Editor finds relevance in theme of DeLillo tome

In Dr. Matt Darling’s Prose Literature class, we just finished reading Don DeLillo’s “White Noise.” I wasn’t very impressed by the first third of the book, but as I reached the end, it got me thinking.

Brenna Peters, managing editor, news

The fear of death is a major theme of the novel. It’s something everyone dreads as they get older; it makes us human.

The protagonist, Jack Gladney, is a middle-aged man when he starts to worry about dying. I’m only 23, but death is something I think about more often than people my age should.

When I was younger, I wasn’t afraid of my own death. I feared the deaths of my parents and grandparents. As I got older, I thought I was immortal, like every teenager does. Teens aren’t worried about dying. I never thought about my own mortality until Nov. 15, 2006, when my best friend died.

Getting that phone call from Monika’s sister saying she had passed away after a seizure was the hardest thing I have ever had to sit through. My mom was right next to me when I got the news. I’m sure I just crumpled in my seat. I spent hours curled up on my bed, crying. Sometimes my siblings would enter my room and hug me. They had gotten to know Monika during the seven years she was my best friend.

I miss her every day. I wonder what she’d be doing now. Monika wanted to be a music journalist, a dream that I carried for a few years after her death.

There were times that I needed her here, and it sucks so much that I didn’t have her opinion. She would have kept me from doing a lot of stupid things that I regret. The death of a best friend is something I would not wish on my worst enemy.

Monika would be 24 on April 19. Every year I buy pink roses – pink was her favorite color – and go sit for an hour or so at the cemetery.

It is the absolute worst thing in the world that I have to celebrate my best friends birthday at her grave. She should be here, celebrating with us.

In “White Noise,” a company creates a medication called Dylar that eliminates the fear of death. At least, that’s what it’s supposed to do. I’m not sure if I would want to eliminate my fear. I think it’s what gives meaning to every day.

Without the fear of death – and death itself – there is no reason for living. I learned the hard way to cherish every second you have with someone, for no one is immortal, even if we think we are.


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