Don Delillo’s White Noise explores one mans emotional struggles, and his love/hate relationship with technology in twentieth-century America. The novel takes place in Blacksmith, a small college town with a college known as the College-on-the-hill. Jack Gladney, the narrator and main character, is known to be “a big, aging, harmless, indistinct sort of guy”(83) He is an accomplished family man, a professor at the College-on-the-hill, a husband wanting to please his wife, someone who struggles with the fear of dying. From technology to modern society, Delillo created the character Jack to show the impact of the media on our families and our society.
White Noise gives us an inside look into the life of Jack Gladney, showing readers that there is a Jack in every family, and maybe a little bit in everyone. Jack is a professor at the College-on-the-hill in Blacksmith, he teaches Hitler studies-an area of education that he created, partly because of his disturbing obsession with the man himself. Adding to Jacks obsession “the chancellor at the school felt, that in order for his students to take him seriously he suggested, that Jack grow into Hitler-by changing parts of his identity, and changing his name from Jack Gladney, to J.A.K Gladney” (16-17). Of course, this was only when Jack is teaching, at home he is himself, a family man. Jack’s personal life is something, unfortunately, the majority of people can relate to in today‘s society. Jack was married three times before marrying Babette-who was married previously herself, has a daughter, Denise, from her pervious marriage, and Wilder is Jacks son. Unlike Jacks previous wives Tweedy Bonner- who is the mother of Jacks daughter Bee, and worked in intelligence, Dana Breedlove-who is the mother of Jacks daughter Steffie, and worked in intelligence, and Janet Savory- who is the mother of Jacks son Heinrich, and also, worked in intelligence. Babette is a full-time housewife, and part-time “ she teaches classes to the elderly, and read’s to old man Treadwell from different tabloids- National Enquirer, National Examiner, National Express, The Globe, The World, The Star” (5) Jack has a different, and much closer relationship with Babette than he did with his previous wives. They are more open with each other, sharing everything.
As a family Jack, Babette, Denise, Bee, Steffie, Wilder, and Heinrich have their “Friday ritual, they order Chinese food and watch TV together. Babette made it a rule. She seems
to think that if the kids watched TV one night a week with parents or stepparents, the effect would be to de-glamorize the medium”…(16) Babette and Jack worried about the amount of TV the children watched but, more, they worry about the content on the TV.
They realize the growth, and the demand of technology in modern society will continue whether they like or not. Jacks paranoia grew with modern society. One day, Jack noticed Heinrich’s hairline was receding, Jack thought:
“Did his mother...