For our last meeting together, I’m going to ask you to write in-class for about a half-hour on Don DeLillo’s novel, White Noise. Here’s the quote – – from an academic article – – that I’m going to ask you to write about: “Siskind is the true villain of WhiteNoise. Seductive and smart, he nevertheless encourages and fosters the worst in Jack. Murray is the man who would be Jack. Murray’s very openness about his goals makes it hard to see the antagonistic role he occupies . . . .”
Remember, the purpose of the prompt is to argue for or against this interpretation using evidence from the novel. The ultimate goal, of course, is for you to demonstrate your understanding of White Noise.
Time to finish up White Noise. After you’ve closed the back cover of the novel, pause and think for a moment about questions posed to you by and within DeLillo’s narrative. Bring one good question to class. (This should be an open-ended question and, preferably, one that’s focused on a particular issue or problem or moment in the text. E.g. avoid questions like these: What is Jack’s last name? Or, what does the concept of time mean in the novel? A better question might be, for instance: why does the novel seem so obsesses with UFO’s? Or, is there any connection between Dylar and Nyodene?)
For Thursday, let’s keep reading DeLillo’s White Noise. As you read, mark and collect all the instances of “noise” that you come across. (These can be literal noises – – like the sound of traffic like “a remote and steady murmur around our sleep” in the first chapter – – but also figurative “noise” of the kind Murray, for instance, hears in supermarkets.)
For Thursday, let’s take a look at Langston Hughes’ poems – – “I, Too, Sing America” and “Harlem.” And, let’s discuss the three Claude McKay poems I’ve collected here.
Also, take a few minutes to view the Duke Ellington video above. What does the video tell us about the “new negro.”
Don’t forget: pick up a copy of Nella Larsen’s Quicksand. Here’s the edition that I use Quicksand. I have found a free online version of the text here.
Finally, complete your annotations – – by explaining both the local context for your selected line/image and how this particular instance fits with other similar instances of the motif throughout the poem.