Don DeLillo on “Falling Man”

  Don DeLillo was born on November 20, 1936, to an Italian immigrant family in Fordham, New York City. He moved with his parents to Powell, Pennsylvania, in eastern Pennsylvania when he was a child. In 1954, DeLillo entered Fordham University to study theology, philosophy and history. Modern painting, jazz, European cinema and the avant-garde art of Greenwich Village were fun and instructive. The Catholic education he received from an early age has always influenced him. In the mysterious atmosphere, rituals, and teachings of the church, he saw how imaginary abstract systems, dogmas, and beliefs manipulate people’s thoughts and behaviors and drive them to extremes, which deeply influenced DeLillo’s later creations. After graduating from college in 1958, DeLillo worked for an advertising agency and began writing literature in his spare time. Today, he has become one of the four major contemporary American writers, a unique and charming leader in the postmodern novel camp, an academician of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and has a high reputation in academia. He has published 14 novels, 3 plays and many short stories Novels, essays. His works have a wide range of themes, mostly reflecting the contemporary American history, politics, and cultural crisis. He pays particular attention to the impact of American mass media, consumer culture, and ideology on human behavior, thought, psychology, and emotion. For his prolific writing and his portrayal of postmodern living conditions, some have called him “another type of Balzac”. In 2005, “The New York Times Book Review” magazine selected the best novels in the United States since 1980. Among them, DeLillo has three novel candidates, “White Noise”, “Libra” and “Underworld”.
  DeLillo’s “Falling Man”, published on May 15, 2007, received critical acclaim upon its release, although many have focused on the “9-11” trauma and post-9.11 society. Syndrome, but DeLillo’s “Falling Man” is considered one of the best to date, on par with DeLillo’s culmination of “White Noise” (1985).
  This is a photo that shocked the world. At 9:41:15 a.m. on September 11, 2001, on the day the United States was hit by the “9.11” terrorist attack, when the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York were enveloped in thick smoke and flames, a man named Richard, German Lu’s American photographer took the photo, titled “The Falling Man.” At that time, the photographer just aimed the lens at the North Tower. Afterwards, Drew said: “You can hear the sound of them falling from the building. It was a heavy impact. It was like bags of cement falling to the ground.” Jonathan Briley, 43, is a sound engineer at a restaurant atop the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The scene of Jonathan’s desperate jump from the building became one of the most famous and saddened images of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. For several years, Jonathan’s family thought he died in the rubble of the World Trade Center. On the morning Jonathan jumped to his death, he kissed his wife Hillary goodbye before heading to work at the Window of the World restaurant atop the North Tower of the World Trade Center in Manhattan. At 8:45 a.m., less than an hour before Jonathan started work, the American Airlines plane hijacked by terrorists crashed into the North Tower.
  Writer Don DeLillo was inspired by such a photo to create the work “Alling Man”, which the writer once described in the novel through the perspective of the heroine Leon. Photo: When he first saw the photo in the newspaper, Leon “had a huge shock in his heart. The man was head down, and behind him was the tower. The huge building filled the whole picture. The man was falling, she It felt like the tower could collapse at any moment behind him. Huge lines pierced the sky, vertical pillars streaked. The man’s shirt was bloodied, maybe it was burn marks; the pillars behind him created a strong compositional effect: the near The tower – the north tower – is a darker line, the other tower is a brighter line, the picture is a huge building, and the man is almost between the light and dark lines. She thought, head down, Free fall; the image burned a hole in her soul, dear God, he is a fallen angel, and his beauty is terrifying.”
  The protagonist of the story is a survivor of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the novel is about the impact of that day’s experience on his subsequent life. The curtain of the novel slowly opened, and a 39-year-old lawyer, Keith Neudecker, fled his office in the World Trade Center. He had escaped from the horrific incident, his wounds were bleeding non-stop, and he was overwhelmed with other people’s briefcases in his hands. to his former residence. Now there lives his estranged wife, Leon, and their seven-year-old son, Justin. After the separation, Case lives near the World Trade Center so he can walk to work. The sudden change of Case appeared in front of Leon with shards of glass still left on his face. Although Leon’s mother strongly opposed her daughter’s acceptance of Case again, Leon couldn’t bear it and took Case to the hospital for treatment. Both parties are also working to repair their nearly broken marriage. After a period of time, Case gradually recovered from the physical and psychological trauma, and he and Leon returned to a normal home life. However, the good times did not last long, and Case had an extramarital affair with another middle-aged black woman, Florence. The cause of the incident was that Case took Florence’s briefcase by mistake in a panic, and when it was returned to her, she learned that the other party was also a survivor of the incident. Perhaps because of the same illness, they found some solace in each other until they had an extramarital affair. But then Case gradually cut ties with her. After the disaster, Case couldn’t go back to the past. He fell into poker gambling and couldn’t extricate himself. He took the opportunity to find relief and stimulation. While Leon had hoped to restore their family relationship, they found themselves drifting apart. Case became a professional poker player, traveling the world and participating in various poker tournaments. But during this time, he kept recalling the poker friend who died on 9/11, which became his lingering nightmare. What the writer wants to express is precisely that many New Yorkers like Keyes have experienced the “9.11” incident, and their lives have been full of loss and sadness since then, and the emotional world has become devastated.
  The novel also tells about the situation of Keyes’ ex-wife Leon. She runs a writing class for some Alzheimer’s patients, encouraging the elderly to write their own life insights and fight against the disease. Leon’s father committed suicide because of his Alzheimer’s fears, which was a huge stimulus to her. Leon’s mother is a retired art history professor. She is dying and her physique is gradually weakening. In Leon’s view, ruthless years are the greatest enemy of human life. In addition, what makes Leon particularly intolerable is the constant looping of a neighbor’s music from the Middle East, which undoubtedly brings back painful memories of the “9.11” incident. In addition, Don DeLillo paints the story of two other men who have appeared in the novel several times, one as a performance artist who, ten days after the events of 9/11, began to travel around New York City’s major cities When performing on the building, he was wearing a formal suit, a tie, and leather shoes. He always hung himself in the air with his head down and feet up, and kept himself in a motionless falling posture, causing people to watch. , this special feeling and metaphor shown by the performance artist, the writer shows the reader in front of the reader from the perspective of the heroine Leon: “The man who fell’ jumped from the overhead when the train passed, “the man on the train Some will see him standing here, some will see him jump, and they will all be shocked, from the fantasy, from the newspaper they are reading, from the act of dumbfounded speaking into the phone.” Those passengers had no idea that he was wearing a seat belt. All they could see was him falling down, out of their sight. In Leon’s conjecture, those people would use their cellphones to describe to others what they had seen or someone next door saw and tried to describe to them. “Fundamentally, there is only one thing they have to say. Someone has fallen. Someone who has fallen.” After reading this, readers should be able to immerse themselves in the situation and understand the intention of the performance artist: to remind people not to forget from the People falling from the World Trade Center. DeLillo also intentionally described the artist’s behavior Linked to the imagery in the photo, it recalls the horrific scene of a person caught in flames falling or being forced to jump in the twin towers of the World Trade Center: a man in free fall, head down, hands at his sides, one leg Bending, behind the looming tower pillar facade; the other man is a hijacker named Hamed, a member of the Islamist extremist group in Hamburg, who infiltrated the United States and participated in the hijacking of the twin towers of the World Trade Center. action. DeLillo not only vividly described Hamad’s experience of being trained in a “base” in Afghanistan, planning a terrorist attack in Hamburg, Germany, receiving flight training in Florida, and even crashing into a building later, but also meticulously portraying Hamad’s experience. How Murder went on such a road of no return, and his state of mind before the crash. The novel fully displays the lives of three men and one woman around a huge historical event, and vividly shows the atmosphere and psychological situation of the American era.
  It is not difficult for attentive readers to discover the good intentions of the writer Don DeLillo in creating this novel. The English title of “Falling Man” is actually a pun. According to the English meaning of the word “fall” in the “English-Chinese Dictionary” (1998) edited by Shanghai Translation Publishing House Lu Gusun, except that it means “fall, fall, fall” In addition to “degenerate, (in terms of status, power, reputation, etc.) decline, lose power, fall, (cities, positions, etc.) fall, be conquered” meaning. “9.11” incident on the American mind The shock was extremely huge, and it made Americans lose their sense of security. The eyes of others seemed to be filled with doubt and fear, which was completely different from the original clarity, simplicity and enthusiasm. American society tends to be conservative, and the attitude towards Muslims is very different. Distrust, cultural division, Americans began to doubt those who were culturally and racially different from their own. DeLillo’s deliberate choice of the word fall not only poignantly satirizes the dehumanization of terrorists, but also criticized the fall of the terrorists in “9” 11 “The mental depression and degeneration of Americans after the incident. As a writer who closely observes the trend of society, Don DeLillo also extends his tentacles into this incident, refracting the experience of a survivor” The impact of 9/11 on Americans.
  ”Falling Man” is a “beautiful but confusing” novel, don’t expect to read it like reading other mainstream works, the storyline will take you on a straight-line journey. The plot of this novel, however, is circular, taking the reader back and forth around this central point, eventually returning to the place where the story took place – the World Trade Center, which was on the verge of collapse due to the impact of two hijacked jetliners. Building: At the end of the novel, the reader seems to be walking out of the building with Case, thinking “this is where the disaster happened, all around him, everything is falling, signs, people, and things he can’t say”. Readers will also follow Case’s gaze and see a shirt floating in the air, “seeing it fall, with its sleeves waving, as if in another world”.
  The author DeLillo himself once said: “For me, the ultimate goal of a novel is to create a mystery, always leaving a lot of questions unanswered.” Through “Falling Man”, DeLillo helps readers see into life. Fragile, the author brings grand historical events to a personal level in complex and wise words, capturing the emotional emptiness so deeply felt by New Yorkers in the years after 9/11 with unparalleled precision. with vague despair. Although the academic community generally believes that DeLillo is a representative writer of American postmodernism, it is interesting that in an interview, the writer stated that he was a modernist writer, and he shared with Joyce, Faulkner, Dos Passos and others. Inheritance. In his creation, he claims to be driven by language, trying to create a multi-effect that integrates vision, hearing and meaning in words. DeLillo is both inside and outside, a unique perspective that makes him acutely aware that we are living in a time of crisis, where terror is everywhere. At the same time, as a social critic, DeLillo sees living on the fringes of society as a writer’s privilege. In his view, the more marginalized a writer is, the more important his work is, because his ultimate goal is to keep the novel alive.