Study Guide

White Noise Chapter 26

By Don DeLillo

Chapter 26

  • Back in bed, Jack turns Babette toward him and demands that she tell him about the whole deal with Dylar. Babette stares at the ceiling fora long time before agreeing. She says she needs to tell her story in her ownway.
  • She starts going on about not knowing when "it" started for her, though we don't know what "it" means yet. She says that somewhere around middle age, she became totally crippled by a certain mental condition that wouldn't go away. She tried tons of different things, like finding religion or watching lots of TV, but nothing got her mind off of the thing that was bothering her. Then one day she saw an ad in a supermarket tabloid asking for volunteers for a secret research study. She replied to the ad and was interviewed by a small research firm.
  • Eventually, Babette got through all the test trials and was about to be given a new type of drug that hadn't been approved by the FDA. She was told that the drug could have all kinds of side effects and mess up her brain. But she didn't care.
  • Eventually, the firm decided that it was too risky to give her the drug. She begged for it. She even made a private arrangement with one of the people from the drug firm, a man who she'll only refer to as "Mr. Gray" around Jack. In short, she offered Mr. Gray sex in exchange for the drug.
  • This news devastates Jack. But he insists that Babette finish her story. Babette tells him about how she has been meeting Mr. Gray regularly for months in a motel and having sex with him for drugs. Jack is getting super jelly and super furious.
  • Finally, Jack demands to know what kind of drug could have made Babette so desperate that she cheated on him. She tells him that Dylar is designed to take away a person's fear of death. Babette is brutally scared of dying. The feeling had taken over her entire life.
  • Jack can't bear to hear this news. He always thought that he was the one in their relationship who was afraid of death. He wants Babette to be the strong, reassuring presence in his life. He tells her about how he wakes up constantly in the night, terrified that he might be dying.
  • Jack tells Babette about his exposure to Nyodene D. and how he's eventually going to die because of it. Now it's Babette's turn to be devastated.
  • After Babette's fallen asleep, Jack goes back to the radiator cover to get the bottle of Dylar. But the bottle is gone. 

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