White Noise


Don DeLillo

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White Noise: Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Jack confides that he often wakes up in the middle of the night, seized by terror about the fact that he will someday die. One day after this happens, he and Babette run into Murray at the supermarket. Murray shows a clear attraction to Babette and holds forth about the various kinds of symbols and messages embedded in the product packaging surrounding them in the grocery store. Jack notes that Murray—a man who left New York City to escape “sexual entanglements”—has a sneaky, cunning, flirtatious edge to his personality. This, however, doesn’t seem to bother Jack, and he and Babette give Murray a ride home to his room in a boarding house near the insane asylum.
For Murray, sexual undertones seem to exist in all elements of life. Even his highfalutin rants are marked by flirtatiousness, a fact that runs parallel to his belief that the products surrounding them in the supermarket project hidden messages. DeLillo toys with this idea of secondary insinuations and undertones, letting it manifest itself not only in what Murray says, but also in how he says it.
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