Of Italian Descent , Don DeLillo’s father came to this country in 1916 and eventually went to work for a Metropolitan Life Insurance Company as an auditor. Don DeLillo himself was born
on Nov. 20, 1936 in Pennsylvania and shortly after moved to a neighborhood of mostly Italians
in the Fordham section of the Bronx. As a boy, Don lived a street life of playing ball,
shooting pool and card playing. While he was somewhat of a troublemaker in his youth, he would
later say is his life "I think New York itself was an enormous influence.” (from Harris, 1982)
He attended Cardinal Hayes High School where he had little ambition and rarely studied
much of anything; by the end of his four years there he had majored in communication arts-
graphic design, illustration and advertising. DeLillo hated school but attended Fordham University,
where, he says, "the Jesuits taught me to be a failed ascetic." (from Harris, 1982).
A year after graduation, he got a job in advertising, because he was unable to get one in publishing like he wanted . (from Passaro, 1991). In 1963, DeLillo was "working as a copywriter in an ad agency. And that was the next to last year of my advertising career, which was short, uninteresting."(from Goldstein, 1988). He later quit his job after five years and "embarked on my life, my real life."(from Passaro, 1991). DeLillo’s works portrayed an America consumed by material excess and stupefied by empty mass culture and politics. Don DeLillo’s first novel was Americana, which he began in 1966. Critics found little to like in the novel's protagonists but much to admire in DeLillo's prose.(from A+E Networks, 2012) In 1985 he would go on to write his eighth novel, White Noise. "I lived abroad for three years, and when I came back to this country in 1982, I began to notice something on television which I hadn't noticed before. This was the daily toxic spill--there was the news, the weather, and the toxic spill. This was a phenomenon no one even mentioned. It was simply a television reality. It's only the people who were themselves involved who seemed to be affected by them. No one even talked about them. This was one of the motivating forces of White Noise."(from Rothstein, 1987)
While White Noise plays on the fear of the people, the novel is considered to be an example of postmodern literature due to the blur between reality and fiction, Delillo’s play with language, and how he incorporated his own traits into the main character of the novel. By 2003 DeLillo had completed his thirteenth novel Cosmopolis. While the reviews for Cosmopolis were generally mixed to negative, the story line was clear. The novel revolves around money and power, success and failure. “Even when you self-destruct, you want to fail more, lose more, die more than others, stink more than others.” (from Cosmopolis). Through the course of the day the novel is set in, the main character’s protagonist ways cause him to lose incredible amounts of money for his clients by betting against the rise of the Yen, a loss that parallels his own fall. Packer seems to relish being unburdened by the loss of so much money, even stopping to make sure he loses his wife's fortune as well, to ensure his ruin is inevitable.(from Wikipedia, 2012)



White Noise seemed very real to me, perhaps because of the content. Jack is a professor at College-on-the-Hill teaching Hitler studies. While his professions seems obscure to me, the college experience is something coming up soon for me as a senior, so his discussion of the students is interesting. The professor's point of view of the students and particularly his observations on the station wagon procession. The parts where he describes instructing in class gave me hope for the future, yet his own life seemed to contradict that at times. Throughout the novel there is the overwhelming cloud of death everywhere. It seems to preoccupy the thoughts of both Jack and Babbette, which causes this reader's thoughts to become occupied with the same topic. Also, the general mystery in the everyday life is intriguing as well. Jack's own thoughts are similar to my own, yet his are more pervasive. He tries to empathize with those he is close to and thinking about, and to see exactly where they're coming from. He is very aware of how the mind works, and how people act around each other. Yet, the death theme definitely overtook many other smaller effects of this novel, as this is something easily relatable. When Jack is finally told he has been exposed to the toxic chemicals, and an additional 15 years is required to find the real damage and fatal risk, it's impossible to imagine being in his place. The fear is absolutely overwhelming. Once again, the prose is full of insightful comments, making this novel an overall memorable experience.



Cosmopolis affected me profoundly. I am amazed at Delillo’s ability to turn ordinary events and objects into philosophical experiences. His observations of just people on the sidewalk makes you feel the anonymity of the city, how so many people around can still leave you feeling alone, and nameless. Know for instant by someone as a passage of time; 30 people per minute passing on a section of sidewalk. It seems that every time Eric Packer makes a conclusion, it always derives from something extremely obsolete and passed over. His specific attention to detail is what makes him so successful and intelligent as well. I find myself agreeing with much of what Packer states as utter truth throughout the novel. These deep observations allow him to overlook the surface and see into the pure motivations and actualities of what is around him. After reading this book, looking at even a rat is different, a symbol of what economy could become, and how irrelevant the strive for money seems to be. I also enjoyed the deep psychological context of this prose. Everything came as his own unique thoughts, and we saw how exactly what his reasoning was. It wasn’t exactly character development, but character depth. I was very and intrigued by and, by the end of the novel, attached to Eric Packer. He is not the typical sort of hero, and not exactly relatable, being a successful billionaire, but I found him somewhat inspiring. This was a challenging read and made me rethink my views, but that is what made it such a wonderful experience for me to read.

Cosmopolis is currently being adapted to a movie directed by David Cronenberg starring Robert Pattinson as Eric Packer....


Hudson section:
Don DeLillo was born in 1936, to a working class italian catholic family in new york, his family was classic first generation americans, with his more elderly relatives speaking only italian, and his more direct relatives only speaking a hybridization of their native tongue and the new foreign english.
As a young person, Don had few intesrests involving writing, until he took an odd job as a parking attendant where in order to save him from long mundane periods of non activity, he would rewad novels, with his favorites being james joyce, faulkner, and hemingway, all of which inspired him to write, and heavily influenced his future works in his late teens.
Though he was interested in publishing, he took up a job at advertising, working as a copyrighter for five years (and a lovely five years that must’ve been). Self proclaimed, DeLillo left the copyrighting industry just when he was gettin good, Having quit his job, he begain to focus on his fictional stories, though self admittedly he states that the only reason for this was that hewanted to quit his job, and he used the freetime to write, he didnt quit to write.

Don DeLillo stands for writing for writing, rather than for say profit or status gain, as exemplified by his comment “I would never write in response to what I believe the public wanted or needed.” -Don DeLillo (St. Louis Beacon). His books are written from a unique standpoint as a result of his upbringing and thus his method for writing is rather unorthodox as well, having never written an outline ever, the only outline analog he uses being scraps of paper which he clips together, as they flow in to his mind ("I've never made an outline for any novel that I've written. Never." -Uk Guardian)

Don is a humble man, preferring to “stand in the corner” and observe the room (as opposed to being in the center ring) in reference to both a literal room and the literature arena. Don believes in the power of literature, as one would expect based on his profession, but he does not believe that books had the power they once held; citing that kafka could change the world, and now books merely change individuals, in a sense.

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