Mr. Gray/Willie Mink In White Noise

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In this essay, I argue what it means for Mr. Gray/Willie Mink to be described as a composite figure (183, 293). In White Noise, Mr. Gray/Willie Mink represents a composite of the way in which DeLillo’s society tries to repress fear-of-death: through consumerism, technology and mystical systems, and secrets. Ultimately, however, DeLillo doesn’t give a resolution to how society may overcome death. The wider implication being made is that repressing fear-of-death as a way of living is hardly a way to live; Mr. Gray/Willie Mink’s obsession with repressing death literally grays, or deconstructs, his once richly colored, individual, and true identity. Instead of surmounting fear-of-death, society must learn to endure and coexist alongside death.…show more content…
However, on the other hand, DeLillo may have done this to foreshadow the fact that the drug is not going to work, but instead going to cause some sort of literal or figurative death in its patients. The predicted side-effect of Dylar patients not being able to distinguish words from things, “so if someone said ‘speeding bullet,’ [one] would fall to the floor and take cover” proves to be true (184, 295). On a greater level, this symptom of Dylar – being unable to differentiate words from things – is symptomatic of DeLillo’s society, having created a simulated reality through consumerism, changing knowledge, technology, and mystical systems. Besides representing a submission to both consumerism and technology, Willie Mink represents a third outlet for DeLillo’s society to repress fear-of-death: through keeping secrets. Willie is first associated with covert behavior in his affair with Babette (184). Even more, Babette masks his identity, giving rise to “Mr. Gray” (183). Consequently, his presence, along with the presence of the other characters, welcomes genre elements of a thriller – strangers, missing drugs, private arrangements – into DeLillo’s White

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