Welcome to Francis Academic Press

Academic Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences, 2023, 6(6); doi: 10.25236/AJHSS.2023.060610.

Interpretation of Ethics in DeLillo’s Fiction


Yuanqing Wu, Xiaowei Luo, Junping Xia

Corresponding Author:
Yuanqing Wu

School of Foreign Languages, Anhui Science and Technology University, Fengyang, Anhui, 233100, China


As a postmodern novelist who emphasizes conscience and responsibility of writers, Don DeLillo, with his postmodern writing techniques, profoundly reveals the politics, economy, technologies, mass media, terrorism and the living conditions of the people in the post-industrial American society. Taking the perspective of ethics as the breakthrough point, this essay analyzes the imbalanced ethical relationships between man and nature, man and society, and man and himself in postmodern American society reflected in White Noise, Libra, Cosmopolis, Falling Man as well as DeLillo’s thought of ethical care and ethical salvation. He posits that man, as an ethical subject, should return to his humanity as a human being in order to face the imbalanced relationships in this postmodern society and apply the goodness and love in human nature to solve the ethical problems of the postmodern era.


DeLillo; Ethical Imbalances; Ethical Salvation; White Noise; Libra; Cosmopolis; Falling Man

Cite This Paper

Yuanqing Wu, Xiaowei Luo, Junping Xia. Interpretation of Ethics in DeLillo’s Fiction. Academic Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences (2023) Vol. 6, Issue 6: 48-55. https://doi.org/10.25236/AJHSS.2023.060610.


[1] Giaimo P. (2011) Appreciating Don Delillo The Moral Force of a Writer’s Work. Santa Barbara, California: Praeger, v-vi, vi.

[2] Nie Zhenzhao. (2014) Introduction to the Ethical Literary Criticism. Beijing: Peking University Press, 7, 13, 263.

[3] Zhuang Mu, Huang Yanyan. (2020) Marx’s Practical Constructivism on the Relationship between Man and Nature and its Revelation. Journal of Changzhou University (Social Science Edition), (4): 90-97.

[4] DeLillo D. (2003/2011) Cosmopolis. London: Picador, 158, 197, 199.

[5] Lin Hongmei. (2008) Introduction to Ecoethics. Beijing: Central Compilation Press, 10.

[6] Zhang Hairong (2004) Ecological Ethics and Ecological Aesthetics. Shanghai: Fudan University Press, 332.

[7] Baudrillard J. (2014) Consumer Society. Translated by Liu Chengfu and Quan Zhigang. Nanjing: Nanjing University Press, 5, 51, 116.

[8] Zhu Ronghua. (2018) A Study on the Postmodern Ethical Consciousness of Don DeLillo’s novels. Beijing: China Social Science Press, 323, 177.

[9] DeLillo D. (1986) White Noise. New York: Penguin, 3, 5, 4, 12, 13, 66, 313.

[10] Alexandra, D. M. (2014) Don Delillo’s Fiction of Finance Capital. Literature Compass, (10): 657-666.

[11] DeLillo D.(1988/2018) Libra. New York: Penguin, 370, 33.

[12] Fan Xiaomei.(2013) Literary Reconstruction of History and Postmodern Criticism-A Review of Don DeLillo’s Libra . Jiangxi Social Science, (1): 94-98.

[13] Postman N. (2005) Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. PENGUIN BOOKS, 4.

[14] Shi Yanlin. (2018) On the Postmodern Political Writing of Don DeLillo’s Fiction. Beijing: China Social Science Press, 204.

[15] DeLillo D.(2007) Falling Man. New York: Scribner, 59, 76, 222-223.

[16] Conroy M. (1994) From Tombstone to Tabloid: Authority Figured in White Noise. Critique, (2): 97-110.

[17] Conte J. (2008) Writing Amid the Ruins: 9/11 and Cosmopolis. Cambridge Companion to Don DeLillo. In John Duvall, ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 179-192.

[18] Jiang Xiaowei. (2010) The Subject of Postmodern Historical Imagination: Libra. Journal of South China Normal University (Social Science Edition), (3): 82-87.

[19] Li Dingqing. (2006) Literary Ethical Criticism and the Construction of Humanism. Foreign Literature Studies, (1): 44-52.

[20] Decurtis A. (1990) “An outsider in this society: an interview with Don DeLillo”. South Atlantic Quarterly, (2): 281-304.

[21] Yang Jincai. (2014) “On the Thematic Characteristics of American Novels in the New Century”. Journal of Shenzhen University (Humanities and Social Sciences Edition), (2): 6-12.

[22] Ingram C. (2019) Counter-Narrative Ethics: Don DeLillo’s Post-9/11 Novels. Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction. doi: 10.1080/00111619.2019.1631746. 1-15.

[23] Gu Hongliang. (2005) Another kind of subjectivity-Levinas’ I-Alterity Discourse and Ethics. Studies in Moral Philosophy, (4): 27-30, 55.