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White Noise

Don DeLillo

Chapters 12–14

Chapters 9–11

Chapters 12–14, page 2

page 1 of 3

Summary: Chapter 12

Jack and Howard Dunlop have a German lesson. Jack describes how Dunlop sounds as if he were violating the laws of nature when he speaks German. Jack tries to tease some personal information out of the reticent Dunlop, who volunteers the information that he also teaches Greek, Latin, sailing, and meteorology. Dunlop turned to meteorology after his mother’s death and found the study of weather patterns deeply comforting.

Jack finds Bob Pardee, Denise’s father and Babette’s ex-husband, at his house when he returns from his lesson. Bob takes the three older children out to dinner while Jack drives Babette to her tabloid-reading appointment at Old Man Treadwell’s. A few minutes after dropping her off, Babette comes back to the car and says Mr. Treadwell and his elder sister are missing. They report the disappearance to the police, then go to meet Bob and the kids at a donut shop. Jack sees Babette look carefully and sympathetically at Bob, as if she were trying to comprehend the four dramatic years they spent together.

The next day, the police begin to drag the river in search of the Treadwells.

Summary: Chapter 13

While Heinrich watches the proceedings at the river, word comes that the Treadwells have been discovered at the local shopping mall, where they’d been for four days. Two of those days were spent huddled in a kiosk, while the sister foraged for scraps of food from garbage cans. No one knows how the two of them got there or why they didn’t call for help. Jack surmises that the Treadwells were most likely overwhelmed by the vast strangeness of the mall and overcome by their own helplessness.

Before the Treadwells were found in the mall, the police called in a psychic named Adele T. to help locate them. She didn’t help the police at all in that search, but she did lead them to two kilos of heroin, stashed away in an airline bag with a handgun. Though Adele has helped the police find evidence of many criminal activities, she has always done so when she was looking for something else.

Summary: Chapter 14

Denise comes into Jack’s bedroom and asks him what they are going to do about Babette’s memory lapses. She tells Jack that she found a bottle of medication buried in the trash. The drug is called Dylar, but Denise can’t find references to the drug anywhere. Jack tries to reassure Denise, telling her that everyone takes something. Denise doesn’t seem comforted, but she drops the subject.

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