To what extent is the novel "falling man" concerned with the topic of globalization?

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

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This is truly an interesting question because this book runs in an endless circle (and not a usual plot line) that involves the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.  Any concern "with the topic of globalization" involves how people deal with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and the scars it causes.

The novel focuses on the character of Keith (who escapes the building, but witnesses a man falling from the top), his wife, and some other New Yorkers who wander the streets with him.  Keith and these other characters deal with the attack or BURY it.  They are all wandering, and in some cases hallucinating.

Keith, at one point, approaches the idea of globalization by imagining the faces of the terrorists who flew into the buildings and asking them WHY they did it.  It turns out, according to Keith's hallucination, that the terrorists thought what they were doing was right. 

Everyone in the story is trying, somehow, to remove themselves from the past.  This is impossible in that the past becomes an indelible part of our lives, even according to the specifics of the PTSD condition.  There is grand evidence here, especially in the author's style:

this was the man who would not submit to her need for probing intimacy, overintimacy, the urge to ask, examine, delve, draw things out, trade secrets, tell everything. it was a need that had the body in it, hands, feet, genitals, scummy odors, clotted dirt, even if it was all talk or sleepy murmur.

In conclusion, we must say that this novel remains a circle of trauma.  This is trauma that can and does still affect the WHOLE GLOBE (hence globalization).  This not only involves the memory of September 11th, but also of any attack of PTSD for anyone, anywhere.  Unfortunately, the severity of PTSD is a circle.  Keith begins the story broken, battered, and bleeding.  Keith ENDS the story broken, battered, and bleeding:  the same character wandering the New York streets.

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