Date of Award

12-14-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor

Nancy Chase

Second Advisor

Chris Kocela

Third Advisor

Murray Brown

Abstract

Criticism surrounding the children of the Gladney family in Don DeLillo’s novel White Noise remains a contested issue. I argue the children and their social environment reflect Lee Edelman’s analysis of the Child figure and its bolstering of reproductive futurism. The Child figure upholds a heteronormative social order that precludes equal rights and social viability for non-normative family structures and those opposed to an inherently conservative ideology. I find the continually evolving family structure elicits new dynamics among its members, offering greater social independence for all, which institutes a stronger familial bond and ensures a greater chance for its vitality. The Gladney family share such a dynamic; this is observed through the specific roles its members perform and the relations among them. Furthermore, I contend the Gladney family represent a model for maintaining group vitality, which is first required for organized political action against our inequitable social order.


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