What is the difference between Nina's and Martin's arguments about the impact of terrorism in Don DeLillo's Falling Man?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Falling Man, by Don DeLillo, the story follows Keith and Lianne Neudecker as they attempt to make a life together again after the tragic events of September 11. The central question of the novel is what to think and how to respond to terrorism in its many forms.

Lianne's mother is Nina Bartos and her lover is Martin Ridnour. Ridnour's real name is Ernst Hechinger and, though he is an international art dealer and collector now, he was involved in radical activities when he was young. Those activities probably involved some kind of terroristic elements, but he is quick to dismiss them as part of his past. Nina has been quite shaken by the recent terrorism events but is rather unwilling to admit that she is sleeping with a former terrorist.

In chapter four, Martin has finally arrived in New York (detained by the flight restrictions placed on flights immediately after the attacks) and the couple begins what seems to be a familiar argument over holy wars resulting in heinous acts. Nina contends that Muslims "attack out of panic" while Martin maintains that the Muslims' only fear is a free society, such as America's. Though their reasons are different, both of them tacitly admit that terrorism is not going to go away. The only thing they overtly agree on is that they "are all targets now."

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial