9/11 Essay Outline

In (1988), as we might recall, this tendency is almost programmed into the interior workings of the CIA that in the novel’s overpowering vision leads to President Kennedy’s assassination.

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Some of the procedures applied on more representative segments of the archive are the familiar fare (notably so trauma theory) since this has predictably been one of the prevailing frames for mediating the event.

Where Cvek’s approach enriches the discussion is in its insistence to historicize the traumatic impact, to consider trauma also as a socially produced and sustained process, and to further politicize its ramifications, especially as its fallout is seen to be manifested in the way history enters the national debate in the shape of a foreign body, “an alien other” (19).

The reader is in for the main surprise, however, in the chapters that in a bold but fully motivated move enact the expansion of the 9/11 archive thus raising and keeping in focus a number of controversial and submerged questions, especially within the purview of a US-based perspective on the terrorist attacks.

The additions to the archive are De Lillo’s novel predating , a novel that apparently has very little if nothing at all to do with the 9/11 itself, of which the author subtly dissuades us in chapter seven, with an even bolder intervention occurring in the final chapter which offers a reading of Thomas Pynchon’s latest monster of the novel, .

Other likely candidates, mentioned in passing, include John Barth, William Gibson, Ken Kalfus, Neil La Bute, Claire Messud, David Rees, John Updike, and Paul West implying greater possibilities in further approaches to the mediation of 9/11.

The discussion on 9/11 is far from over and closed if we look at continuing debates as to the appropriate ways of memorializing the event, and given the fact that the publication of the book is in confluence both with the tenth anniversary of the attacks, and with the recent unveiling of, what some critics enthusiastically see as “a masterpiece at Ground Zero” (as suggested by a recent headline in ).Trauma theory is productively ruffled by concurrent reading approaches of new American studies, introducing categories of empire, political theories, nationalism studies, ethnic and postcolonial, and queer readings.Cultural theory, and its offshoot of visuality and media studies, offers another point of entry into the archive under examination.As Cvek makes clear, the context of the US nation-state would exact the idea of radical break and justify Benjaminian sense of crisis, “a moment of danger,” whereas a globalizing view that situates the nation-state as one among several contending forces is less autistic and more in favor of an international perspective providing a mirror to the USA, deflating its exceptionalist ethos.Arguably, even in many probing readings of the event coming from the States, the sense is that an exceptionalist stance is still a governing perspective that even many an astute critic cannot evade.This is a productive, if ultimately irresolvable, impasse for Art Speigelman, as is the case in some segments of De Lillo’s work on or around 9/11, or with some facets of Pynchon’s text.The point the book makes is not to dismiss either one or the other view but rather to show how globalization has created certain frames which enhance our understanding of 9/11 not exclusively in US-American terms.Even though the book invites us, in particular in chapters one and two, to give due attention to the ways the dynamics, temporal and psychic, of trauma has been used to shore up the wounded national body trying to work through the traumatic event, it is in chapter four that a historically minded perspective upsets a presumed balance between the world and the nation.Spiegelman uses the graphic form to remind his readers of things that the US will have forgotten, in the sense applied in trauma theory, only to be reactivated by a trigger event occurring later, namely, the terrorist attacks.The likelihood is that the monument at the site of Twin Towers will gain a stature comparable to that of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC.The book is thus bent on capturing all the mythic resonances of the event but, in doing so, it reaches principally for historical and materialist tools.


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