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Postmodern Subjectivity Before and After 9/11: A Comparison of Don DeLillo’s White Noise and Falling Man
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Subjectivity has been one of the major topics in Don DeLillo’s writings. Mass destructive events are often the skeletons of his plots. His works promote the idea that terrorist attacks could happen imminently. By focusing on White Noise and Falling Man, this essay demonstrates a shift in the presentation of subjectivity in DeLillo before and after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. White Noise, published before 9/11, is one of his most acclaimed novels and Falling Man depicts the attacks and their aftermath. Subjectivity in White Noise coincides with the postmodern concept of self, theorized by Simon Malpas and Jean Baudrillard, which entails that subjectivity conveys various identities depending on social context and lacks a core or unique self. Falling Man depicts traumatized subjectivity, which agrees with Cathy Caruth and Dominick LaCapra’s concept of trauma. The subjectivity presented in Falling Man is even more intangible than the one in White Noise. Here, one’s identity collapses in a free fall into a state of confusion and despair. The paper concludes that the assaults on the Twin Towers have radicalized DeLillo’s perspective on subjectivity as shown in these two novels.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 23 p.
Keyword [en]
Don DeLillo; postmodern; trauma; post-traumatic; subjectivity; 9/11; Simon Malpas; Cathy Caruth
National Category
General Literature Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-86959OAI: diva2:600051
2013-01-15, Department of English, Stockholm University, Stockholm, 09:38 (English)
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2014-01-22 Created: 2013-01-23 Last updated: 2014-01-22Bibliographically approved

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