The Writer’s Quest for Freedom and Immortality in DeLillo’s Mao II

Beginning with the seminal thoughts of Cawelti’s article on “The Writer as a Celebrity,” I want to continue to explore the issues of fame and celebrity as presented in Don DeLillo’s Mao II. I want to expand on these initial concepts to discuss Bill Gray’s bid for freedom from his celebrity, as well as the loss of faith which makes his final desperate actions necessary and also meaningful. I want to also look at the dichotomy of faith vs. cult (as represented in the triangle of Bill, Karen, and Scott); as well as fanaticism that drives celebrity worship and is present in the dynamics of the terrorist and his followers as well. Finally, the role of the novel and consequently, the novelist, will be explored and the immortality which is promised by the writer’s work itself.