That is an ominous concern for Jack about his relationship with his loved wife Babette. The description the author uses for Jack's thought process on this question tells us how deeply he is in love with Babette. This love being so strong that it flares a selfish desire to rather have himself die first, rather than the other. His desire to be with and love Babbette is greater than the fear of his own death.
"This question comes up from time to time, like where are the car keys. It ends a sentence, prolongs a glance between us. I wonder if the thought itself is part of the nature of physical love, or a reverse Darwinism that awards sadness and fear to the survivor."2
This thought is a selfish death desire, because Jack would rather Babbette to be left alone rather than himself if she were to die first. Of course Delillo makes certain the "white noise" plays its part and penetrates through everything by comparing the fleeting thought to missing car keys. At most times the characters are unconscious of the realities of life and death. But when inspected upon, uncomfortable consciousness of death develops like when you pay attention to the constant blinking of your own eye.
The hum of the "white noise" has an anesthetic effect on the thoughts of death which is made possible by its power over the truth. ...Show more