"Life After Death Guaranteed with Bonus Coupons": Seduction, Tyranny, and Mass Culture in Don DeLillo's Fiction

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Title: "Life After Death Guaranteed with Bonus Coupons": Seduction, Tyranny, and Mass Culture in Don DeLillo's Fiction
Author: Link, Peter Charles
Advisors: Jon Thompson, Chair
John Morillo, Member
Nick Halpern, Member
Abstract: he purpose of this thesis is to study the viability of individuality in a fast-paced, consumer-driven, late capitalist society in light of Don DeLillo's White Noise (1984) and Mao II (1991). One way of considering American late capitalism is to treat it as a mass movement with striking similarities to more overtly tyrannical mass movements like Nazism and Mooneyism. DeLillo makes such comparisons in White Noise and Mao II, and his fiction ultimately suggests that an unchecked late capitalist consumer culture is frighteningly capable of not only tyranny, but also of liquidating individuality. A more acute analysis of the methodology employed by mass movements can be made using a Frankfurt School approach. Theodor Adorno's essay, "Freudian Theory and the Pattern of Fascist Propaganda," offers a useful framework for studying how mass movements are able to seduce, manipulate, tyrannize, and incorporate individuals. Adorno argues that Nazism depended on knowledge of certain psychological desires to seduce individuals. This essay argues that the American consumer culture uses similar methods to seduce individuals by not only employing psychological weapons, but also by taking advantage of a highly systemetized technological apparatus whose development has coincided with the unprecedented rise of the American consumer culture.
Date: 2000-01-10
Degree: MA
Discipline: English
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/218


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