The return of the waste: Author as recycler in Don DeLillo’s Cosmopolis

Rasa Rezania, Hossein Pirnajmuddin


Zygmunt Bauman uses ‘waste’ as a metaphor to speak of those human beings considered as redundant, dysfunctional and unnecessary in the ‘liquid’ modern world. This notion could also be traced in the works of contemporary writers of fiction. A case in point is Cosmopolis (2003) by Don DeLillo. This essay is an attempt to discuss the novel in terms of the ‘liquid’ modern notion of waste and the fear / threat of turning into it. The protagonist of DeLillo’s novel, Eric Packer, is thus considered as an agent of capitalism whose novelistic encounters could be examined as projecting the ruinous consequences of his self- centeredness and indulgence. It is the nemesis of his wasteful life that meets this man of capital in the end and finally speaks back in dialogue to him. The voices of the wasteful and the wasted resound through the pages of DeLillo’s fiction. It is due to this quality that we may call DeLillo a recycler of what has been marginalized, jettisoned and left unnoticed in the contemporary ‘liquid’ times.



Don DeLillo; Cosmopolis; liquid modernity; waste; recycling; consumerism

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