Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/11523
This essay explores the similarities in how war and sports are depicted in Don DeLillo's End Zone (1972). The use of football imagery in the portrayal of battles is common in many works of fiction. The opposite is also true, that many depictions of football, fictional or otherwise, rely on military imagery. DeLillo goes one further and equates football and war, nuclear war specifically. In doing so he employs many devices. Among these is the absence of specific jargon, the use of chaos vs. order, the untellable and the rejection of meaning. The novel's characters also engage in language games, where the different meanings of the same word are at odds. Even as the characters are playing games about meaning, language and the untellable, DeLillo is doing the same. End Zone is a novel greatly influenced by certain philosophical theories. Of these, those of Ludwig Wittgenstein are the most evident. Many references are made to his works within the novel and DeLillo's success in convincing the reader depends in no small part upon the way he applies this influence. The novel is set at the height of the Cold War and at a time when the prospect of losing the Vietnam War is undermining the United States' image as a superpower. With this in mind, I will examine, in the final section, how the main character, Gary Harkness, deals with the uncertainties of modern life and the perceived underlying lack of meaning. In the same context I will also compare him to Taft Robinson, an enigmatic character that only really appears in the novel's final pages.