White Noise


Don DeLillo

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White Noise: Chapter 25 Summary & Analysis

Jack takes a Dylar pill to Winnie Richards, a brilliant neurochemist who is difficult to track down because she runs from place to place, hoping to avoid the scrutiny of her colleagues and their oppressive admirations of her intelligence. While they wait for Winnie’s assessment, Denise shows impressive restraint by not bringing up the subject. In this period, Jack says that Babette can’t “seem to produce a look that [isn’t] significant.” She starts gazing out of windows and off into the distance in the middle of conversations, exhibiting an indifference that starkly contrasts her usual sharp, pragmatic, and attentive attitude. Unable to resist, Jack asks her what’s wrong and, when she denies anything, he tells her that he and Denise found her stash of Dylar. Just when he seems to have cornered her into making a confession, though, she sidetracks him by suggesting that they jump into bed together.
Babette’s withdrawn attitude troubles Jack because he seeks comfort and safety in her presence. If she is distracted, then he is left alone with his fear of death—even more alone that he already is, considering the fact that he has only told Murray about his contamination.
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Jack catches up to Winnie again after having trouble finding her and chasing her through campus. She tells him that the construction of Dylar is ingenious: through the use of a laser-drilled hole, the pill slowly releases its contents into the body, perfectly timing the delivery of the drug into the system in order to avoid wasteful overdoses and withdrawals. However, she’s unable to tell him what Dylar actually does to the body. All she can say is that the medication contains some sort of psychopharmaceutical that is most likely designed to affect part of the human cortex.
Jack no doubt feels a certain amount of uneasiness when he hears that Dylar is ingeniously constructed. Again, he finds himself confronting something he doesn’t understand, like the microorganisms that ate the toxic cloud or like his own (possibly) failing health. The fact that even Winnie (who is supposed to be so brilliant) can’t even say what the drug is designed to do certainly exacerbates this feeling and contributes to the uncertainty associated with the entire matter.
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