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Analysis / Doom House

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Finding the American Dream in a Post-9/11 America

Warning: Contains Ending Spoilers

Made only two years after one of the most terrible days in American history, directors Rich Kyanka and Kevin Bowen embed within the subtext of their magnum opus Doom House a powerful and provocative response to the average American's response to that awful Tuesday day.

Our protagonist, Reginald P. Linux, is just an average Joe Six-Pack, not unlike most Americans, who is no stranger to tragedy. His wife died, and this sorrowful loss of a loved one has left Reginald immensely overwrought with grief. This parallels the the severe depression and abject despair that weighed down the heavy hearts of millions of people for months and years after thousands of other people died on September 11, 2001.


The only thing that allows Linux to smile through the pain and emotional anguish that has already devastated him is the dream of moving into a beautiful, new two-story home. This quest represents The American Dream, the yearning desire to rise through suffering and hardship and then live well and happily. This is something everybody can relate to, especially after having endured a harrowing tragedy. Just like the millions who wanted a return to the tranquility and normalcy that they knew before 9/11, Reginald P. Linux seeks the betterment of his own situation after his own tragic event.

However, attaining that American Dream after having endured a terrible tragedy is not as easy as buying a new house, as Linux learns. While he seeks a return to normalcy, the world around him is no longer normal. What Kyanka and Bowen are looking to stress here is that American life has been forever altered by 9/11, as now we see things in our world that defy rational explanation, like foreign terrorists that want to attack everyday people who never did anything wrong... or odd-looking figurines that cannot be destroyed in garbage disposals.


The important thing is that while it is still possible to attain the American Dream in a post-9/11 world, we still must remain careful of what we are dreaming for. A happy house, like freedom, is not free, and these things come at a price. We need to learn to directly confront the inexplicable whenever it shows itself, no matter how terrifying or challenging it may be. Only then can a dream be truly attained and safely and pleasantly enjoyed. Reginald P. Linux can only live happily again after he eliminates all the terrors in his basement; America can only ever be happy again after all terrorists are killed.


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