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    White Noise The invasion of Consumerism in a PostM Essay

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    odern Family The Invasion of Consumerism into the lives of a Post-Modern FamilyConsumerism is taking place everywhere. Whether we like it or not, it has cometo invade our everyday modern lives. Steven Miles, a lecturer in sociology at theUniversity of Plymouth says “How we consume, why we consume, and the parameterslaid down for us within which we consume have become increasingly significantinfluences on how we construct our everyday lives” (1).

    Consumerism has even gotten tothe point of affecting the way we go about living and controlling our personal and sociallives (Miles 5). Wherever we go and whatever we do, consumerism is praised as theanswer to all of our problems, an escape from some of the harsh realities of our lives. Don DeLillo’s White Noise depicts the different aspects of consumerism and theeffects it has post-modern family that it invades. That specific family is the Gladney’sfrom Blacksmith. For the Gladney family, Jack, Babette, Heinrich, Steffie, Denise, andWilder, consumerism is a way of life. It is something they are always taking part in, evenif it is unconsciously.

    Consumerism is incorporated in with virtually every activity thefamily takes part in, whether it be eating out, spending a day together at the shoppingmall, or making a quick stop at the supermarket. Jack Gladney is a patron of supermarkets and shopping malls (McInerney 36). Jack alone, but more frequently with the company of one or more family members,makes trips to the supermarket. The supermarket has come to be a major point ofintersection in today’s culture (Conroy 97). Among the busy and bustling crowds ofpeople, Jack often runs into acquaintances, most commonly a colleague from TheCollege on The Hill, Murray Jay Siskind: The two girls and Babette, Wilder and I went to thesupermarket. Minutes after we entered, we ran intoMurray.

    This was the fourth or fifth time I’d seen him in the supermarket, which was roughly the number oftimes I’d seen him on campus. (35)Even Jack’s daughter, Denise, runs into a group of friends during one shopping trip. They all gather together to look at books and talk. Jack also has many significantconversations with Murray while casually strolling up and down the aisles of thesupermarket.

    On one such occasion, Murray tells Jack how happy he is to be “inBlacksmith, in the supermarket, in the rooming house, on the Hill” (36). He continues tosay “I feel I am learning important things every day. Death, disease, afterlife, outerspace. It’s all much clearer here. I can think and see” (36). With Murray expressing his feelingsto Jack, it is almost as if these encounters at the supermarket are replacing customaryAside from being a meeting grounds, the supermarket is filled with manyconsumer goods conveniently in bulk.

    Jack describes this in one of his many trips to theThere were six kinds of apples, there were exotic melons inseveral pastels. Everything seemed to be in season,This kind of abundance of goods is seen in just about everywhere. Ten years ago, mostsupermarkets stocked about nine thousand items and now today’s stores carry over 24thousand (Wolkormir). Most of these items come from a can or box and can be cookedin the microwave or require no cooking at all. This explains why the number of hoursparents spend cooking is going down at an increasingly rapid rate and why McDonald’sso proudly displays outside their restaurants, “Over 1 Billion Served.

    “Fast food restaurants play a big role in today’s growing consumerism. Americansenjoy more restaurant prepared food than ever before. Carrie Reynolds, a fast foodrestaurant consultant says, “we eat out today more because it fits our high-speed,consumer-mad lifestyles”(qtd. in Silver 42). Almost half of every dollar spent in 1999was spent eating out, and that figure is expected to up 53% by 2010 (Silver 40).

    TheGladney’s are seen eating restaurant prepared food frequently, whether it be Chinesetake-out night or dinner in a car outside of a commercial strip of fast food restaurants. This is common for families, especially because it is convenient for the parents busyschedules. Fast food may be convenient and seems great at the time, but in the long run,can eventually kill. One in five children between the ages of six and seventeen isoverweight and if current trends continue, nearly half of today’s .

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