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Megan Arendsen

on 19 February 2014

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Transcript of Videotape

Point of View
By: Don DeLillo
Life is precious and can be taken away at any moment
Live every moment like your last
Don't let the world make you cold hearted

"It is not just another video homicide. It is a homicide recorded by a child who thought she was doing something simple and maybe halfway clever, shooting some tape of a man in a car."
They show it because it exists, because they have to show it, because this is why they're out there, to provide for our entertainment
A videotape of a man riding in his car
Filmed by a 12 year old girl
Narrated by the man watching the video
The film shows the man in the car being killed and has been shown on TV many times


Background of Don DeLillo
"It shows something awful and unaccompanied. You want your wife to see it because it is real this time..."
Early Life
Just Starting Out
Later Years
Growing up in a Catholic Home
His time at Fordham University-NYC
European movies, jazz, and abstract expressionism
Visit to Texas while at an advertising firm
Friend dying (shot during a burglary)
Other Works
(1988)- Kennedy Assassination
White Noise
(1985)- Nazi ideology mixed with mystery American landmarks
The Angel Esmeralda: nine stories
- short story compilation

Videotape Themes
How quickly life can be taken
-break from modernism that includes skeptical interpretations of culture, literature, art, etc.
A man is in his house watching TV
News coverage of the Texas Highway Killer-showing the tape, by the child, of this man's death
Setting adds a sense of innocence and makes the short story more realistic
Man watching the tape
: obsessed with the tape of the man being shot
: called in by her husband to watch the man being shot
12 year old girl
: filmed the killing, name's being protected
Societies obsession with violence
Desensitized to violence
Part of society that is innocent
Does not want to see the gruesome acts that are covered in the news
Innocence in society
Bystanders of violence
1. Exposition
2. Rising Action
3. Climax
4. Falling Action
5. Denouement
Narrator describes the scene
Introduces the 12 year old girl
Describes the man she is filming
Gives information about the home video
Narrator addresses the suspense of the video
Talks about other home videos and how this one is different
States that the girl is innocent and by chance caught the shooting
The man being shot
The jolt of the camera
The narrator questions why he wants his wife to watch the killing with him
Addresses that this type of crime is different because it was taped
More realistic

Relates the shooting back to life
Any breathe you take can be your last
Talks about how desensitized he has become to the tape
Shows how the child filming affects the whole situation
Innocence of the situation
How this makes society more interested in the film
Shows the desensitization to violence in society
The "sick" nature of wanted to see violence
Connection to Art
The man represents the innocence in society
He is trying to get away from the darkness that is closing in on him
Shows the violence and innocence in society
Literary Devices
12 year old girl
- Innocent bystanders to violence
- Desensitized society, to violence
- Those in society who choose to not want to see the violence that is happening
A child filming a murder
The news showing the film on TV for everyone to see

The narrator relates the film to normal family home videos
Adds to the realism of the video

Delillo was born on November 20, 1936 in the Bronx
Was never really interested in reading and writing until he took a job as a parking attendant
Was inspired by Faulkner, Hemingway, and Joyce
Attended Fordham, majored in communications arts
Worked briefly as a copywriter and advertising writer before publishing his first short story in 1964
Film Symbolism
Desensitized society
How technology can corrupt
Most of his major novels were about nuclear war, terrorist cells, or the digital age (Even the Kennedy Assassination
Appropriate for the time period during 1970s and 1980s: Cold War, Iranian Hostage Crisis, Apple
Believed that writers were supposed to write about the world around them
Has been called disappointing since his peak during the Cold War and final great work "Underworld"
Most recent novel, "Point Omega" is either described is a perfect return for its author or just plain terrible
Currently working on 16th novel
Lives in Bronxville
Written from the first-person minor
Narrator is someone who is commenting on the feelings of all characters involved
The narrator is able to explain the significance of the seeing the violence
Comments on how violence can be perceived through the tape
Claims his fiction comes from living in a dangerous world
Wrote "videotape" as a part of "Underworld
Fits into Delillo's style of writing about the world around him
Points out the fact that society is so fixed on death and violence, unless the individual is affected by it
...every breath you take has two possible endings
Life is precious and can change at any moment
You live or die. Simple Fact
The news shows it because it was what the people want to see, violence
Emphasizes the idea of people and violence, and how the innocence of the girl was lost
This piece of artwork is located at LACMA. Leonardo held a fundraiser there after his movie, The Wolf Of Wall street, came out.
Full transcript