JFK Voices: Tragedy, Fiction And The Gap After Kennedy | KERA News

JFK Voices: Tragedy, Fiction And The Gap After Kennedy

Nov 20, 2013

Walton Muyumba is a professor of English at UNT. He found something telling while discussing literature as a response to terrorism with his students. Though writers processed other horrific events immediately, Muyumba says, much more time passed before there was a novel about JFK's murder. That's not unlike stories and feelings just now emerging from North Texans after 50 years.

Interview highlights

We humans have been terrorizing each other for a long, long time. The way we respond to that terror is just as significant as the events themselves. So when I relayed the story of certain Dallasites who just finally after 50 years were just now able to speak about their terror and their trauma surrounding the JFK assassination they [my students] found it astonishing.

Because in contemporary American life – After the World Trade Center attacks, after  the attack on the Pentagon – people started writing novels about the thing immediately. But really, before we got a significant piece of literary art – 25 years passed before Don DeLillo’s Libra.

Even though we had documentaries, we had the Warren report, we’ve had films – including JFK, Oliver Stone’s movie – we in Dallas are just documenting our response to the assassination.