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Lost and Alone

“Kieth Used to want more of the world than there was time and means to acquire. He didn’t want this anymore, whatever it was he’d wanted, in real terms, real things, because he’d never truly known.

Now he wondered whether he was born to be old, meant to be old and alone, content in lonely age, and whether all the rest of it, all the glares and rants he had bounced off these walls, were simply meant to get him to that point.” (127-128)

The above quotation deals with the theme of finding one’s self. Lianne and Kieth both seem to be floating through life, not sure of where to go or what their purposes are. They were likely this way before the towers fell, but it can be said that the 9/11 exacerbated their lost condition.

Kieth picks up poker as a career as a way to escape the confusion and possibly the judgment of people who don’t understand why he may have trouble finding a place in the world. He finds kinship in the others who do not show their emotions and thoughts as well.

Lianne is left to wonder about others and how they live such seemingly simple and purposeful lives. She questions Nina and Martin on their relationship and lives. She thinks about how her father viewed life and his decision to shoot himself upon his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. The falling man also acts as a trigger to her thoughts, causing her to think about how others deal with catastrophe and how she may differ.

The characters never seem to find their way in the novel. It ends just as it began. Life goes on whether or not Kieth and Lianne are ready to deal with it.

One Response to “Lost and Alone”

  1. ccohen says:

    I found your excerpt interesting because it shows the human struggle to deal with the meaning of life. The fact that De Lillo uses this fundamental quest as a way to make us interact with the character’s internal life is very powerful because it’s a problem we are facing ourselves. It is an intrinsic need of human nature. I also agree about the idea that 9/11 exacerbated this self-interrogation because it added even more chaos and incomprehension, generating a deep feeling of indignation and powerlessness.