Chapter 1 Summary

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 499

Don DeLillo has written fourteen novels and three plays; he has won many awards both national and international. His novel Underworld was named one of the best novels of the past twenty-five years. Falling Man was published in 2007.

Illustration of PDF document

Download Falling Man Study Guide

Subscribe Now


The scene is terrifying. Ash is falling from the sky, and the sky is darker than it should be this time of day. People are running through the debris and mud; many are holding jackets over their heads and handkerchiefs over their mouths. Some have taken shelter under cars. A man in a suit, holding a briefcase, sees smoke, ash, and debris flying around him on all sides. Otherworldly things are happening in the unexpected morning darkness. It is noisy and unnatural.

Faces are a thousand feet above, looking down, and there is a stench of burning fuel and the sound of sirens. There is something else, something that does not belong: a shirt is coming down out of the high smoke. He watches it as it drifts and falls near the river.

Many people have stopped to look back at the “writhing lives” and “scorched objects” behind them. Someone steps out of a doorway and hands him a bottle of water; he is unable to use his left arm. He is wounded but still walking. Policemen and security guards, hands on the butts of their guns, are running into the chaos.

Around him people are “shedding water” from the sprinkler systems, and personal items of all kinds are lying discarded in the streets: laptops and handbags and shoes, as well as masses of paper including resumes, contracts, and business documents. People are running then stopping in disbelief, many of them veering down side streets. There is fire, smoke, and ash. Runners out for their morning jog cannot believe what they see, and members of the tai chi group in the park...

(The entire section contains 499 words.)

Unlock This Study Guide Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this Falling Man study guide. You'll get access to all of the Falling Man content, as well as access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

  • Summary
  • Chapter Summaries
  • Themes
  • Characters
  • Analysis
  • Critical Essays
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Chapter 2 Summary

Explore Study Guides