Erik Erikson wrote: “Standing alone has many connotations of pride and isolation, of wishing to be admired, and of the fear of being exposed, to devastating inspection, and, of course, of falling.”

The Emerald Archive features two characters notable for “standing alone:” The schizoid librarian Oscar Berg and the idealistic poet Vladimir Zelenyi who “stands up” to the Krinskyite regime.

An additional theme of the book is the tragedy of 9/11, the fall of the twin towers and the so-called “jumpers” who jumped out of windows.

Applying Erikson’s insight there is a deep connection between the individualism of Oscar Berg and Zelenyi, on one hand, and the following chapter, on the other.

Falling Man

The roar was still in the air, the buckling rumble

of the fall. This was the world now. Smoke and

ash came rolling down streets and turning corners, busting around

corners, seismic tides of smoke, with office paper flashing past,

standard sheets with cutting edge, skimming, whipping past, otherworldly things

in the morning pall.  It was not a street anymore

but a world, a time and space of falling ash

and near night.   He was walking north through rubble and

mud and there were people running past holding towels to

their faces or jackets over their heads.   They ran, confused.


Paraphrases from the novel Falling Man by Don Delillo.