The most common fear in most Americans is the fear of death, except they think about it much differently than Jack Gladney. Jack likes to talk about it and it is always on his mind about “Who will die first?”, but for most Americans, it is normal to try and ignore it, because it is even too fearful to think about. When Jack becomes infected with Nyodene and learns that he could die within 15 or 30 years, he starts thinking much more about death and says, “I’ve got death inside me. It’s just a question of whether or not I can outlive it” (DeLillo 144). He realizes that he will die sometime, and DeLillo uses him to show how afraid of death Americans truly are by what he says and how he acts. Jack and his family talk and think about death often, and DeLillo uses their mindset to criticize American thought. As soon as Jack got infected, he started thinking and acting different, and he started looking at people differently as well.
After Jack got exposed to Nyodene, DeLillo “Americanized” him even more, and Jack began to satirize other people. Americans tend to criticize and satirize other people after they start feeling sadness or anger, and DeLillo made Jack do the same thing as soon as he got infected and his life took a turn. Jack starts to look at each aspect of a person, such as Babette, and he would say, “this is the point of Babette” (DeLillo 197). Jack starts seeing everyone’s appearance and personality as permanent, and as soon as any part of them change, Jack criticizes them, which shows how DeLillo criticizes the American society. As soon as someone does not see something they like or are used to in someone else, they tend to critique them. Jack is the perfect representation of this American quality because he has changed his mindset based on the fact that he knows he will die in the near future. But many Americans are so used to the stereotypes and the negativity and criticizing against them, so they get involved in something that is related to American thought.
DeLillo tries to give Jack a non-American trait, but it still ends up criticizing Americans for a trait that many also have. Jack is like the normal, everyday American; he is afraid of death, he critiques other people, and he has his financial issues. But when he tries to get involved with