Jack describes his son Heinrich, who's only 14 but is already starting to lose his hair. Jack often worries about Heinrich, who seems a little odd (and maybe a little prematurely old?) for his age. Babette is afraid that Heinrich is the type of teenager who'll turn into a spree killer some day. Way to be supportive, Mom.
Heinrich tells Jack that the radio says it will rain. Jack
points out the window and tells Heinrich that it's already raining. Heinrich's
the argumentative type, so he insists on what the radio says. This results in
an argument that's very frustrating for Jack. Heinrich totally refuses to buy
into any sort of common sense. He tells Jack that they can't believe what their
eyes, ears, and hands tell them, since there's no way of knowing whether
they're living in some sort of fake Matrixworld.
Eventually, Jack gets fed up and realizes that he's never
going to get his son to agree with him about basic facts. He drops Heinrich off
at school. As Heinrich walks away, Jack is overcome with the desire to hug his
son tightly and protect him from the mean world of middle school.
In his classroom the next day, one of Jack's students asks
him about a plot to kill Hitler back in World War Two. Jack answers by saying
that "All plots tend to move deathward" (6.51). He doesn't quite know
what he means, but it turns out that death is going to be pretty much the
central theme of this book. Just wait for it…