Dissertations On 9 11

To enter the skin of another: The body in 9/11 literature

Jenn Brandt, University of Rhode Island


To Enter the Skin of Another: The Body and 9/11 Literature utilizes 9/11 as a critical lens through which to view how current modes of narrative form and style in the contemporary novel operate in literary discussions concerning September 11, 2001. In analyzing the role of bodies in fictional narratives responding to the terrorist attacks of September 11, I argue that in these texts physical bodies are employed as techniques of resistance against what became known as the event "9/11." Resisting narrative as a universal metacode, this dissertation looks at specific texts that address 9/11 and examines how structure, narrative, and fictive bodies in these works attempt to recreate a temporal construct of 9/11 as event. Although I offer close readings of six novels (one graphic) published during the decade after 9/11, my argument is not tied to a specific corpus of literature. Instead, my purpose in engaging in this type of study is to open up a new way of looking at literature written in response to September 11, 2001, as well as to suggest a method of approaching literature that is now in production "after 9/11." ^ While I draw on narratological theories in the development of my argument, I am careful not to fall into traps of predictive graphs or a distinctive narratology. Rather, I add to existing post-classical narratological discussions by raising questions of form, structure, and aesthetics in an effort to show how narrative devices—particularly in relation to the body—work given dislocations of the personal and political as a result of globalization and brought to dramatic prominence on the morning of September 11, 2001. As case studies, my chapters offer readings of Frédéric Beigbeder's Windows on the World (2003), Art Spiegelman's In the Shadow of No Towers (2004), Claire Tristram's After (2004), Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2005), Don DeLillo's Falling Man (2007), and Mohsin Hamid's The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007). ^

Subject Area

Literature, Modern|Literature, American

Recommended Citation

Jenn Brandt, "To enter the skin of another: The body in 9/11 literature" (2012). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3503120.


Since August 27, 2012


3. I heard clips from Loose Change being played as a fund-raising promotion on KPFK. It sounded like BS, but I figured I should check it out for myself.

4. I'm not interested in theories; I'm interested in evidence, facts, truth and justice. If 9/11 was not what the Bush Administration and 9/11 Commission represented it as, then the public needs to know - especially as 9/11 continues to be used by Democrats, Republicans and MSM pundits to justify the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, a 'global war on terror,' an ongoing state of emergency in the US, the subversion of the US Constitution, abuses of human beings, human rights and civil liberties, and massive funding for the US MIC and US allies in the alleged 'war on terror.'

5. see 3. above

6. One significant 'conspiracy theory' that is incredible and unbelievable is the official story about 9/11; that it was "an al Qaeda operation with no foreknowledge by government officials," as Richard Falk has put it. I'm not interested in 'believing' anything; I want full disclosure and accountability; truth and justice.

7. I don't search for 'theories'; I search for information and evidence, and I am searching for viable alternatives to the corrupt, humanity-destroying social structures that has enabled 9/11 and the ongoing coverup, the general public's unwitting support, the precursor related events, and the post-9/11 world.

8. I'm discussing this subject with you right now. Your questions imply you're interested in the sociological and psychological aspects of the '9/11 truth movement.' Your questions imply you're aware that for some, '9/11 conspiracy theories' seem to be the equivalent of a fandom. You're probably getting a significant number of submissions from people who, sincerely or not, are proclaiming misinformation and speculation to be fact, and I wanted to make it clear that not everyone skeptical of the official 9/11 conspiracy theory uncritically endorses 'contrary' claims about 9/11. Many of those associated with the 9/11 truth movement are simply advocates for truth and justice.

9. I recommend The Complete 9/11 Timeline to get the fullest possible understanding about 9/11, absent a truth and reconciliation commission.

10. 'Conspiracy theorist' is a perjorative, ad hominem label commonly applied to anyone who does not accept the officially endorsed 9/11 narrative. It is a tool for socializing the public. It is used to ridicule anyone who is skeptical or curious and who does not simply accept what the government and MSM pronounce as acceptable 'truth; it is used to silence questions and dissent. See "Dangerous Machinery: 'Conspiracy Theorist' as a Transpersonal Strategy of Exclusion" by Ginna Husting and Martin Orr, Symbolic Interaction, Vol. 30, Issue 2, pp. 127–150, ISSN 0195-6086, electronic ISSN 1533-8665. © 2007.

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