Study Guide

White Noise Chapter 14

By Don DeLillo

Chapter 14

  • Denise comes into Jack's bedroom and flops across the foot of the bed while he's trying to study German. She asks him what they're going to do about Babette's memory. Jack asks if Denise has confronted her mother about taking drugs, but Denise says no. She tells him that the name of the medication she found in the kitchen trash was Dylar.
  • Denise wants to know what Dylar is. But for the time being, Jack thinks it's good to respect Babette's privacy. He wants to convince himself that there's nothing to be worried about.
  • Suddenly, Denise asks him why he named his son Heinrich. Jack answers that he wanted his son to have a strong name because he never wants the boy to be hurt.
  • Heinrich rushes into the room and shouts that there's footage of a plane crash on TV. All the kids run into the den to watch the footage. They do the same thing that Friday, eating Chinese food together and watching footage of worldwide disasters. They love watching disasters and always wish for something bigger to happen.
  • The next day, Jack runs into Murray. Murray wants to host a class devoted to Elvis Presley. But the university won't give it to him because there's another man in the department who says he's an even bigger Presley fan than Murray.
  • In case you were wondering, this book doesn't paint the most flattering portrait of university professors.
  • At lunch, Jack asks another professor named Alphonse why he and his family love to watch disasters on TV. Alphonse tells him it's because the modern world bombards people with so much information that people need something crazy and destructive to jar them out of their numbness.Ā 

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