Don DeLillo American Literature Analysis
DeLillo’s first novel is titled Americana, and the title would serve well for his whole body of fiction. Americana is an account of a generally aimless trip around much of the United States—New York City, Maine, the Midwest, and Texas—and its first-person narrator, David Bell, calls it a “mysterious and sacramental journey.” The novel has two features that have distinguished all of DeLillo’s work: a true gift for the evocative and lyrical power of language and a talent for creating eccentric characters who are less believable characters and more satiric cartoon figures. These features have enabled DeLillo, a master satirist, to evoke American life effectively while downplaying the traditional reader expectations of plot and suspense. The characters in his novels are often dispossessed, alienated, and paranoid, and they dwell in an America as surreal as DeLillo’s fictional universe.
The topics in these early works included rock music, football, mathematics, an “airborne toxic event,” and scenarios of nuclear devastation. In treating such topics, implied criticism of the irrationality of much of American life is inevitable, but DeLillo’s treatment of his characters is generally even-tempered rather than corrosive. He has even said of the unappealing Pammy and Lyle in Players that “I can’t talk about them as people I love or hate. They’re people I recognize.”
One aspect of DeLillo’s ongoing...
(The entire section is 6659 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Don DeLillo Critical Essays. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!