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Critical Response to “In the Ruins of the Future” Essay

I distinctly remember the day of September 11, 2001. I was watching television and suddenly the video of the plane crashing into the World Trade Center appeared on the screen. I saw millions of people running, dust clouds in the streets, people jumping from buildings. I could not believe my eyes. It looked unreal. This could not be happening; it was more like a scene out of a science fiction movie with spectacular special effects applied than breaking news coverage.

In his article, “In the Ruins of the Future”, Don DeLillo discusses how acts of terrorism such as 9/11 affect a population by showing how the reactions of people who witness the events. The events of September 11, 2001 are said to have changed the lives of many in ways that will forever stay with them. Though many suffered from the tragic events as well as the after effects, some who claim lasting scars seem to be pretentious in doing so. I believe that what has changed most is the US government, its structure and how it deals with security issues.

While 9/11 affected many people there are far less that suffered directly than the media would lead us to believe due to personal transference, the ability of citizens to go about their lives in a normal manner and the underlying political issues which may have caused the attack. I agree with DeLillo’s view that most people will describe terrorist attacks in their own personal way and that “everybody wants to be a part of the event”, whether they were actually there or not.

Because the attack was of such a large magnitude, television viewers were drawn into the grief and destruction which prompted them to become connected to the tragedy in some way. Viewers personally transferred the effects of this event to themselves. DeLillo also refers to the tragedy and its opposite effect when telling the tragic story of Mark and Karen. DeLillo criticizes the American society in which he found people were still making food choices while nearby thousands were dying at the same time.

Although the media portrayed a nation at grief, many went about their normal routine seemingly without further thought. Most people saw this tragedy as an act of terrorism, yet if we are dig deeper and look at from a wider perspective several issues arise. According to a group of leading academics, the events of September 11th were an inside job made to justify the attack and the occupation of oil rich Arab countries.

They believe a group of US neo-conservatives called the “Project for a New American Century” set on US world dominance orchestrated the 9/11 attacks as an excuse to hit Iraq, Afghanistan and later Iran. Some suggest how it is scientifically impossible for a building to collapse in such a way as it appears to be trembling from the ground. Because of findings such as these, it is possible to believe that underlying political issues were at work to orchestrate the events. Did the events of September 11th really change people’s lives?

In my opinion it did, for the most part by changing everyone’s routine. For instance when I came to New York from Turkey there were enormous security control efforts in place and many questions were asked of me by the airport security staff. Before this event, airport security was tight but it wasn’t quite as strict. To this day, when I enter a building or pass before a security desk in New York I am subject to this extreme security. I can still see the fear from 9/11 on the faces of those I pass.

In conclusion the article “In the Ruins of Future” explains the terrorist attack from a political perspective different than what the media has portrayed. DeLillo shows how a nation has dealt with the tragedy of terror and makes us feel for the people who suffered, either in reality or by transference, from the tragic events of September 11, 2001. On the other hand he criticizes the American culture by giving insights about the people who did not change their routine after the terrorist attacks. In the end, while the faces of the sufferers turned bitter , the face of the whole nation turned cold towards the rest of the world.

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