Distinguishing Fantasy from Reality: Comparison Essay Between the Things They Carried and Fight Club

Distinguishing Fantasy from Reality: Comparison Essay Between the Things They Carried and Fight Club

Don DeLillo’s book, White Noise, tells the story of Jack Gladney and his family. Throughout the book, Jack takes on a professional, fictional persona resembling that of Hitler, being the Chairman of Hitler Studies at the College-on-the-Hill (DeLillo 4). Jack turns his professional persona into this fictional character, something he could transform himself into, as if he was filling a Hitler mold. Jack relies on this Hitler-esque persona to sustain his own personal identity and self-worth, although in his mind, this fake persona is only subsidiary to his own personality. Jack struggles with ascertaining the importance of himself as compared to the importance of his own made-up persona and this notion of fabricated reality becoming more important that actual reality is offered throughout White Noise.
While in his role of Chairman of Hitler Studies, he refers to himself as J.A.K. Gladney and dresses in sweeping, dramatic robes while teaching. Jack also takes into consideration the advice of the chancellor, “He wanted me to “grow out” into Hitler. He himself was tall, paunchy, ruddy, jowly, big-footed and dull. A formidable combination. I had the advantages of substantial height, big hands, big feet, but badly needed bulk” (DeLillo 16). This impression of J.A.K. Gladney differed greatly from Jack’s own character, and the fact that he does not know German only adds to the plasticity of his fabricated self.
The idea of false reality overtaking actual reality is shown by Jack and Murray’s visit to The Most Photographed Barn in America. During their visit, Murray states that the tourists are “taking pictures of taking pictures…We can’t get outside the aura. We’re part of the aura. We’re here, we’re now (DeLillo 12). Murray is stating that the tourists and Murray and Jack themselves are only there because of the aura in which the title of the barn, along with all the signs and the allure of seeing an attraction, is what brings them there. The barn itself isn’t...

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