Middle of Nowhere Productions

Middle of Nowhere Productions

Falling Man (Don DeLillo) Notes.


No explicit mention of historical events but bona fide clues (esp. training camp + flight school & simulator + jihad)

Novel written in the aftermath of september 11. 2001 (plus other terrorist attacks)

American novelist: Axis of Evil 2002 / Iraq War 2003/Bushism/paradoxical position

Originality lies in the focalisation: choice (one of the terrorists) + style (extreme focalisation: 3rd person narration + stream of consciousness + free indirect speech)

Authorial discretion goes with extreme focalisation: Reader’s Stockholm syndrome induced/No perceptible denunciation/no open criticism/share the terrorist’s thoughts & feelings/reinforced by terrorist’s personality: young, under influence, in doubt

Original approach, efficient (tackles the issue differently/forces reader to see things differently)

Text organisation: Two distinct time-frames, but no clear sections otherwise because of: ultra stream-of-consciousness effect.

1 to 18 and 24 to end: Before the attack, in Nokomis, Florida.USA. Hiding and specifically training.

19 to 23: Flashback: In the training camp, possibly in Yemen.

Commentary plan:

  1. The jihad/terrorist attacks: presence in the text. Belligerence (Islam vs the Great Satan,) strategies, methods.

  2. The main character, Hammad (as a young man victim of both identity problems & indoctrination.) Psychology, behaviour, responses to the situation, vision of the world.

  3. The point of view (capital.) Techniques and effects of extreme focalisation and text efficiency.



Phraseology. Arabic terms in italics or not. Presence of Amir, as the-one-who-speaks, the imam, both at the beginning and end of the passage.

Definition of the mission in pseudo-koranic terms, in which the concept of predestination is paramount (mektub). Arabic quotation opening the passage referrring to the USA as nation, doomed to be terminated. Capital W (no capitals in Arabic –importance of “the shift?) focussing on the notion of community.

Mention of Saudi Arabia as land of the 2 holy places.

Description of Amir as a true Muslim (Haji, pilgrimage, funeral prayer)

Episode of the ritual slaying of a camel.


Clear reference to the destruction of a nation.

Inversion of the higher jihad & lesser jihad + mention of bloody acts. L.4/5

Fired weapons and set off explosives line 4

Suicide line 5. reiterated 35/50/55

Jews and crusaders line 11.

Line 11: tactics / discretion/ clear references to planes & airlines / management of men.

Airport controls line 7/8

Clandestinity line 15.Line 17: lie to parents.

Plot lines 31/32

Flight school lines 7/36 on.

Martyrs line 49

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