In Don DeLillo's novel Falling Man, do the characters' views of race (specifically toward the attackers) change after the 9/11 attacks?

2 Answers | Add Yours

auntlori's profile pic

Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Surprisingly, while Don DeLillo's novel Falling Man is about the aftermath of the September 11 attacks in New York City, it deals very little with race or even the attackers themselves. Most of the action centers around Keith and Leanne Neudecker and how they try to make sense of what happened to their coworkers, their city, their marriage, and their own lives. 

As the answer above mentions, Leanne finds her neighbor's Islamic music quite disconcerting; this is more because of the memories it invokes than the actual people who perform or play this music. Three years after the event, Leanne has still not recovered; when she sees the Falling Man, she is transported back to the attacks. Despite that, Leanne has no particular hatred for or animosity toward the attackers or anyone who shares their race or ethnicity

Leanne's mother is concerned about terrorism after the attacks; however, she is not concerned enough to sever her relationship with her lover--a German man who is using another name since he was associated with some acts of political terrorism in his youth.

Keith can really only think about himself and the friends he lost. The entire novel is full of his flashbacks to them, and everything he does in his current life centers around coping with their loss and his near-death. He does not have time or energy to spend on anything else, including racism.

DeLillo does include several chapters which follow the terrorists as they prepare for this attack, ending as the plane crashes; however, these do not impact how the characters feel about their attackers. Instead, they seem designed to impact the readers.

The eNotes link to themes for this novel discusses death, memory, and relationships; race is not part of the discussion. In all, this novel about the aftermath of 9/11 does not really address one of the tragedies which really happened--a sweeping fear and distrust of an entire ethnicity. 

lwawrla's profile pic

lwawrla | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Yes. Lianne doesn't like the music of the islam which is always played by Elena, her neighbour.

We’ve answered 317,505 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question