Study Guide

White Noise Drugs & Alcohol

By Don DeLillo

Drugs & Alcohol

Forget about alcohol: White Noise is all about the drugs. More specifically, it's all about a tiny pill called Dylar that totally takes away your fear of death. The only problem is that the pill also destroys your memory and turns you into a drooling zombie.

Throughout this book, the drug Dylar isn't just a drug; it's an exaggerated version of what modern Americans are doing every second of every day: distracting ourselves from thoughts of death. Whether with a pill, a TV, a computer, or simply a delicious milkshake, they numb us to the pain of knowing that we're going to die. 

Questions About Drugs & Alcohol

  1. If you were offered a pill that took away your fear of death and didn't totally ruin your brain, would you take it? Why or why not?
  2. Do you think it would ever be possible to create a pill that made people stop fearing death? Why or why not?
  3. In your opinion, is it a good thing or a bad thing to distract ourselves from fearing death? Are some distractions or pastimes healthier than others? 

Chew on This

In White Noise, DeLillo suggests that it's a shame Dylar ruins people's brains, because having a drug that takes away our fear of death would be awesome.

In White Noise, everything people do to fill their daily lives works on the same logic as a drug. Watching TV, jogging, and texting friends are all just about providing pleasure and eliminating deep, troubling thought. 

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