Study Guide

White Noise Family

By Don DeLillo


You might normally think that parents are the ones who are supposed to tell their kids what's what. But in White Noise, it's often the kids who take on the role of bestowing wisdom on the family.

Denise is always scolding her mom for chewing cancer-causing gum or wasting food. Heinrich gives his professor dad a seminar on the nature of reality, and doesn't back down when his dad tells him he's wrong. All in all, the modern information age has given kids more knowledge than they've ever had before. Since the kids are the ones who watch TV and listen to the radio, they usually end up knowing more about stuff than their parents.

Questions About Family

  1. Do you find it believable that Denise, an eleven-year-old, talks to her mom the way she does? Have you ever met an eleven-year-oldlike her?
  2. Do you think Jack and Babette are good parents? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think it's Jack's fault that he's been married five times? How much is he to blame for all those divorces? How much are his ex-wives to blame?

Chew on This

In <em>White Noise</em>, Don DeLillo shows us that the traditional family hierarchy of parents over children can't exist in an age where children access more information than their parents.

In <em>White Noise</em>, Don DeLillo despairingly shows that the modern world has taken away precious childhood innocence by giving them too much knowledge at too early an age.Ā 

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