Exploring Don DeLillo's Underworld: Counterhistory, Language, and Hope

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Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature


Mara Faulkner


Don De Lillo's Underworld confronts suffocating cold-war ideology, seemingly infinite media power, and endless accumulations of consumer and military waste, yet continually grasps for deep connections between people and events. The novel asserts that despite the heavy hand of ideology and capitalism, marketing, profit margins, and consumer waste, real community and living language exist in the world. My thesis surfaces and analyzes several of Underworld's most engaging themes: the way language works to resist or reinforce dominant ideology, mass media's vice-like control over national narratives, spaces of resistance in which DeLillo's characters act to reappropriate their personal narratives and tell their own stories. In the end, my work asserts that our greatest assets are our voices and the language which lives in them.