Terrorism, Capitalism, Art And Religion: Reflections From The Novels Mao II And Falling Man By Don Deillio

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Terrorism, Capitalism, art and religion: Reflections from the Novels Mao II and Falling Man by Don Deillio


While reading the novels- Mao II and Falling Man by Don Deillio we find the portrayal of themes of terrorism, capitalism, art and religion throughout the novels. This paper discusses these themes in a concise way using the sources mentioned in the list of references.


Let's first discuss Mao II. What do authors and terrorists have in common? That is one of the many questions raised in this novel, Don DeLillo's 10th, and it seems a snap to answer without even reading the novel. Authors and terrorists have nothing -- zip, zero -- in common. One class creates, the other destroys; one competes in the marketplace for attention, the other commands it at gunpoint (Osteen, pp. 643-74). Case closed. Those who are satisfied with such commonsense certainties, though, should probably halt their progress through Mao II, which bristles with unsettled and unsettling impressions: "Years ago I used to think it was possible for a novelist to alter the inner life of the culture. Now bomb-makers and gunmen have taken that territory. They make raids on human consciousness."

The speaker is not DeLillo but his main character, Bill Gray, 63, a famously reclusive writer a la Salinger, Pynchon or B. Traven who lives in a rural hideaway somewhere within a 200-mile radius of New York City. Bill's household also includes Scott, his devoted fan, secretary, factotum and nanny; and Karen, a refugee from the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church who once took part in an arranged group marriage of 6,500 couples (Osteen, pp. 643-74).

Karen's former immersion in mass behavior, which left her "immunized against the language of self," gives her a preternatural sensitivity to mob scenes that flicker on TV. Watching pictures of the frenzied mourners at the funeral of the Ayatullah Khomeini, she is both appalled and enraptured and wonders how people, after seeing such a spectacle, can go on living in the same old ways: "Why is nothing changed, where are the local crowds, why do we still have names and addresses and car keys?" Bill, who has made a fetish of his own individuality and remoteness from others, looks at Karen and says, "You come from the future" (Osteen, pp. 643-74).

Which is the place, it turns out, that Bill would like to explore. His long-awaited third novel remains only that; Scott terms the book a "master collapse" and does not want it published at all, on the theory that "Bill gets bigger as his distance from the scene deepens." Suddenly, Bill does something wildly out of character. He allows himself to be photographed by Brita, a Swedish woman whose obsession is flying about the globe and taking pictures of every writer she can find. Why, she asks him, while the shooting session is in progress, surrender his privacy now? "To break down the monolith I've built," he says. "I'm afraid to go anywhere, even the seedy diner in the nearest little crossroads ...
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