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The Wake of Terror: Don Delillo’s “In The Ruins of The Future,” “Baader-Meinhof,” and Falling Man


In three post-9/11 texts, DeLillo contrasts America’s self-image with its image in the eyes of the world. One can map history’s coordinates in these interrelated texts, which lead back inexorably to Mao II, and World War II. What happens when the U.S. becomes the world’s policeman? What happens when the State becomes as lawless as those it seeks to repress? DeLillo illustrates that the function of art in times of global upheaval is to challenge totalitarian impulses – at home and abroad. His themes are the repression of memory and the memory of repression.