Reality Versus Delusion
Humans encounter so many situations in their lives; that evoke a myriad of emotions and moods. At times, these occasions lead to joy and equally, at other time, there is sadness. The way this variation in the atmosphere of humans affect our life and the way we handle the situations around us at that point, differs. Often, the circumstances that lead to either joy and sadness are intertwined and most often follow each other closely. Sadly, humans tend to realize this truth of life and expect joy to extend for a long time. Few humans appreciate the possibility of a sorrowful incidence occurring. As a result, most of these sad moments find us in shock, and we end up finding ineffective ways of escaping agony inflicted upon us instead of finding a lasting solution. The way people confuse reality with a mindset that has been furnished with lies well elaborated in the two literary works by Leslie Marmon Silko and Don DeLillo.
The Ceremony and White Noise readings provide us with ample analysis of how humans handle the unfortunate circumstance that befalls them. Among the most prominent sad situation is death. However, floods and drought are still substantial disasters that when they strike, people are often unsure of the course of actions to take. A closer look at each stories analysis, of how the characters handled the situations at hand, will enable us to determine the ideal course of action for each situation that befalls us. With this knowledge at hand, we will be able to understand the best course of action that solves a problem correctly.
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Reality versus delusion on the value of life
The Silko’s Ceremony novel is meant to look at how the lives of both whites and the native Mexican people and animals differ. The problems faced by various people can never be the same, and the solutions can never match as well. The novel addresses how the white men who had attacked the lands take any living thing for granted. When they looked, they would see no life, to them everything was dead (Silko, 135). The white men do not value the life of the animals they found in the land. They only appreciate the animals they came with such as the Hereford. The indigenous Mexican cattle are killed while the Herefords sheds were corralled and fenced. The fact remains that these Herefords are not entirely adapting to the Mexican climate and therefore, in spite of the quality care that the white men were giving them, they were bound to die. The white men killed the hardy and adapted indigenous cattle. They must have been foolish enough not to acknowledge the damage that they were causing with the lies that they had furnished themselves.
On the other hand, in the novel, White Noise, Don elaborates how Jack supposes the disguise people demonstrate using their clothing styles. Jack, a major character in the story had noted this camouflage but was never sure. Murray wears unique clothes; his grooming suggests that he looked highly respectable and educated. Equally, Babette’s unkempt hair and unappealing dress choice make her look decent since one can easily assume that she is too busy to mind her looks. Ample women do not plan such things (DeLillo, 9).
All the people have unknown agendas; they often have something to hide. The arriving students at the station wagon have criminal minded pleasures that they always endeavor to satisfy. Supermarkets which are overflowing with people pigskin the consumeristic nature of humans. Instead of people being humane and caring for life, they believe in the purchasing power. They have grown comfortable with the money (DeLillo, 9). But what they buy do not provide life but death. They buy junk foods which cause many diseases. Jack acknowledges of the destroyed river with deep ravines and once wooded area. Surely humans have encroached the environment and destroyed every life that used to exist.
Tayo, a major character in the Ceremony and a white man, did not value the life of animals. He, at one point, agreed with his friend who also said that animals are not worth anything at all (Silko, 23). He could occasionally slap flies that would fly close to him. He had also learned that flies carry with them sickens and therefore, they are not supposed to be anywhere close to humans. On the contrary, when his brother died he lost control and anger overwhelmed him. One can safely assume that he kills the fries to avenge his dead brother. A more lethal backfire occurs when he ceases to value his life. He regards himself as useless and dead and likens his death to “the fading of smoke that is drifted away by the wind until it ceases to exist” (Silko, 17) it is now even clear that his desire to kill fries must be emanating from his desire to commit suicide. It would be likely that all whites in Mexico suffered from the same problem of devaluing life and consequently disregarding their lives, as shown by Tayo, a representative of whites in Mexico. All of this originates from the misconception of the value of the life of other creatures especially animals and trees.
In the story, White Noise, beyond the destruction of nature, life is also at risk of damage. The airborne toxic event leads to fear of life, especially to Jack. Before the train accident which results in the emission of toxic gas, we knew that Jack feared for his life. He had encountered sleepless nights, and he had to find a lie to comfort his fears. Resultantly, Jack desires to be like Hitler, a controversial man that is known to attribute to world war II. He promotes Nazism, Hitler’s ideologies so as to hide his fear. This major character delusionary believes that Hitler is greater than death. Therefore, by associating with the most feared man in the world he convinces himself that he is safe from death which is his worst nightmare. Allegedly, there is a plot to kill Hitler. However, Jack defends Hitler by saying that the end game of all plots is death. Adopting Hitler’s ideologies is a delusion meant to hide Jacks fear of mortality.
A closer look at Murray, a realist in the story White Noise, reveals the contrary of what Jack presumed. Jack had assumed that Murray wore clothes that hid his inner fear of death. On the other hand, Murray acknowledges death for what it is. I want to be free of the heat of air, tall buildings, being hit by a blast and even the eventual heat of death (DeLillo, 11). Openness makes him appreciate it effect whenever it occurs among humans but as well face it with courage. This way, he has been able to be calm in spite of knowing that death lingers everywhere in one’s life. Murray takes an extra step of convincing Jack to get out of his delusional cocoon and embrace death as a natural occurrence. He also declared that no one can see the barn since everyone sees the signs around the barn. The fact that so many people visited the shelter does not mean that it is such an attractive or high-value feature. He calls this aura an accumulation of energies.
In the Ceremony story; luckily, Tayo does not go to the extreme extent of killing himself. The actual ceremony is the incidence of transforming back to a person who once again values life. To find this new life, he had to discover some things; even though he regarded himself a fence post and a bit of dying smoke. It was time for a change. He realized that he could use words to talk about living human beings. Even better, he realized that the white culture had misguided him for it is this culture of dead surroundings that had seen him lose the value of life. The aspect of hope reveals when Tayo realizes that as long as there is hope, all lost could be fetched, found and regained. He has appreciated the new variation from a fallacy of white culture to the reality of the value of life. He ascertained that only dead things do not change (Silko, 126). He was ready to transform into a new being while at home.
At the very end, the people in White Noise become wary of the value of their lives. They are keen to buy quality foods that do not lead to their death. The supermarkets have rearranged the shelves. The shoppers appear keen on the ingredients of every foodstuff they buy. Surprisingly, the solution to every disease is now available. Cancer and obesity no longer strike fear among humans for there is a cure (DeLillo, 147). In the Ceremony, Tayo shifts from desperate isolation to becoming a competent man of the people. He looks for cattle that otherwise the whites were killing. Looking out for other living creatures is symbolic of his complete change for the better (Silko, 129). Clearly, everyone has to go back to the good old ways and still find solutions to emanating problems such as diseases. The solution to the current challenges as Silko and Don suggest are remaining alive and being human and standing for what is right at all times. As equally pointed, there may be no specific solution to each problem but retaining human values guarantees that a possible solution is achievable.
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