Literature in Response to the September Critical Essays


(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Literature in Response to the September 11 Attacks

Books, poems, essays, plays, and articles in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

On September 11, 2001, the United States sustained the most intense terrorist attack in its history. Two jet airliners crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, followed shortly thereafter with a third plane crashing into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. A fourth plane went down in a remote area of Pennsylvania—it is believed that it was headed for the White House. In all, over 4,000 people died in the attacks, including hundreds who were in the buildings and airliners themselves, as well as many of the firefighters, police officers, and other emergency personnel who tried to come to the aid of the victims. It is believed that the attacks were sponsored by al-Qaeda, an extremist Islamic terrorist organization led by a man named Osama bin Laden.

As the United States tried to recover from its losses, many journalists, writers, poets, artists, and survivors responded to the tragedy in their own words, with articles, books, columns, and more. The following criticism provides an overview of those responses, as well as a selection of essays addressing the importance and need for literature in times of tragedy and despair.