Reading Prompt Due Sunday by 5pm

How does the “falling man” of DeLillo’s novel relate to the “falling man” of the essay by Tom Junot? Are they representations of the same thing? Please explain your answer with at least two quotes from each text.

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34 Responses to Reading Prompt Due Sunday by 5pm

  1. alangdon93 says:

    There are many ways in which the two “falling men” relate to each other. I am sure that there are differences in what they represent, but I believe both can be read to illustrate a very similar representation, using very different approaches. While he does speak of people’s reactions to the photograph, the greater portion of Junot’s essay is investigating the identity of the Falling Man, in hopes to define him. Closing his essay Junot explicitly states that the falling man. “is the cenotaph, and like the monuments dedicated to the memory of unknown soldiers everywhere, it asks that we look at it, and make one simple acknowledgement” (13). I believe that the “falling man” in DeLillo’s novel embodies that statement. Now the falling man in the novel takes on many forms. First and foremost, the “falling man” is a reenacter of the iconic photograph, jumping from the sides of buildings, hanging suspended mimicking the photograph’s position. This man, is quite literally, making a human monument to what the “falling man” represents according to Junot. I came to that conclusion because the character was said to be silent when asked questions about motives, his character denied invitations to speak at conferences, his character was described to have no agenda, except to ask those around him to “stop, and make one simple acknowledgement” (Junot 13; DeLillo 222).
    Junot also describes the ‘falling man” photograph by how much we know about the subject in this poignant quote, “Richard Drew’s photograph is all we know of him, and yet all we know of him becomes a measure of what we know of ourselves” (13). The only way we interact with the Falling Man in DeLillo’s novel is in the way Lianne reacts to him, and the way she sees other people react to him.
    In addition, while alive, the character is unnamed, it is only in acknowledging his death is he named “David Janiak”, and even then his personal identity means little compared to his persona the “Falling Man”. His name and so does the name of the real falling man became irrelevant. In both cases, the falling man has become a symbol, and icon, standing for more than the photograph shows.
    Yet, this symbol is in discord with the experience it depicts. Both the novel and the essay acknowledge this. The novel closes with a comment on the conflict between the moment captured in the falling man photograph and the reality of the moment. The photograph and the reenacted moment starkly contrast the closing lines of the novel, “he walked and saw it fall, arms waving like nothing in its life” (246).Similarly Junot’s essay juxtaposes the iconic image with the photographs taken before and after in the series. This conflict is precisely where the tension comes into the picture in both the novel and the essay. Like a monument the photograph just asks the spectator to acknowledge it. However, it is not one that needs to be visited often. Just one that needs to be confronted, acknowledged once to put it to rest. As other monuments the photograph can be said to romanticize the actual fall of so many, even the fall of the actual subject, make art from the horror. The Falling Man has not been created like a traditional monument, but in some ways the image inprinted on the minds of many could represent a monument to the unknown who fell on 9/11.

    • Sheila Jelen says:

      Interesting to focus on Janiek himself as the falling man. A subtle and nuanced discussion of a complicated issue.

  2. While DeLillo’s “falling man” and Junot’s “falling man” certainly are related to one another, they are not the same. The “falling man” to which Junot refers is the man in the photo, and the rest of his article discusses the public’s reaction to that photo. DeLillo’s falling man, meanwhile, is a man who emulates the photo of the falling man, intending to shock people and draw their attention. Yet what each type of falling man represents is actually very similar. Both Junot’s and DeLillo’s falling man represent people’s desire to turn from this man’s final moments, yet their equally strong inability to turn away. Junot states that “In the most photographed and videotaped day in the history of the world, the images of people jumping were the only images that became, by consensus, taboo–the only images from which Americans were proud to avert their eyes” (Junot 5). Junot wants to clarify, however, that “In a nation of voyeurs, the desire to face the most disturbing aspects of our most disturbing day was somehow ascribed to voyeurism, as though the jumpers’ experience, instead of being central to the horror, was tangential to it, a sideshow best forgotten” (Junot 6). In other words, Junot shows that people are voyeuristic, wanting to see what happened to the dead on 9/11, yet somehow they were unable to have their voyeurism met. Once it was, they no longer wanted to see.
    Meanwhile, Lianne, the heroine (inasmuch as she can be called that) of DeLillo’ novel, describes seeing the man remake himself in the form of the falling man in the photo as “too near and deep, too personal (DeLillo 114). Her falling man is making her relive the experience of 9/11 – making her see what her voyeuristic side wants her to see – and she is unable to do it. She later relives the experience, reading of falling man’s death, as she thinks about “headlong, free fall, this picture burned a whole in her mind and heart, dear God, he was a falling angel and his beauty was horrific” (DeLillo 156). The falling man in both novels shows is somehow otherworldly, due to the fact that he is soon to leave the mortal world. Thus, people find themselves, in both cases, unable to turn away from the beautiful terror the photo and the performer force them to see. Their offense comes from being forced to see death, yet knowing that there is nothing to be done.

  3. knkern94 says:

    Everyone has physically viewed the falling man as a person who jumped from the towers during the September 11 terrorist attacks. This man has yet to be named or given an identity. Tom Junod and Don DeLillo have taken this missing life to their full advantage and given a story to the man made famous from his tragic end. Although each author takes a different approach to creating this story, the end result shows us that the falling man represents our country as a whole and how we dealt with this American tragedy. People do not want to relive the events of that day yet are unable to turn away from a captured moment of death, as if we owe those lost atleast that.

    Tom Junod points out a flaw in the infamy of the falling man’s photo saying, “Still, even as Drew’s photograph became at once iconic and impermissible, its subject remained unnamed” (Junod 4). The public was upset with photos of these jumpers, claiming it “leering pornography”, yet the press continued to publish the photos because it was obvious that people were continuing to look. How can a widely disseminated photograph have a subject who is still a mystery man? Even after the long investigation by Peter Cheney, this man remains nameless. Either spectators did not look hard enough at the photo, or no one is willing to step up and claim this man as a friend or family member. So why should this one photo become famous? Junod argues, “He fell like everyone else, like all the other jumpers–trying to hold on to the life he wasleaving, which is to say that he fell desperately, inelegantly” (Junod 7). This man represents all the jumpers from that day. He represents humanity and the constant struggle to hold on to life.

    Don DeLillo’s falling man is actually a street artists who re-enacts the famous photo all over the city, whether people are there to view it and with no regards for breaking the law. In Lianne’s first encounter with the falling man she thinks, “There were people shouting up at him, outraged at the spectacle, the puppetry of human desperation, a body’s last fleet of breath and what it held. It held the gaze of the world” (DeLillo 33). The only reason the falling man continued to be famous is because of the emotional response it was getting. This man’s street art or even the photograph could not have become famous without human response, which busts the fact that we cannot reface tragedy or come to terms with death. We handle these in an outrage of emotional response. “All of his falls were headfirst, none announced in advance. The performance pieces were not designed to be recorded by a photographer” (DeLillo 220). Why would DeLillo make a character about the falling man photograph if he does not believe the act should be photographed? Perhaps this is the reason society had such difficulty accepting the photographs of the jumpers, because these moments of death were not ones needing to be recorded. Nobody wants these as the images attached to this historic event, because it shows a sign of lost hope and giving up on life. That is not how Americans want to be portrayed, yet the falling man is somehow in all of us. That is how Junod and DeLillo come together in their representations.

    • Sheila Jelen says:

      I would like to hear more about how you think they are saying that the falling man is in all of us, or is all of us.

  4. I think the image of the falling man represents the same idea in DeLillo’s Falling Man as well as Junod’s Falling Man. Both pieces show how this event affected those involved and their families as well as the struggle to adjust. Junrod’s article focuses on the process of trying to give the falling man an identity. In doing this, the Hernandez family became very upset and refused to believe that the father and husband they knew would ever jump out of the building. When one of the daughters was shown the photograph, she replied “that piece of shit is not my father” (5). A sculptor named Eric Fischl created a piece not too long after the attack called Tumbling Woman, which resembled the falling man. The public was offended and upset because it was too soon. Fischl said, “They thought I was trying to say something about the people they lost” (7).

    Falling Man by Don DeLillo is a novel that follows a lawyer named Keith who worked in the World Trade Center. After September 11, he was confused and struggled to readjust to life. “The witness wonders what has happened to the meaning of things, to tree, street, stone, wind, simple words lost in the falling ash” (103). Keith returns to Lianne, from whom he was separated, and his son Justin, but the emotional and psychological problems resulting from the events that day have prevented them from returning to normal life. I think DeLillo puts it best when he says, “These are the days after. Everything now is measured by after.” Everyone that witnessed the falling of the twin towers or knew someone that died that day will always be affected by what happened, which is what both pieces were describing with the image of the falling man.

    • Sheila Jelen says:

      I don’t think you have answered the question — is Keith the falling man in the novel, or are you saying something else??

  5. The “falling man” from the book by DeLillo is a performance artist recreating the experience of the actual “falling man” from the photograph as described in the article by Junod. In both cases, people are very offended by it. As Junod describes, in the “falling man” photograph, it was not the act or the subject that people took offense to, but more that it was photographed and spread. It was an instant response, “the resistance to the image – to the images – started immediately, started on the ground” (Junod 5), to a fireman physically trying to prevent photographs from being taken. There was a very similar reaction in DeLillo’s novel to his “falling man”, however in this case, the anger was directed towards the individual himself, for drawing such a voyeuristic response out of them, the unintentional audience. It says “there were people shouting up at him, outraged at the spectacle, the puppetry of human desperation” (DeLillo 33). They are also different because the “falling man” from Junod’s article is immortalized and only effective because of the photograph, however, of DeLillo’s “falling man” “there were no photographs of that fall. [Lianne] was the photograph” (DeLillo 223). But though in different forms and circumstances, both the photograph and the performance artist are representations of the same occurrence, of people falling on 9/11.

    However, I also viewed Keith as a ‘falling man’ of sorts in DeLillo’s novel, as he too experienced a kind of fall, suffering the traumatic after-effects of surviving 9/11. Both of the “falling men” experienced a loss of identity after 9/11. As Junod describes in his article, nobody, least of all the photographer, knew who the falling man from the photograph was. The attempts made to identify him were difficult, as “the few salient characteristics that can be discerned in the original series of photographs raise as many possibilities as they exclude” (Junod 7). Keith too lost his former life and identity, instead returning to Lianne and resuming a new lifestyle. He lost his poker group, which has been a main source of stability and comfort to him. There is a strong theme of identity throughout this book besides the central falling man, as bin Laden becomes Bill Lawton, the group of those with Alzheimer’s fades away, parts of Martin’s past are revealed, and the deaths of Lianne’s mother and father. Additionally, both “falling men” are described as having similar personalities, leaning towards danger. In the novel, this was mentioned several times as the reason that Lianne and Keith didn’t work; “She wanted to be safe in the world and he did not” (DeLillo 216). Keith wanted the danger, not an ordinary, normal life without risks. According to Junod, the “falling man” would have had a similar thought process. Junod comes to a different conclusion than that of many of the families he talked to, saying “but maybe he didn’t jump from the window as a betrayal of love of because he lost hope. Maybe he jumped to fulfill the terms of a miracle. Maybe he jumped to come home to his family” (Junod 13).

  6. Elana says:

    The Falling Man expressed in Tom Junod’s article is similar to the Falling Man in Don DeLillo’s novel. The photograph of The Falling Man taken by Richard Drew discussed in Junod’s article was known to be beautifully aesthetic and symmetrical. Had it not been a photograph taken on 9/11, had it not been a photo taken under such horrifying conditions and circumstances, it would have been praised by many for its elegance. So too, the Falling Man in DeLillo’s book was an artist. He was a performance artist who jumped off of buildings to make a statement to his audience of pedestrians and average citizens.

    The thing about both falling men was that they were so elegant. As Junod said, the man in the photograph was “distinguished by the grace of his fall- by his resemblance to an Olympic diver” (Junod 5) That is exactly how the Falling Man is DeLillo’s book looked as well. He would harness himself to a building and dive off the building, headfirst, in an elegant manner.

    This act of jumping, for both falling men, scared everybody who witnessed the act. “Each jumper, no matter how many there were, brought fresh horror, elicited shock, tested the spirit, struck a lasting blow” (Junod 4). Each image of a person jumping out of the Twin Towers is frightening. I can not even imagine the horror of the people who actually did the act.The people on the streets witnessing the event were scared as well. Nobody would have dreamed of such an awful thing like this. The Falling Man in DeLillo’s book, the performer, also scared everybody who saw his “show.” Lianne was terrified when she saw the man. Residents were shouting from their apartment windows for him to stop what he was doing, for all they knew he was jumping to his death.

    However, despite the shock that the Falling Man presented his audience with, Lianne and the others could not look away. They could not turn their eyes away from what was to come: a man jumping off a building. I’m sure from their distance, Lianne and the others could not see the harness clearly, some may have suspected the man was trying to commit suicide. Yet, despite the fact that they knew something bad was to come, they could not turn away, As it says, “She [Lianne] did not think of walking away” (DeLillo 163). She needed to watch.

    The same was the response of the photographers who came rushing to the scene on 9/11. They could not turn away from those jumping out of the buildings. They needed to stay, they needed to watch, they needed to take pictures. This idea of voyeurism is not new. Human beings tend to be attracted to horrific images that resemble disaster . For whatever reason, we can not look away. This is what made the image of the Falling Man and the Falling Man performer taboo and unpopular. As DeLillo said, the Falling Man was a “notorious figure” (DeLillo 219). These images and performances remind us of our human nature, a characteristic we wish was not true. Nobody likes the fact that we are attracted to tragedy. Nobody wants to admit to finding disaster fascinating. Nobody wants to acknowledge the fact that sometimes we can not turn away. However, with the image placed in front of us and the performer in our line of view, we are forced to admit that we can’t look away.This is why so many people complained after the image of the Falling Man was published. It was too soon for us to revel in its beauty and if it was taken away, no longer in our immediate line of view, we wouldn’t have to. We didn’t want to be the insensitive ones attracted to the beauty of the image so we told ourselves that it was bad and complained about its popularity.

  7. colleenshipley says:

    Although the depictions of The Falling Man in both Junod and Delillo’s works are similar in appearance, they are very different in the intentions of the artist and the receptions by the public.

    The photograph of The Falling Man, as described in Junod’s article was a symbol of 9/11. It didn’t matter who was the individual in the photograph because it was an icon. Whether it was of hope, desperation, love, or miracles was up to the viewer to decide. As Junod describes, “If he were not falling he very well may be flying” (Junod 1). This shows a sort of freedom or liberation that pervades the photograph. While other pictures of jumpers (or fallers) show them flailing ungracefully, as clothes tore off of them, this image is one where a man has made peace with his fate as it is intrinsically tied to the towers. Junod aptly summarizes the moment by asserting, “His humanity is in accord with the lines of the building” (Junod 7).

    However, when these elements are taken out of context, a kind of perversity arises. The Falling Man described by Delillo was a street performer looking for a reaction from his audience by hanging from buildings throughout the city. Whereas individuals could look away from the photograph of The Falling Man, the man in the flesh was impossible to ignore. “He held the gaze of the world” according to Delillo (Delillo 33). Having nothing to do with the actual event of 9/11, it feels wrong for him to be representing the masses that fell to their fate that day. The main idea of The Falling Man is that he was an enigma- his identity was never completely affirmed and it didn’t matter. The performer broke this sacred anonymity. Survivors and their loved ones found peace in the fact that “[they] didn’t know anything about the people in the photographs. [They] only knew the photographs” (Delillo 142). This distance allowed for healing that the street performer did not respect.

    Junod concludes his article by describing The Falling Man as “the Unknown Soldier in a war whose end we have not yet seen” (Junod 13). If we acknowledge the existence and beauty of this moment, rather than twisting it to serve our selfish purposes, restoration can come to this country as we look back on 9/11 and the heroism of so many people.

  8. In Don DeLillo’s novel, “Falling Man,” the title refers to a performance artist who jumps from high places while attached to a harness. He attracts both the attention and the ire of New Yorkers, since he appears to be mocking those who jumped to their deaths when the twin towers collapsed. Tom Junod refers to the photograph of a man falling straight down to his doom during the catastrophe. This man has not been positively identified, his name and story lost in the mists of time. The falling man performer of DeLillo’s novel is referring to the images of Junod’s falling man. That is why his work is met with so much anger – because he is forcing people to see him frozen in an almost exact replica of the pose of the falling man in the photograph. DeLillo’s falling man dangles straight down, with “one leg bent up, arms at his side.” Junod’s doomed man’s leg is similarly “bent at the knee, almost casually.” The images are so strikingly alike because they both refer to the same phenomenon. However, DeLillo’s character has a name, a face, a story – he is David Janiak, an actor who “studied dramaturgy at the Institute for Advanced Theatre Training.” He is one man, perhaps representing those who fell to their deaths, perhaps not, but photographs of him are not used to represent other people. He is merely himself – someone who survives his plunges off buildings and who is thus subjected to the anger that comes with that survival, with that taint of cruelty and bad taste. Junod’s falling man, though, was a real person, not a character in a novel. He did not survive his fall. He could be Norberto Hernandez, or Jonathan Briley, or another man who was in the absolute worst place at the worst time imaginable. Richard Drew’s photograph of his fall captured our inability to know everything, to understand all that is occurring in our world – it transcends this one moment to become an “unmarked grave” for an “Unknown Soldier.”

    • Sheila Jelen says:

      Does the fact that Janiek performs the falling man’s pose make the actual experience photographed by Drew different in any way?

  9. joezim1994 says:

    In both these works, the Falling Man is precisely the same, the same because of the near-mystical uncertainty that surrounds it. With the image of the Falling Man comes a sense of morbid awe: he represents something that is almost “rebellious” (Junod 2), he was “a falling angel” (DeLillo 222). In his act of falling, it is as though the man has reached some sort of forbidden enlightenment, a revelation of freedom, a statement of some semblance of agency in the face of the unimaginable. Or, simply a chance “just to breathe once more before they died” (Junod 3). Whatever meaning can be ascribed to the Falling Man, he becomes incredibly meaningful for those who see, who watch his eternal descent. Junod describes how each image “brought fresh horror” (Junod 4) and, indeed, the falling bodies were irrefutably “central to the horror” (Junod 6) of that day. The viewers, and the photographs, become an essential component of the idea of the Falling Man.

    Lianne of DeLillo’s Falling Man is deeply affected by David Janiak, a performance artist known as Falling Man, who, dangling in increasingly remote sites, poses in the posture of the famous photograph for the spectators present. Yet, the performing artist himself is not all that Falling Man is—he is barely described, and he never explains his motivations. He merely embodies an icon, an idea, his position reminiscent of “a particular man who was photographed” (DeLillo 221). With his “theater piece” (DeLillo 33), the performer “brought it back… those stark moments” (DeLillo 33), perhaps to “spread the word…intimately” (DeLillo 165) through direct contact, to the point that Lianne becomes “the photograph, the photosensitive surface” (DeLillo 223) that records one of his less publicized performances. The sight, horrible in its beauty, becomes burned onto those who see it; it leaves an unremovable mark of itself.

    Both DeLillo and Junod look to the Falling Man for the profound effect on the spectator, but they both equally dwell on the man’s anonymity. At first, Junod seems to unequivocally claim “his name was Norberto Hernandez” (Junod 4), before he goes on to name a litany of others who may just as well have been the Falling Man, none ever named with any certainty. Similarly, DeLillo makes the Falling Man into something emblematic. The performance artist is not the real Falling Man, neither is Rumsey, who was said to have gone “out a window” (DeLillo 205)—though this is untrue. Just as Junod’s names are all “eliminated from consideration because of their outfits” (Junod 11-12) or some other equally small yet definitive reason, it seems that no one is DeLillo’s novel can be Falling Man. No one can be him, but everyone can be him. Keith may have survived the towers, but he too seems to seek the forbidden, elemental freedom of falling as he wastes away in casinos, not wanting to be “safe in the world” (DeLillo 216). Even Lianne, who was not even in the towers, fells as though she is “falling out of the world” (DeLillo 212). Junod justly points out how the Falling Man has become “the Unknown Soldier” (Junod 13), a symbol of the nameless dead, yet also how we all have “known who Falling Man is all along” (Junod 13). DeLillo, at least, answers that, yes, the Falling Man is all the victims, direct and indirect.

    • Sheila Jelen says:

      Yes — it is as if DeLillo animates the final line of the Junod essay — that we have known who the falling man is all along because he is all of us.

  10. The Falling Man in both passages function in very different ways. In Don DeLillo’s novel, the falling man is a sort of a backdrop and ever present grief to Keith’s misery. He is ever falling and ever being destroyed by the events of 9/11, similar to Keith’s own ideological and emotional upheaval. The falling man is not discussed in the context of a human being, it is more centered on the symbolism of his descent. In Junod’s “The Falling Man,” he centers the essay on the falling man himself. This article shows the importance and/or insensitivity of discovering the identity of the falling man. He argues that this unknowable man, whose descent was so invariable, is accepted and rejected for his actions at the same time. Americans have rejected the jumpers as a valid representation of 9/11 due to many experiences and thoughts, mainly that the falling man has become a voyeuristic representation of impending death.

    I want to say that they are two different representations, but I am finding that it is difficult for me to write that. In the novel, the falling man seems to show up in any moment of intense grief, as there would be “no sign of the man who was upside down, in stationary fall” (DeLillo 34). This is not different from Junod’s description of the man “as though he were a missile, a spear, bent on attaining his own end” (Junod 2). There seems to be this use of the falling man as a form of symbolism for the horrors of the time. Though in Junod’s article there is a focus on finding the true identity of the falling man, the most remarkable aspect of it is that the identity will never be known. Some search for answers and others find answers unable to make any sense of the day. As such, DeLillo writes “he was a falling angel and his beauty was horrific” (DeLillo 222). The aesthetic pleasure of the falling man was inherently juxtaposed by the impending moment of his death. It disturbs, and as such, it leaves the voyeuristic aspect of human nature into true effect. Some argue that it has gone to far, that we have seen enough, that true horror should not be shown. Junod described him as a “monument” dedicated “to the memory of unknown soldiers everywhere, it asks that we look at it” (Junod 13). We have taken this one nameless man and made him the symbol for all of the grief of that day. Some may argue that it was unethical, yet in a way it was unavoidable.

    • Sheila Jelen says:

      This is a beautifully written response. I am amazed at how many of you came up with the notion of Keith as the falling man. I thought I had invented the idea…

    • Jillian Gaulding says:

      Although I have not read the literature you are citing, a lot of what you are describing is very similar to our discourse in Terri’s 106 class. You mention that the falling man has become a symbol that America looks to when representing grief or the pain of 9/11. We talk a lot about metonymy in our section, and that is precisely what you are describing. Although we know very little about this man, we associate his death with the deaths of thousands, and it becomes a symbol or a marker for our society. Similarly, Barbie Zelizer points out that genocide pictures from the Holocaust do the same thing– no matter where the image was taken, it represents the larger atrocity. You say this is unavoidable, and I agree with you.

      You also raise the point that America looks to attach this seemingly unidentifiable man to an identity. We talked a lot about this and the “rush to memory” or “rush to memorialize” 9/11. Because we have no back story for this man, we create something through the media to fill in gaps in our world view, and in this case, the world view of this man’s life in relation to the incident. There have been movies filmed and books written that highlight this fact– its as if we need something to hold onto to believe that he was real.

      Finally, you talk a lot about voyeurism and the image is an image of impending doom. This is such an interesting topic, and Barbie Zelizer says it is the third perspective of an image– the subjunctive. In this time we think about the “what if” of the photo. Something to consider is that there is no floor in the picture of the falling man, which to me, increases the intensity of the “what if.” I think a lot of people might argue that it is not so voyeuristic because there is no bottom, and we can almost suspend belief about whether he lives or dies (although we as viewers know he does not survive). Unlike other photos of death, there is no gruesome details, and we can root for him to live past the subjunctive.

      Food for thought.
      Great response, very thought provoking.

  11. The “Falling Man,” by Don Delillo and the article “The falling man,” by Tom Junod does surround the same event, 9/11, however, they do not relate much beyond that central event. The article discusses the process in which the photographer, Richard Drew, as well as other, search for the identity of the man who is falling in that very famous photo. The article also discusses how the general public rejected or rather, ignored the fact that people were jumping out of the tower, plunging to their death. The film and photos of people jumping were only broadcasted for a short period of time and then quickly taken out of the public eye. The novel by Don Delillo is very different. It tells the story of a man named Keith who survives that 9/11 attack and tells of the repercussions of this tragedy. It also follows the story of many other people to; people related to Keith and people involved in the attack. The falling man in this novel is a street performer who ties his body upside town to buildings to represent the people who jumped out of the burning buildings and the victims of 9/11. Although to book does make reference to the photograph, there is more focus on this street performer.

    The article and the novel both have a representation of the grief of the fallen, however, the representation in the article is more of a general and indirect symbol, in which the “Tumbling woman,” was actually based off of a fashion model who tripped. The representation in the novel is more direct and obvious.

    The article discusses the actually subject of the falling man photograph while the novel talks about a metaphorical version of the falling man in the form of a street performing. The falling can an also refer to the character Keith, who’s life seems to fall apart as he loses control. The article talks about the American reaction to 9/11 and the “jumpers” while the novel is more about individuals affected by the attack. The book also goes in depth of the feelings of the survivors and the article has more focus on the dead.

    A quote that sets the novel away from the novel is when Keith is talking about his faith, “ Whose God? Which God? I don’t even know what it means, to believe in God. I never think about it… (90).” The book often mentions how some characters see God as a way to cope to certain feelings and sorrows as a result of 9/11 and how others may have lost faith. The article does not go this in depth of the people’s minds. Another quote from the novel is, “Everything here was twisted, hypocrite, the west corrupt of mind and body, determined to shiver Islam down to bread crumbs for birds (79).” The book goes into the perspective of the other side and explains the possible reason for hate towards the western world.

    In the article, it states, “Of course, the only way to find out the identity of the Falling Man is to call the families of anyone who might be the Falling Man and ask what they know about their son’s or husband’s or father’s last day on earth (12).” This article has so much focus on the identity of the falling man. Another statement reads, “What distinguishes the pictures of the jumpers from the pictures that have come before is that we–we Americans-are being asked to discriminate on their behalf.” This statement is very general, talking about repercussions as a whole, as oppose to the book which is more specific in terms of specific people’s reactions.

    • the second quote in the last paragraph is on page 8 of the article.

    • Also, in terms of the question as two whether they are representations of the same thing, I believe that they both represent the negative aftermath and reactions of 9/11. However, I do not think they are on the same facade in terms of the approach that these two pieces were written and who these writings represented.

      • Sheila Jelen says:

        I appreciate your thoughtful and nuanced response. I would encourage you, however, to proofread more carefully.

  12. sjfrazier015 says:

    I feel the “Falling Man” in Junod’s text and the “Falling Man” in DeLillo’s novel are two very different images. Most of us know the Falling Man as a series of images taken of an unknown person falling out of the World Trade Center during the horrific events of the 9/11 attacks. Much of Junod’s article respond directly to the events on that day and thereafter.

    The main theme exhibited in Junod’s text is the idea of universalizing and event that for many, was extremely personal. Many people lost their lives and loved ones on 9/11 to act of escaping the buildings any way possible. And for this reason, it was easy for families to see their loved ones in the photograph of the illicit “falling man.” Junod described a piece of art that came from this photograph as succeeding “in transfiguring the very local horror of the jumpers into something universal” (pg. 6). Although the text goes into many stories of the people that thought they saw their loved ones in the famous photograph, it time and time again tells of how the people of the United States insisted upon putting into universal thought, the act of one man that happened to be seen all over the world. Junod told of how the people that jumped from these buildings “were called ‘jumpers’ or ‘the jumpers’ as though they represented a new lemminglike class” (pg. 4). As demonstrated by the many stories of families affected by 9/11, all of the jumpers were not the same and couldn’t possibly be put into a category. For many, assuming those lost and now found would be part of the “jumper” class, was to the horror of their families. Because these photos, and consequently this article, explores that of “what is no longer.”

    DeLillo’s novel on the other hand describes “the falling man” as something very different. The novel goes into intimate detail of the life of a man who had lived through the 9/11 attacks by escaping the buildings that took so many lives. Instead of falling to his demise, Keith falls back into his life, forever afflicted by the events of that day. The novel follows Keith as he “sinks into [his] little life” (pg. 89). Rather than looking as the 9/11 attacks in respect to a whole body of people, DeLillo’s novel looks right into the life of one man, therefore taking away the tendency for Americans to universalize the events of that day. Although the possibility of taking this novel and applying it to many different lives, the extreme detail often continues to make this tendency difficult. For example, on page 9, DeLillo tells of how Keith “closed his eyes and drank feeling the water pass into his body.” This novel tends to describe more of what continues to be.

    Although not part of the question, I find it necessary to add that Junod’s article describes to us the idea that photographs express “what is no longer.” But DeLillo’s novel shows an example of the exercise we did recently when we were given only words to describe what we saw in a photograph.

  13. shjones says:

    In one way, the “falling men” in Delillo and Junod’s work couldn’t be more different. One is a man really falling from a tower, really plummeting to his death, and really with no other choice. Junod writes, “They jumped to escape the smoke and the fire; they jumped when the ceilings fell and the floors collapsed; they jumped just to breathe once more before they died” (Junod 3). Don Dellilo’s falling man is just an artist. He has chosen to recreate the tragic fall of those who jumped from the tower. Whatever the motives for his act, he has entered into a business in which he has agency. Dellilo writes “He turned down an invitation to fall from the upper reaches of the Guggenheim Museum at scheduled intervals over a three-week period” (Delillo 222). He chose not to fall. This will always separate his artistic representation from those who really fell, he is no more than a performer.
    In a different sense, the “falling men” are the same in that they are both meant to represent those who fell out of the tower on 9/11. The details about the identity of the man does not matter, as he is no longer an individual. He has been turned into an image, one which was used to convey the story of the tragedy. The specific is used to portray the general. DeLillo’s falling man for example, dresses like the victims in the tower in order to more closely recall the image of those who did fall. DeLillo writes “He’s appeared several times in the last week, unannounced, in various pats of the city, suspended from one or another structure, always upside down, wearing a suit, a tie, and dress shoes” (DeLillo 33). And the falling man in the iconic photograph of Richard Drew was not supposed to be identified. The quest to find the subject’s true identity was meaningless, because the man was not supposed to represent an individual, he was supposed to represent all those who fell. To drive this point home, Junod writes “The picture is his cenotaph, and like the monuments dedicated to the memory of unknown soldiers everywhere, it asks that we look at it, and make one simple acknowledgment. That we have known who the falling man is all along” (Junod 13). He is all those who had to jump from the tower in desperation. He is all those who died from the tragedy. And he is all of those who went missing and unidentified in the aftermath of the event.

    • Sheila Jelen says:

      Your observation about the falling man in the novel “choosing not to fall” is a fascinating one, particularly in contrast to the iconic image on which the performance in the novel is based.

  14. Ross Fasman says:

    To say they are representations of “the same thing” would be completely to undermine the nature of both. Firstly, the expectation of death provides an extraordinary contrast, which in turn, is exacerbated by the similarities in style of the fall.

    For the representation:

    As DeLillo writes on page 168, “the jolt, the sort of midair impact and bounce, the recoil, and now the stillness, arms at his sides, one leg bent at knee” and the subsequent recoil and pose had an element of “something awful.” The element of “something awful” is the inevitability of death if the harness hadn’t been available. That is why the “train” is introduced, “still running in a blur in her mind.” The train is supposed to symbolize death–a death that should’ve awaited him, as it did the many other 9/11 “jumpers” but in fact never came. This is what makes the idea of the falls both representing “the same thing” uncomfortable to me. Contrastly, in Junot’s article, it was stated that Richard Drew captured only an instantaneous representation of the fall, as the falling man “fell like everyone else, like all the other jumpers–trying to hold on to the life he was leaving, which is to say that he fell desperately, inelegantly.” (Junot 7) This is the contrast between the “Falling Men”–one is very much conscious of his impending death and the other that knows he has the safety harness to protect him. This is what me very uncomfortable in comparing the two.

    And yet both seem to have the same deliberate relationship , which is also another avenue of discomfort for me. For DeLillo’s falling man there is a “stylized pose” with the “stillness, the arms at his sides, the one leg bent at the knee” that gives an air of “something awful.” (DeLillo 169) Similarly for Junot, he picture gives off the impression that “he appears comfortable in the grip of
    unimaginable motion. He does not appear intimidated by gravity’s divine suction or by what
    awaits him. His arms are by his side, only slightly outriggered. His left leg is bent at the knee,
    almost casually.” (Junot 1) The both have the same falling characteristics and styles and yet the outcome for both is very different.

    It is in that sense that the “falling man” of DeLillo’s novel relates to the “falling man” of the essay by Tom Junot but they are not representations of the same thing–as one represents life and te other represents death.

  15. megmck12 says:

    Don DeLilo’s anonymous performing artist and Junod’s examination of the subject and the struggle to unveil that subject are connected, to me, by their similar ties to time and space. Junod notes that that single moment, a lucky shot, encapsulated a man in a moment close to his death–“falling through the sky…time as well as through space.” In the novel, Lianne reads about the Falling Man artist nearly three years later trying to “connect this man” with the striking moment she was part of, failing to understand how he could continue through the years as a man with a name, rather than as that “nameless body coming down” (223).

    I am unsure if “representation” is the correct word, but I do believe that the two have very similar implications. Both are highly controversial because of their sense of violation of a moment of death. In the novel, when Lianne first sees the “artist” Falling Man, she notes that he “brought it back, of course, those stark moments in the burning towers when people fell or were forced to jump” (DeLilo, 33). This artist forced his unwilling spectators to relive the tragic events of September 11. It angered people: a gross violation of those victims’ deaths that Lianne described as having a sort of “openness”. Similarly, Junod notes America’s almost unanimous choice to remove the Falling Man from our sights–deeming ourselves “unworthy” of viewing this death. That the falling man photograph was public was too much of an “openness” to be morally right.

    • Sheila Jelen says:

      Your articulation of both representations as a “violation of the moment of death” is apt. Although it may be possible to consider the representations as a kind of arrest of that moment, an honoring of it as more than just a simple moment captured in time, but I moment that deserves to take up more space through its immortalization.

  16. maxinesrich says:

    In Junod’s article, the falling man described is the man of the infamous photograph from September 11th, a photograph of a man captured in flight as he fell perfectly symmetrically with the towers. Junod’s article discusses the photograph’s relationship with the public, noting that the photograph is now “relegated to the Internet underbelly” (5), where it is viewed as taboo, and a painful disregard of humanity, to so voyeuristically focus on the image of a man’s tumble towards death. The falling man of Judot’s article is a man with real humanity, as Judot goes into an extensive discussion of the orange shirt he was wearing underneath his white tunic that served as he conjectured restaurant uniform. Judot focuses on this shirt as an emblem of his uniqueness and identity, as his family would remember “if he was the kind of would own an orange shirt” (8). The falling man is a representative of the horror of September 11th, and those who were, according to NYC officials, “forced out” (6), of the building, and jumped. The falling man is an emblem, both a real memory and a taboo.

    Conversely, in DeLillo’s novel, The Falling Man, the falling man in not real at all, he is an imitation of the real man in the photograph, a street performer. DeLillo’s falling man is an ode to those who fell, as in meant to startle and awaken the consciousness of New Yorkers who see him, as he appears “unannounced, in various pats of the city, suspended from one or another structure, always upside down, wearing a suit, a tie, and dress shoes” (33), dressed exactly like the infamous people who fell from the World Trade Center on September 11th. The idea of the falling man as art is taken from the photograph of the iconic falling man of real life, but is made into pure, imaginative art, as DeLillo explains that the performer “was a falling angel and his beauty was horrific” (222). The falling man is pure art, a shocking and in many ways insulting view of the death of a real man.

    Is the death art, as depicts the perfectly vertical photograph and the falling man? If this death is art, why were the earlier photographs, described by Junod as shots in which the falling man’s “humanity stands apart” (7), thus not considered art? I question why a death that seems serene and is aesthetically pleasing, the one in the falling man photograph and that of the street performer, is remarked as artful, whereas true, human death, desperate and flailing, is not art. The beautiful is idolized, the real is horrific.

  17. Don Delillo’s “falling man” and Junot’s “falling man” represent roughly the same concept. Each image is an account of the dreaded reality of the 9/11 attacks. In Junot’s essay, the “falling man” represents the reality that people jumped from the towers, that they fell, that they could not tell each from each other, and that at before departing the windows they made the conscious choice to fall. Delillo expands this “falling man” to the experience of 9/11 in general. The “falling man” reminds and represents the events of a calculated terrorist attack that happened, despite the ache, discomfort and confusion it might cause onlookers.
    In a sense, each image calls for its acknowledgement. The performance artist seeking attention is in a similar level to the photograph. Their context to New Yorkers and its observers makes it what Junot refers to as a cenotaph, “like the monuments dedicated to the memory of unknown soliders [sic] everywhere, it asks that we look at it, and make one simple acknowledgment” (Junot 13). This acknowledgement is 9/11 itself, not just the words “nine/eleven”, but what it constituted of, the death of random bystanders through a calculated terrorist attack.
    Junot specifically addresses the difficulty people had in acknowledging the act of a falling man or woman. To the onlookers, the reality of the situation is one difficult to come to terms with. As Junot describes, “Those tumbling through the air remained, by all accounts, eerily silent; those on the ground screamed” (Junot 4). The “falling man in this sense is a representation of the clear decision made by the jumpers that day, to jump. The idea horrifies, but the clearness of the photograph, its elegance, only confirms what is hard to come to terms with.
    Delillo’s “falling man” is an overarching representation, the performer’s actions are seen by those who casually walk by, not those who look at a photograph, but those who experience its moment being captured. In his novel, the intrusiveness of this “falling man” makes him hard to understand, like the disorienting effects of the 9/11 attacks themselves. Delillo describes Lianne’s reaction: “she could believe she knew these people, and all the others she’d seen and heard… but not he man who’d stood above her, detailed and looming” (Delillo 224). The “falling man” in her eyes is unrelatable; she cannot comprehend his purpose. What exist, however, is the representation of this “falling man”, a tragedy unfolding in its most uncalled for sense. What the “falling man” attempts to do is to cure this disconnect, to show that the events did happen that day, and that the world can’t move on without disregarding their existence.

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