white noise

September 5th, 2016

This is the first novel I have read by Don Delillo and I definitely enjoyed reading it, however, I’m not sure what exactly I took from it. The first and second parts I enjoyed more than the last, as he writes clever and funny characters and describes their personalities and actions in a quite entertaining way.

The issues of the main character are explored through dialogues with other characters and I find this fascinating. There is a very morbid feel to the book as most of the characters are somehow obsessed with the idea of death and when and how it will happen.

I never had a fear of death because I realized as a child that there was no way to control when you died, unless its suicide. So, why be afraid of something you can’t control? The thing you can control is how you live your life, and the real issue to be frightened of is not living. If you’re living your life how you wish, you’re happy, and you’re not hurting others, then there’s nothing else you can do but enjoy life and just be happy that you’re alive at all.

I watched the film Me, Before You as I was reading this book and having these thoughts. Spoiler alert, he’s paralysed and chooses to end his life rather than keep living in pain. He decided he’d lived his life and wouldn’t enjoy living any longer, regardless of falling in love with such a great woman. I found this very disheartening. At first I was very upset. I had so completely enjoyed The Theory of Everything, about Stephen Hawking, and his courage and humour throughout his life and disability, and was so inspired, that this other film just made me think that character was weak and selfish. But, if he felt he had lived his life and couldn’t stand being in pain any longer, couldn’t handle even being in love because it was too painful to be in such a physical state, I guess, to each their own. I would hope that if those circumstances happened to me and I was lucky enough to be wealthy, too, I would try to find a new purpose to go after, rather than just give up.

I guess what I learned from White Noise would be to live with childlike ignorance, to follow your heart and own mind and ignore the white noises of life that so tend to distract us. The commercialism that tells us what we should or should not do does not mean anything when it comes down to life or death. A very enjoyable read, anyway.