White Noise Questions and Answers
by Don DeLillo

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Summarize the characters of White Noise.

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White Noise captures the quality of daily existence in media-saturated, hyper-capitalistic postmodern America, and its characters are very much an extension of a society obsessed with chemical cures. The family structure is in the midst of disintegration in this novel, as characters tend not to know who they are or who anyone else is.

Jack Gladney: Jack is the narrator and protagonist of the novel and Chair of Hitler studies at College-on-the-Hill. He is obsessively afraid of death—which drives much of the novel and generally influences his reflections. He lives with his wife, Babette, and their...

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agionet3 | Student

The novel White Noise by Don DeLillo contains a few characters whose motives drive the plot of the book. The main characters are as follows:

Jack Gladney: Jack is the narrator of White Noise. He works as the chairman of Hitler Studies at College-on-the-Hill and lives in Blacksmith with his wife, Babette, and their four children from previous marriages. Jack's obsession with death, based partly off his own conscious and subconscious fears and partly from the constant reminders he finds in the outside world, is a main plot point throughout the novel.

Babette: Babette is Jack's wife and the mother of two children, Wilder and Denise. She teaches adult education classes and has, similar to Jack, a deep-seeded fear of dying. However, she keeps this secret from Jack and attempts to use an experimental treatment to address this issue, with mixed results.

Heinrich: Heinrich is Jack's 14-year-old son from his ex-wife. He is very skeptical and constantly questioning his father.

Other characters within the novel include Willie Mink, project manager from the experimental drug Babette tries; Murray Jay Siskind, Jack's colleague and a professor at the college; Howard Dunlop, Jack's German teacher; Steffie, Jack's daughter; Wilder and Denise, Babette's children; and Winnie Richards, a neuroscientist at the college. While this is not a comprehensive list on all the characters in the novel, it covers the most vital ones.