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WHITE NOISE BY DON DELILLO - FREE PLOT SUMMARY
PART 3: DYLARAMA
This chapter begins in the grocery store. People are shopping out of fear of snow and the possibility of being snowed in. Jack runs into Murray. Murray says that his rival for the Elvis Studies job died while surfing in Malibu and so he came right to the store. Murray is losing himself in the exotic products and possibilities of the store.
Jack drops Babette off at her posture class and remarks that ever since the Airborne Toxic Event, the sunsets have been spectacular. People have been flocking to a particular freeway overpass to watch them.
The novel returns to the supermarket. The fact that Murray goes here after he hears that his rival has been killed is significant; surrounding himself by products and placing himself in a system which needs him provides Murray the only comfort he can imagine.
Jack asks to have his German lesson extended by one-half hour each session because his pronunciation is lacking. There are still German shepherds and men in Mylex suits patrolling the city. Babette argues that they have to wear the gear because they are on duty and that there really is nothing bad out; Heinrich says that they are wearing the suits to protect themselves and that the information released is false and misleading. Heinrich argues that what is even worse is having the brain be constantly inundated by radio and TV waves, magnetic fields, microwaves, etc. Jack and Babette change the subject by asking the children about "normal" school subjects like math, geology, political science, and history.
The presence of the men in Mylex suits creates two conflicting conclusions, Babette’s and Heinrich’s: Babette assumes that the suit is part of the uniform and thus they have to wear them; Heinrich assumes that they are wearing them because they know something that everyone else does not. What he thinks is the worst risk to people is the "white noise" that constantly surrounds them. In this, he is ultimately saying that it is the plethora of information, which will kill them.
The next night, Jack finds the Dylar taped under the radiator lid in the bathroom. He tells Denise who has already asked the pharmacists what it is and they did not know. Jack calls her doctor, Hookstratten, and he says that he never prescribed it and does not know what it is either.
Heinrich tells Jack about his friend Mercator who is practicing to break the world’s record for sitting in a cage with deadly snakes. Both agree that people who encourage death and danger deserve whatever harm they receive.
Dylar, the focus of the final third of the novel, is found by Jack. Mercator is introduced: his quest represents that element which seeks fame at all costs, generally by doing something dangerous and stupid to attract a few minutes of fame.
Jack examines the Dylar pills and sees that they are "flying-saucer shaped" and have a tiny hole at one end. He takes on to a neurochemist, Winnie Richards, who works at the college. One of the things Winnie is known for is moving from place to place without being seen.
At home, Babette mentions that the neighbor’s dog seems alien, and that it goes up to the attic window and looks out, as if waiting for instructions to kill someone. Jack tells her that he found the Dylar. She denies knowing what it is and then tells him to meet her in bed in ten minutes.
He sees Winnie and asks her why she is so hard to find. She says that the twentieth century is all about hiding when no one is looking for you. Winnie explains how the "drug delivery system" works, but cannot say what the drug itself is. All she knows is that it affects the brain. In a tangential remark, she says that the human brain makes her proud to be an American because America still leads the world in stimuli.
This chapter reads like a tabloid at times. The pills are described as "flying- saucer shaped," which automatically gives the Dylar an extra-worldly aura. Babette describes the neighbors’ dog much like the postal worker serial killer known as Son of Sam described the dog who told him to kill.
White Noise by Don Delillo-Free Chapter Summary Notes/Synopsis