Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Don DeLillo acknowledges the influence on film in his novels. How is this interest in the cinema reflected in DeLillo’s handling of character and plot?

DeLillo has been called a gifted satirist. In what ways can his work be considered satiric?

DeLillo worked for a time in commercial advertising and has written at length about the power of electronic media. How does DeLillo see the relationship between literature and the visual media?

How do the lessons of the Kennedy assassination, which DeLillo cites as responsible for turning him into a novelist, figure in DeLillo’s writing?

DeLillo’s novels are often called “novels of ideas,” rather than novels of character and plot. What is the difference, and how does this affect the reader’s role in approaching DeLillo?

What evidence is there in DeLillo’s writing of his interest in religion?

As a cultural anatomist, DeLillo has long argued the central place of violence in American culture. What does he see as the causes of violence in late twentieth century America?

How does DeLillo experiment with how a story is told, making the process of narrative itself the subject of interest rather than the story?