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Familiar myths: the treatment of terrorism in Don DeLillo’s Falling Man
Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, English. (KIG)
2010 (English)In: Symposium Representations of American Family, Uppsala, 2010Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The family – understood not merely as a social unit but also as a western institution – holds a privileged position in recent American fiction treating the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In many of these works, the family, and in particular the conjugal family with children at the forefront as icons of innocence and vulnerability, functions as an allegorical site for fictionalising local and global conflicts. It serves as a symbolical image onto which are projected anxieties about national security, the future welfare of the citizen and of the state. A noteworthy, if seldom recognised, element in the treatment of the family in these novels is the centrality of the relationship between the middle-aged child and the aged parent. This familial tie is particularly significant since it articulates the psychological and cultural effects of September 11. In particular, it is the figure of the ageing and demented parent, the paper argues, that embodies the thematised sense of confusion, insecurity, and fear and it is in relation to this figure that the characters manage the shock of the attacks. Focusing on Don DeLillo’s Falling Man (2007), and drawing on recent research within family and childhood studies, the paper aims to show that the aged parents’ mental and physical degeneration becomes a prism through which not merely discourses on terrorism are examined, but also American self-perception.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala, 2010.
National Category
Specific Literatures
Research subject
Kultur, identitet och gestaltning
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-5171OAI: oai:dalea.du.se:5171DiVA: diva2:522235
Conference
Symposium Representations of American Family , Uppsala, 13-Dec, 2010
Available from: 2011-01-04 Created: 2011-01-04 Last updated: 2015-08-20Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • chicago-author-date
  • chicago-note-bibliography
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf