White Noise

Jack’s fourteen-year-old son, and the oldest of the children living with the family. Heinrich is an eclectic know-it-all determined to confound his father by intelligently employing obscure knowledge that distorts simple logic. Armed with esoteric facts, rhetorical finesse, and strange fascinations, he is constantly ready and willing to refute common knowledge. His friends are severe: one, Tommy Roy Foster, is a prisoner convicted of murder with whom Heinrich plays chess by mail; another, Orest Mercator, is an older boy training to beat the Guinness World Record for the length of time spent in a cage with poisonous snakes. As evidenced by these friends with warped interests and pasts, Heinrich is drawn to calamity and is brought to life by disastrous events, ultimately coming into his own while lecturing a group of panicked evacuees about the airborne toxic event.

Heinrich Quotes in White Noise

The White Noise quotes below are all either spoken by Heinrich or refer to Heinrich. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Fear, Death, and Control Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of White Noise published in 2009.
Chapter 6 Quotes

Our senses? Our senses are wrong a lot more often than they’re right. This has been proved in the laboratory. Don’t you know about all those theorems that say nothing is what it seems?

Related Characters: Heinrich (speaker), Jack Gladney
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 10 Quotes

Who knows what I want to do? Who knows what anyone wants to do? How can you be sure about something like that? Isn’t it all a question of brain chemistry, signals going back and forth, electrical energy in the cortex? How do you know whether something is really what you want to do or just some kind of nerve impulse in the brain? […] It’s all this activity in the brain and you don’t know what’s you as a person and what’s some neuron that just happens to fire or just happens to misfire. Isn’t that why Tommy Roy killed those people?

Related Characters: Heinrich (speaker), Jack Gladney, Janet Savory, Tommy Roy Foster
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint oc

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Heinrich Character Timeline in White Noise

The timeline below shows where the character Heinrich appears in White Noise. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6
Fear, Death, and Control Theme Icon
Uncertainty and Authority Theme Icon
While driving his fourteen-year-old son, Heinrich, to school one day, Jack finds himself trapped in a circuitous debate about whether or... (full context)
Chapter 10
Fear, Death, and Control Theme Icon
Consumer Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Plots and History Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Jack goes upstairs to find Heinrich deliberating over his next move in a chess game he’s playing with an imprisoned murderer,... (full context)
Chapter 13
Fear, Death, and Control Theme Icon
Uncertainty and Authority Theme Icon
Consumer Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Plots and History Theme Icon
Babette calls Jack at his office to tell him that Heinrich was down at the river during the search for the Treadwells (Gladys Treadwell, the old... (full context)
Chapter 14
Fear, Death, and Control Theme Icon
Uncertainty and Authority Theme Icon
Consumer Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Plots and History Theme Icon
One night, Heinrich breathlessly summons everybody to the TV, which is playing plane crash footage. This greatly excites... (full context)
Chapter 21
Fear, Death, and Control Theme Icon
Uncertainty and Authority Theme Icon
Approaching his house on foot one snowy day, Jack sees Heinrich perched on a ledge outside the attic looking east through binoculars. Going up to join... (full context)
Fear, Death, and Control Theme Icon
Uncertainty and Authority Theme Icon
An hour later—after failing to shovel the walkway, as his father asked him to do—Heinrich is once more in the attic, this time with a radio and a map. He... (full context)
Fear, Death, and Control Theme Icon
Uncertainty and Authority Theme Icon
Consumer Culture and Identity Theme Icon
Jack goes back to the attic and talks to Heinrich, who tells him that the radio is no longer talking about nausea, vomiting, and shortness... (full context)
Fear, Death, and Control Theme Icon
Uncertainty and Authority Theme Icon
...outside. Finally, they hear the voice of a fire captain coming from a passing car; Heinrich runs to the window to listen more carefully and learns that they are being told... (full context)
Fear, Death, and Control Theme Icon
Uncertainty and Authority Theme Icon
...in strip malls unaware of what is going on, deeply confused by the sudden traffic. Heinrich, for his part, seems to have become extra animated in his attention to the situation.... (full context)
Fear, Death, and Control Theme Icon
Uncertainty and Authority Theme Icon
...turns of the radio, “not to help [him] think but to keep [him] from thinking.” Heinrich notices that the car is almost out of gas. Seeing a gas station ahead, Jack... (full context)
Fear, Death, and Control Theme Icon
Uncertainty and Authority Theme Icon
Consumer Culture and Identity Theme Icon
...and making guesses. Moving from one crowd to the next, Jack is surprised to find Heinrich at the center of one such crowd, talking in great detail about Nyodene D. His... (full context)
Fear, Death, and Control Theme Icon
Uncertainty and Authority Theme Icon
Plots and History Theme Icon
...future. The blind listeners seem unfazed by the ludicrous nature of the stories. Jack and Heinrich fall into a conversation in which Heinrich points out that, despite the advanced society they... (full context)
Chapter 24
Fear, Death, and Control Theme Icon
Walking down the hall, Jack sees Heinrich hanging from a chin-up bar. Heinrich tells him that the bar belongs to his friend,... (full context)
Chapter 26
Fear, Death, and Control Theme Icon
Uncertainty and Authority Theme Icon
Consumer Culture and Identity Theme Icon
...around somewhere in your brain.” Jack recognizes in this statement the same logic by which Heinrich argues that humans are “the sum of [their] chemical impulses,” a sentiment he hates, calling... (full context)
Chapter 27
Fear, Death, and Control Theme Icon
Plots and History Theme Icon
...herself a victim. “Is this the future she envisions?” he wonders. At home, he finds Heinrich sitting on the front steps with a clipboard. He too is participating in the simulation—his... (full context)
Chapter 32 
Fear, Death, and Control Theme Icon
Consumer Culture and Identity Theme Icon
The insane asylum catches fire one night, and Jack and Heinrich go to watch it burn. They find other father-son pairs standing alongside them, making comments... (full context)
Chapter 35
Fear, Death, and Control Theme Icon
...of Mr. Gray, but Babette continues to withhold the man’s information. One night, Jack takes Heinrich and Orest out to dinner and quizzes his son’s friend yet again about his desire... (full context)
Chapter 38
Fear, Death, and Control Theme Icon
Stopping by Heinrich’s room, Jack asks if Orest has entered the snake cage yet. Heinrich tells him that... (full context)