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Characters

Babette

Characters Babette

Babette, Jack’s fourth wife, is described as the quintessential loving mother and spouse. Slightly overweight, with a head full of messy blond hair, Babette bakes cookies for the children, tells her husband everything, and, in her free time, reads tabloids to the blind and teaches a course on posture to the elderly. In her apparent honesty and sincerity, Babette contrasts with Jack’s previous wives, who were closed off and secretive. Jack takes great comfort from Babette and the openness that characterizes their marriage. Babette, however, has secretly been taking an experimental drug called Dylar. When first Denise and then Jack confront her about the pills, Babette completely denies any knowledge of it. Only after Jack finds a pill and has it analyzed does Babette confess that she has been sleeping with a doctor in exchange for Dylar, in the hopes that the drug would relieve her own overwhelming fear of death. The shift in Babette’s personality, from open and loving to evasive and cynical, reflects the novel’s pervasive concern with the fluctuating and unstable nature of identity.