eventually end in a heat death in which there is no more order, pattern, heat, or life. The heat given off by the sun is an example of progressing towards greater disorder, which is balanced out by the increase in order created by the sun through life on earth.

Why do you think Murray prefers Blacksmith to the city?

Question 4. Of the most photographed barn in America, Murray asks,
“What was the barn like before it was photographed?. . . What did it look like,
how was it different from other barns, how was it similar to other barns? We can’t
answer these questions because we’ve read the signs, seen the people snapping     the
pictures. We can’t get outside the aura. We’re part of the aura.” (13)
An aura is a trace of the refined and spiritual, the sacred, which is often hidden in today’s world. What does Murray mean? How does being the “most photographed barn in America” prevent people from really seeing it? How does its fame create a “collective perception”? Can you think of any examples of this from your own experience?

Question 5: So Hitler gave me something to grow into and develop toward. . . The glasses with thick black heavy frames and dark lenses were my own idea. . . Babette said     she liked the series J. A. K. and didn’t think it was attention-getting in a cheap     sense. To her, it intimated dignity, significance and prestige. (17)
What does Jack mean when he says “I am the false character that follows the name
around?” (17) Why do you think DeLillo made the main character a professor of Hitler
Studies? Is this anti-semitic? Is the idea of Hitler Studies unethical?

Question 6: What might be suggested by some of the details of Jack’s family, such as that fourteen-year old Heinrich’s hairline was receding, and baby Wilder’s vocabulary has not progressed beyond twenty-five words (22)?

Question 7: Read the dialogue between Jack and Heinrich about if it is raining on pages 22 to 24. Why does Heinrich question empirical (observable) reality? Who do you agree with more in this argument? In what sense might Heinrich be correct?

Question 8: Why might Jack have stated to his class, “All plots tend to move deathward” (26)?  Is this true? Why or why not?

Question 9: Their daughter Steffie reports that she heard on the radio that they should
boil their water. Babette says, “’They’re always saying boil your water. . . It’s the new
thing” (34). Why do you think Babette takes this warning about the water so lightly, as if it is just a fad?

Question 10: In the morning I walked to the bank. I went to the automated teller machine     to check my balance. . . The figure on the screen roughly corresponded to my independent estimate. . . Waves of relief and gratitude flowed over me. The     system had blessed my life. I felt its support and approval. . . A deranged person     was escorted from the bank by two armed guards. The system was invisible,     which made it all the more impressive, all the more disquieting to deal with. But     we were in accord, at least for now. The networks, the circuits, the streams, the     harmonies. (46) Why does Jack find being in accord with the bank system to be reassuring, even though a deranged person was being escorted from the bank? (46) How does this scene take on a new meaning today?

Question 11: Why are the trick or treating children frightened? (53)

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