“What if death is nothing but sound?”

“Electrical noise.”

“You hear it forever. Sound all around. How awful.”

“Uniform, white.”

Babette and Jack’s conversation about the substance of death in the middle of Chapter 26 is the first and only time that white noise becomes specifically equated with death. Throughout the novel, Jack’s acute awareness of the noise that surrounds him has been an integral part of his character and narrative style. For Jack, life is made up of a never-ending hum of sounds, which emanate from the radio, television, traffic, air, and the people in his life. He hears sound wherever he is, which, given his fear of death, is now understandable. Jack’s fear of dying has been the principal motive behind many of his life choices, from his study of Hitler to his failed marriages. We can see now that this fear also relates to his very perception of reality as an assemblage of sounds. To some degree, Jack already lives in the white noise of death he is so afraid of.