Exploitation of Grief and Loss of 9/11 Essay

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Exploitation of Grief Jess Walter creates a post 9/11 world that balances precariously between real and surreal. It is real enough that the reader is able to comprehend how awful the attack truly was; but surreal enough that the reader feels the same way most Americans did at Ground Zero—confused, frightened, and grief stricken. Remy, the unwilling hero in all of this is exposed to many different forms of grief both public and personal. Using irony and satire, Walter critiques the way public forms of grief were presented as the only viable ways of grieving after 9/11. Reporters wanted to broadcast each and every loss. The government wanted to exploit the grief of the American people so that they could continue what they were doing in…show more content…
April resists public modes of grieving in favor of the more intimate, personal, and domestic setting with someone she knows. She is surprised and a little repulsed that life did not stop after 9/11. That “stores would never open again” that “businesses [would] shut down” that “lawyers quit their practices and run into the woods” (145). Instead life went on. Rather than stop and grieve, Americans rushed to return to normalcy and sought to commercialize grief in newspapers like they did “movie reviews” or “the bridge column” (145). In The Zero, Edgar seems to have the most sophisticated understanding of grief. In the beginning of the novel, Remy’s ex-wife, Carla, calls Remy to discuss Edgar’s behavior in school. He has been letting people in his school assume that Brian is dead and has been using this as an excuse to not take his Physics exam and to not participate in Physical Education. However, when Carla and Remy confront Edgar he stresses that he understands Remy is not really dead, and he does not wish him dead or to have died on September 11. Edgar acts as if his father did die so that he can understand how those with a personal loss feel. To clarify his behavior, Edgar explains to his parents the differences between general grief and personal grief:
… Why is it so hard to believe that I could be grieving the same thing as those other children? I suppose you’d rather I behave like everyone
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