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Jack's Family Friday Night Routine in Don DeLillo's White Noise

May 17, 2024

In Don DeLillo's critically acclaimed novel White Noise, the protagonist Jack Gladney and his family have a unique yet seemingly mundane Friday night routine. This routine, like many aspects of the novel, serves as a reflection of American society and a commentary on family life in the 20th century. Settling down for their Friday night, Jack, his wife Babette, and their children engage in a tradition that includes a family dinner, watching television together, and shared discussions.

The family dinner is an opportunity for the Gladney family to come together at the end of a busy week. They gather around the table, enjoying good food like hamburgers, tacos, or pizza, allowing the children to play an active role in the meal's preparation. This gathering also serves as a chance for Jack and Babette to reconnect after spending the week immersed in their respective roles and responsibilities.

Following dinner, the family turns their attention to the television. Glued to the screen, the members of the Gladney clan immerse themselves in the world of television, an integral part of modern American culture. The shows they watch, such as disaster movies, commercials, and news programs, become a means of bonding and shared experience. They engage in conversation about these programs, dissecting the storylines and themes, an exercise that both unites the family and reflects on the wider implications of the media presented.

Lastly, the family engages in shared discussions and bedtime routines. The children provide insight into their feelings, thoughts, and experiences from their week, while Jack and Babette do the same. This exchange works to strengthen the bonds between family members and provide a sense of stability in an uncertain world.

In sum, the Friday night routine of Jack's family in Don DeLillo's White Noise is a testament to the importance of strong family ties, tradition, and connection to the wider social environment. By grounding themselves in routines that emphasize togetherness, the Gladneys are able to navigate the chaotic and ever-changing landscape of modern America.

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