Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Jonathan Flatley


This dissertation examines fictional responses to the events of September 11, 2001. It argues for the importance of one kind of fictional response, one which focuses on representing the feeling of "unsettledness" that can be one effect of trauma, with the aim of making that unsettledness itself a locus of a shared common experience. I posit that in articulating the events of 9/11 in the context of, in relation to, and as one in a series of traumas, violences, and histories, these narratives make the unsettlements shareable. Focusing on four works of fiction that were published after 9/11 – Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland, Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Oscar Wao), Teju Cole’s Open City, and Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad (Goon Squad) – I explore representations of the effects of and the attempts to cope with traumatic experiences including 9/11 itself.