English, Department of


First Advisor

Roland K. Végső

Date of this Version



A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: English, Under the Supervision of Professor Roland Végső. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2017

Copyright (c) 2017 Dillon Rockrohr


Falling Man by Don DeLillo casts the event of 9/11 and its aftermath in such a way that the novel itself enacts an aesthetic terror aimed at explicating the ubiquitous social-atmospheric elements of community- and identity-formation out of which terror precipitates. As DeLillo figures terrorism in the novel as apocalyptic in that it is a violence that reveals the violence constitutive of political community, including the political community of liberal democracy, which ostensibly relegates violence to domains not considered legitimately political. DeLillo’s novel, as an act of aesthetic terrorism, not only thematizes the instantiation of terror that precipitates out of the violence of the political, but also examines the distinct elements in the social-political environment that make the environment vulnerable to precipitations of terrorism. Ultimately the novel presents two gestures toward exodus from the terroristic atmosphere, but these gestures necessarily fail because, focusing too much on the body as an atomic entity, the novel lacks a sufficient acknowledgment of the nature of biopolitical control in the present era.

Advisor: Roland Végső