Jack Gladney is the protagonist and narrator of the novel. Heinrich Gerhardt is the fourteen-year-old son of Jack and Janet Savory.
He is a professor of Hitler studies at a liberal arts college in middle America. They have six children from previous marriages, and they are currently living with four of these children. He is precociously intellectual, prone to be contrary, and plays correspondence chess with an imprisoned mass murderer.
He has been married five times to four women and rears a brood of children and stepchildren (Heinrich, Denise, Steffie, Wilder) with his current wife, Babette.
Jack and Babette are both extremely afraid of death; they frequently wonder which of them will be the first to die.
The first part of White Noise, called "Waves and Radiation", is a chronicle of contemporary family life combined with academic satire.
There is little plot development in this first section, which mainly serves as an introduction to the characters and themes which dominate the rest of the book.
She manages the financial businesses of an ashram in Montana, where she is known as Mother Devi.
Before that she worked as a foreign-currency analyst for a secret group of advanced theorists.
Dana Breedlove is Jack's first and fourth wife and the mother of Mary Alice and Steffie.
She works part time for the CIA and conducts covert drop-offs in Latin America. Bee is the twelve-year-old daughter of Jack and Tweedy Browner. Tweedy Browner is Jack's second wife and the mother of Bee.