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Approaches to Teaching DeLillo's White Noise

Editor(s): Tim Engles, John N. Duvall

Pages: vii & 240 pp.
Published: 2006
ISBN: 9780873529198 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780873529181 (hardcover)

"I believe that this collection of essays will be of great value to instructors of White Noise. The essays in the volume are lively, accessible, opinionated (in a good sense), and informative."
Douglas Keesey, California Polytechnic State University


Don DeLillo's satiric novel White Noise, prophetic in 1985 about American society's rampant consumerism, information overload, overreliance on the media, and environmental problems, may seem to today's students simply a description of their lived reality. The challenge for teachers, then, is to help them appreciate both the postmodern qualities of the novel and its social critique.

This volume, like others in the MLA's Approaches to Teaching World Literature series, is divided into two parts. The first part, "Materials," suggests readings and resources for both instructor and students of White Noise. The second part, "Approaches," contains eighteen essays that establish cultural, technological, and theoretical contexts (e.g., whiteness studies); place the novel in different survey courses (e.g., one that explores the theme of American materialism); compare it with other novels by DeLillo (e.g., Mao II); and give examples of classroom techniques and strategies in teaching it (e.g., the use of disaster films).

Table of Contents

Approaches to Teaching DeLillo's White Noise

Preface to the Series

Preface to the Volume

PART 1: MATERIALS
Tim Engles and John N. Duvall

Introduction

Readings for Students

The Instructor's Library

Biographical Material

Interviews, Profiles, and Essays

Bibliographic Sources

Critical Studies

Book-Length Studies

Journals and Collections

Electronic Resources and Other Teaching Aids

Regarding Editions

PART 2: APPROACHES
Introduction

Cultural and Theoretical Approaches

White Noise and American Cultural Studies
Randall Fuller

"Hijacked Jet Crashes into White House":
Teaching White Noise after September 11
Margaret Scanlan

No One Sees the Camps: Hitler and Humor in White Noise
Paul Young

An Ecocritical Approach to Teaching White Noise
Louisa Mackenzie

Connecting White Noise to Critical Whiteness Studies
Tim Engles

Teaching White Noise in the Context of Electronic Media and Technology

Technology, Rationality, Modernity: An Approach to White Noise
Timothy Melley

White Noise as Wake-Up Call: Teaching DeLillo as Media Skeptic
Kathleen LeBesco

White Noise and the Web
Philipp Schweighauser

Surveying White Noise

White Noise and the American Novel
Theron Britt

White Noise, Postmodernism, and Postmodernity
John N. Duvall

White Noise, Materialism, and the American Literature Survey
Ted Billy

Teaching White Noise in the Context of Other DeLillo Novels

Plot Summary: Motives and Narrative Mechanics in Underworld
and White Noise
Michael Bérubé

Inventing Hope: The Question of Belief in White Noise and Mao II
Mark A. Eaton

Loyalty to Reality: White Noise, Great Jones Street, and The Names
Margaret Soltan

Classroom Techniques and Strategies

A Burkeian Reading of White Noise
David Blakesley

Homicidal Men and Full-Figured Women: Gender in White Noise
Philip Nel

"The Natural Language of the Culture": Exploring Commodities through White Noise
Mark Osteen

White Noise as Disaster Movie
Valerie Wee and John Whalen-Bridge

Notes on Contributors

Survey Participants

Works Cited

Index



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