White Noise


Don DeLillo

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White Noise: Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

Despite the fact that Jack is the head of the Hitler Studies department, he doesn’t speak a word of German. He is deeply embarrassed about this, especially since students aren’t even allowed to major in Hitler Studies without taking at least one year of German classes. Because the College-on-the-Hill is hosting a major Hitler conference during the Spring, though, he is determined to learn the language, knowing that actual Germans will be in attendance. He begins attending private German lessons conducted by a man named Dunlop, a reclusive gentleman Murray refers him to who lives in the board housing near the insane asylum.
Jack’s ignorance of the German language is a tangible manifestation of his insecurity. Beneath his authoritative role as the department chairman lies a feeling of fraudulence and inferiority, as if he is an imposter who doesn’t deserve the position he has. This is in keeping with his earlier assertion, “I am the false character that follows the name around.”
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