Analysis Of Don Delillo's Falling Man

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The main character in Don DeLillo’s novel Falling Man (2007) is a lawyer, Keith Neudecker, who was working in the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. He is one of the few people who managed to escape the towers before they collapsed, with only a wrist injury. The main focus in this novel lies on both Keith and his estranged wife Lianne, as it follows their struggle to return to life as it was before the attacks. The trauma of the characters shapes the novel in terms of structure and pace, making it very unstructured and chaotic. The reader witnesses a story of fragmentation, repetition and incoherent traumatic narrative. The attacks of September 11th “haunt not just the characters but the narrative itself“ (Baelo-Allué 69). The novels opens as Keith is walking out of one of the towers, towards the apartment of his ex-wife…show more content…
There are three main parts, named after a few of the novel’s characters: Bill Lawton, Ernst Hechinger and David Janiak. Though Bill Lawton is not an actual character but an Americanized version of Bin Laden, the American imagination of him as the personification of evil is a real presence in the novel. The novel’s point of view shifts between Keith and Lianne but also Hammad, one of the terrorists, and Florence, Keith’s mistress and fellow survivor. These shifts in narrative cause chronological chaos, mostly Hammad’s narrative at the end of each of the three parts, because his narrative takes place right before the attacks. The shift in narrative also contributes to the chaotic feeling of Keith and Lianne’s trauma. Baelo-Allué argues that DeLillo does not use a “traditional mode of representation” because that is “inadequate when trying to show what psychic trauma feels like.” (Baelo-Allué 70). In DeLillo’s novel, trauma is displayed through narrative style of the novel. The chaotic narrative structure symbolizes Keith’s disrupted state of mind, which is shown in the following
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