In our last two novels, Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, and Dom DeLillo’s White Noise we have encountered death throughout the books. The authors have two very different ways of dealing with death. In Blood Meridian, McCarthy’s character stare death in the face, unafraid. However, we have a very different way of dealing with death in White Noise. Our main protagonist in White Noise are very aware of their mortality and are overly obsessed with it to the point of trying to decide who should die first. However, when Jack’s becomes eminent he takes a very evasive stance.
This reality becomes very evident when Denise confronts Jack about his use of Dylar, a drug that we found out is used to cure people’s fear of death. She tries to are logic with Jack saying that the drug hasn’t been shown to really do anything and that it has very adverse side effects. Jack resists this and says “In a very real sense it doesn’t matter what is in those tablets. It could be sugar, it could be spice. I am eager to be humored, to be fooled,” (DeLillo 251). Jack is saying that all he really wants is the peace of mind that comes with the use of the drug whether or not it cures the fear of death. He is not able to deal with it on his own and needs assistance. Even when he finds out that he has been exposed to the airborne toxic event his whole disposition changes. It is explained to him and really does not change much about his life expectancy, but having to deal with the eminency of death strikes fear in him.
I do not think that Jack’s behavior is uncommon at all, I believe many people would have reacted in the same way when facing death. After all who wants to know their exact life expectancy? What allows us to deal with death is that we don’t know exactly when it is coming. “A person spends his life saying good-bye to other people. How does he say good-bye to himself,” (DeLillo 294)?