Author(s): Erden EL

White Noise can be considered an early example of the material turn in literature. Throughout the novel, material agency surpasses human agency, and material forces shape the story. This paper intends to reveal how non -human agencies shape the everyday events in White Noise and that an attempt to control material agency and believing that human agency is superior to the non-human leads to frustration and catastrophe.There has been a paradigm shift in humanities from the ‘‘linguistic turn’’ to the ‘‘material turn.’’ The discontents of the linguistic turn have necessitated such a change in attitude. The drawback of the linguistic turn was to detach “matter from its long history of attachment to automatism or mechanism” (Bennett, 2010,3). However, White Noise(1984) , which was written at the time of the paradigm shift, sets the non-human matter back into focus. The environmental catastrophes happen regardless of and independent from human agencies, and the futile effort to control material agencies, believing that human agency possesses more knowledge, end in frustration throughout the novel. A good example of the misconception of human superiority is Jack Gladney, the main character. He believes that he as a college professor and an elite person will not be affected by disasters because disasters happen only to poor people.However, things happen autonomously, independent from and indifferent to human will. Therefore, White Noise is a significant work which demonstrates the importance of the non-human agencies and the ways in which they shape the process of events. Thus, this paper intends to reveal that non-human agencies are more effective than human agencies in White Noise.In conclusion, White Noise demonstrates how the material agency can play an active role in determining events, creating stories and bearing results. Therefore, the agentic capacity of the matter should never be ignored. The novel demonstrates that idea that human beings are superior and have the power to make things happen can lead human beings to frustration just as it did to Jack Gladney. Thus, this presentation will show by examining White Noise that the material agency is unpredictable and cannot be taken under control.


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