When the “World” Trade Center emerged as the new tallest building of the world, many were blinded by optimism and believed that the building was a representative of a world of "perfection", where everything was fine. But in reality, as a nation and the world realized on September 11 2001, the building was just an ephemeral ideal subject to the cruel reality of our world today. In Joseph O’Neill’s novel Netherlands, the main characters Chuck Ramkisoon and Hans Van den Broek both symbolize the rise of each of the Twin Towers by idealism, dream, hope and love, and their eventual fall tumbling down by the conflicting forces of reality and hatred.
The first “tower” was built by Chuck with his idealism and dreams. When Chuck was introduced in the novel, he was viewed as a person who could do anything; for example, he stops an overreacting player who brings out a gun during the game. He is also perceived as not the norm but the idealist, who goes on and on about his ideas and his future. Chuck’s idealism and dream started when he was a young boy in Trinidad who desperately wanted to play cricket. Despite his father’s strong objection toward cricket, Chuck continued to dream of opening his own cricket field. When he moved to America, Chuck was determined to achieve his dream. He believed “negativity [was] a national disease” (150), refusing to give up to cruel reality and rising above the “netherland” (bottom of reality). However, his dream proved too big for reality. Chuck says “I’m talking about an arena. A sports arena for the greatest cricket teams in the world...” (79). In order for his idealism and dream to survive, he needed someone or another “tower” to rise with him and support him; and that was Hans van den Broek.
Hans becomes another “tower” through Chuck’s influence. Before meeting Chuck, Hans was suffering greatly after his family was torn apart after the tragedy of 9/11. Hans's wife Rachel, points...