White Noise is one of the greatest novels in the world and also one of the greatest works of Don Delillo. In this book, Don Delillo told us a lot of messages such as the disturbing of media, the fear of death and consumerism of Americans. Don Delillo shows us the messages by simply described Jack’s daily life. Every thing happened surround Jack’s life have a hidden message. Family has a most important role in Jack’s life. By jack’s story, we see the patriarchy, the authority and status in the family or society, also the parents’ status inside a family.
Jack has a normal American family. He married five times with four wives. He kept finding his true love and soul-mate. The children have either the same biological mother or father. Married several times and children living with their step-father or step-mother is very usual in American’s society. As all the family in the society, Jack is the financial support, he work at College-on-the-Hill as a chairman of the department of Hitler studies. He had a great success in this field, and famous about Hitler studies. Babette is a house wife. She doesn’t work but take care of the family. We can see that women’s social stated is lower than mean. Women mainly taking care everything about household and children. After Jack found his wife hidden some secret about Dylarma, He picked Denise up at school: “This was the first time I’d ever picked her up at school.” (Delillo 210) Although Denise is not Jack’s daughter, but by this point we can see he may not have time during day time to interaction with the children. This obviously means Babette is the one who taking care of the family. Even nowadays women social status has improved in this modern society, but sadly men still had a higher status.
Most of time, parents play the controller role in a family. They are the symbol of authority, status, and knowledge. Children respect and adore them. Before the children have gain enough knowledge to walk in this reality world, parents always worried about them. In Chinese idiom, “When you rear a child to a hundred years old, you worry for ninety-night years; the worries of parenting.” In the book, Jack always asks a question – Who will die first? Babette properly want to be the first:
“Who will die first? She says she wants to die first because she would feel unbearably lonely and sad without me, especially if the children were grown and living elsewhere. She is adamant about this. She sincerely wants to precede me. She discusses the subject with such argumentative force that it’s obvious she thinks we have a choice in the matter. She also thinks nothing can happen to us as long as there are dependent children in the house. The kids are a guarantee of our relative longevity. We’re safe as long as they’re around. But once they get big and scatter, she wants to be the first to go.” (Delillo 100)
Babette’s mainly afraid of being alone. Children are Babette’s support and what she meant to be. Babette said she want to die first because she felt scared if the children leave her alone.
However children are willing to gain knowledge. They catch every opportunity to gain knowledge. They are willing to contact new stuff and knowledge. “‘”We have boil our water,” Steffie said. “Why?” “It said on the radio.”’ (Delillo 34) “The radio calls it a feathery plume.” (Delillo 111) In White Noise, most of knowledge and information are from media. Children adore someone who is knowledgeable, but gradually this person won’t be their parents. On the other hand, they want to act like adults. “Baba likes a cup when she gets back from class” (Delillo 101) Baba love to drink coffee during class, “Her class is more demanding than it sounds. Coffee relaxes her.” (Delillo 102) Coffee is a symbol of adult’s drinks. After they gain knowledge from all different sources, they try to talk to their parents like an adult. They think to be an adult is to be knowledgeable. One day, six of them inside the car and the children taking about random rumors. “The family is the cradle of the world’s misinformation.” (Delillo 81) Don Delillo wants to show us how messy and how much misinformation the situation will be if everyone came from different a background, especially in Jack’s family. When the children started to have knowledge, their society and family status is going up and they will leave their parents. When Heinrich talked about radiation during the dinner, “The girls looked at him admiringly.” (Delillo 175) Heinrich is one of the children in the family, he is now gaining respect and adore from his sisters. Jack felt fear when he realized the children is growing up and having the status.
“They would attack us, using the classic strategy of fighting among themselves. But attack us for what reason? For not getting them home faster? For being older and bigger and somewhat steadier of mood than they were? Would they attack us for our status as protectors—protectors who must sooner or later fail?” (Delillo 235)
He was fear that the children would no longer respect him and also he felt fear if the children no longer need his protect. He imagined the children would attack him and Babette. He felt weak when he thought the children were going to be strong.
Sometimes parents have too much self-expect. Especially our fathers, they always think they are the strongest person in the family. They afraid lose their power in the family. They think to protect the family is their responsibility. But, let us think more, why not the children protect the parents when they are strong enough? Why not they put down their guard and pass it to the children? Children want to act like adult it because they want to show their ability. Parents should believe in them and be pound of them.