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. Power and authority can be seen in the noise by Chapter six. The authority of the "white noise" is held on the highest pedestal by Heinrich the genius fourteen year old.
"It's going to rain tonight."
"It's raining now," I said.
"The radio said tonight."3
The unquestioned power of the "white noise" can be seen again in chapter eight, as the character Steffie refuses to challenge its authority.
"We have to boil our water," Steffie said.
"It said on the radio."
"They're always saying boil your water," Babette said.4
Not all the characters are wholly blinded by the white noise as we can tell from the rationalization from Jack and Babette both.
"Just because it's on the radio doesn't meant we have to suspend beliefs in the evidence of our senses."5
The noise appears to take more control over the younger generations. The author described the difference in health and behaviors of people in the town broken down by age groups. One thing stimulated by the noise is the advertising of consumables in the supermarket. This is related to death in the obesity and other health complications over eating can cause. The family is aware that Babette purchases food from the supermarket only to never eat it. Even though she goes unconvinced of other aspects of the "white noise" just like Jack. In the area of purchasing groceries she is a knowing yet unhappily submissive to the authority of the noise, feeling guilty all through her relation ship with food.
"She feels guilty if she doesn't buy it, she feels guilty when she sees it in the fridge, she feels guilty when she throws it away."6
The supermarket in particular is a hot bed of "white noise" life. I must use the word "life" to describe the "white noise" because Delillo hinted at the noise being a