Changing Channels of Technology: Disaster and (Im)mortality in Don DeLillo’s White Noise, Cosmopolis and Zero K

Authors: Teo, Y. and Maffey, R.

Journal: C21 Literature: Journal of 21st-century Writings

Volume: 6

Issue: 2

Pages: 1-23

Publisher: Open Library of Humanities

eISSN: 2045-5224

DOI: 10.16995/c21.74


This article examines the changing representation of technology in three of DeLillo’s novels, White Noise, Cosmopolis and Zero K, and traces the conceptual and philosophical developments in his writing concerning the two key themes of disaster and mortality. Disasters witnessed through technological means consistently distance the ‘real’ from the event in earlier work such as White Noise, whereas in Cosmopolis, Eric Packer, the central character, yearns for disasters to happen to himself. DeLillo’s latest novel Zero K represents a clear sense of ending and longing for disaster. Secondly, technology changes from promoting a fear of death in earlier works, to a fear of life in Zero K, highlighting the bleakness of life in a world ruled by technology. This article will discuss these two progressions in detail across the three novels, followed by a conclusion of the comparisons titled ‘Changing Channels’ for each theme, producing an original perspective of the diachronic changes through DeLillo’s work.

Source: Manual