Study Guide

White Noise Chapter 38

By Don DeLillo

Chapter 38

  • While lying in bed, Jack tells Babette that the two of them don't repress their fear of death the way most people do. He'd always thought it was a good idea to get in touch with the things he repressed. But maybe death isn't the best thing to get in touch with.
  • The next day, Jack starts carrying his handgun to school. He notices that there are only three bullets in the thing.
  • Later, he passes Heinrich's bedroom and asks him how everything went with Orest and the snakes. Heinrich tells him that the humane society wouldn't let Orest do his snake gig. So Orest found a hotel room and went in it with only three snakes. The snakes weren't even venomous, and Orest got himself bitten in four minutes. The entire thing was a huge sham.
  • Heinrich thinks Orest is a big jerk for letting him down. No one has seen Orest since the whole thing happened. He's probably too embarrassed to show his face.
  • Jack wanders over to campus. When he gets there, he realizes that someone is following him. He starts to run and so does his pursuer. He puts his hand on his gun and turns around. But he realizes at the last second that it's only Winnie Richards running after him.
  • It turns out that Winnie just came across an old magazine that talked about a firm doing research on a drug that could numb a person's fear of death. She knows the whole story of how the firm was denied approval to move forward with the drug.
  • She also knows that the face behind the whole project was a man named Willie Mink. Mink has a long history of using controversial methods to get his drugs tested.
  • She says she knows that Mink is staying in a motel in the German Town neighborhood of nearby Iron City. Witness reports say that a woman in a ski mask visits him there regularly. Jack knows that the woman in the ski mask is Babette going for sex.
  • That night, Jack says good night to Babette and tells her he doesn't know when he'll be back. He puts his gun in his pocket and steals the neighbors' car, which has had the key sitting in its ignition ever since the airborne toxic event. As he leaves, Jack can't help but make a secret dig at Babette. He tells her that it's chilly outside, and that she should wear her ski mask if she's going to go running.Ā 

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