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AASCIT Communications | Volume 8, Issue 1 | May 15, 2021 online | Page:1-10
Extremist Islam vs the Free World: The Reproduction of Imperialist Discourse in John Updike’s Terrorist
Since the attacks of 9-11, many writers have put their pens to write about this horrible incident, with different writers responding differently to this event. Many works published during this period echo imperialist thinking and depict Muslims, especially Arabs, who were the perpetrators of these terrible attacks, in a stereotypical way. Crucially, these works assert the superiority of western values over their non-western counterpart and help reinforce and legitimize the imperial discourse. Most of the works on this topic show the perspective of the American victims but John Updike’s Terrorist tells the story from the point of view of the Muslims. This paper intends to explore Terrorist as an imperialist text to show that, despite its nuances, this novel is reproducing and reinforcing an imperialist discourse, supporting the stance that western intervention is necessary for the betterment of the undeveloped, unstable and dangerous world. This exploration will be aided by a discussion on the process of radicalization of Muslim youth, and its relation to post 9-11 western foreign policy decisions. This task is accomplished by using Kenan Malik’s thesis of radicalization and Pankaj Mishra’s critique of imperialism placed in a larger theoretical framework embodied in Edward Said’s Culture and Imperialism and it will have educational implications.
Muhammad Abdullah Jamil, Department of English Language and Linguistics, University of Management and Technology, Sialkot, Pakistan.
Imperialism, Muslims, Radicalization, Terrorism, Updike
Arif, Muhamad Shahbaz, and Maqbool Ahmad. "Exploring John Updike’s Terrorist as a Neo-Orientalist Narrative of the Arabo-Islamic World." Journal of Advances in Humanities (2016): 554-561.
Burzynski, Andrea. “Pankaj Mishra Seeks New History of East versus West.” Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 4 Sept. 2012, www.reuters.com/article/books-pankaj-mishra/pankaj-mishra-seeks-new-history-of-east-versus-west-idINDEE8830EQ20120904.
Däwes, Birgit. “‘Close Neighbors to the Unimaginable’: Literary Projections of Terrorists' Perspectives (Martin Amis, John Updike, Don DeLillo).” Jstor, Sept. 2010, www.jstor.org/stable/41158513.
Fernandez, Belen. “'From the Ruins of Empire': Interview with Pankaj Mishra.” Israeli–Palestinian Conflict | Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera, 7 Sept. 2012, www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/09/2012928329663179.html.
Freeman, Bradley M. “Threatening ‘the Good Order’: West Meets East in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Cheat and John Updike’s Terrorist.” Journal of Transnational American Studies, 3(2), 2011.
Goodheart, Eugene. “The Good Terrorist” Jstor, 2007, www.jstor.org/stable/40549852?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents.
Harris, Paul. “The Ex-FBI Informant with a Change of Heart: 'There Is No Real Hunt. It's Fixed'.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 20 Mar. 2012, www.theguardian.com/world/2012/mar/20/fbi-informant.
Hartnell, Anna. “Violence and the Faithful in Post-9/11 America: Updike's Terrorist, Islam, and the Specter of Exceptionalism.” African Studies Review, Cambridge University Press, 24 Sept. 2011, muse.jhu.edu/article/450771.
Herman, Peter C “Terrorism and the Critique of American Culture: John Updike’s Terrorist.” The School Review, 2015, www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/679599.
Malik, Kenan. “Radicalization is not so simple.” Pandaemonium, 8 Oct. 2015, kenanmalik.com/2015/10/07/radicalization-is-not-so-simple/.
Mishra, Pankaj. “LRB • Pankaj Mishra • Watch This Man: Niall Ferguson's Burden.” London Review of Books, London Review of Books, 3 Nov. 2011, www.lrb.co.uk/v33/n21/pankaj-mishra/watch-this-man.
Mishra, Pankaj. “More Trouble than It Is Worth.” African Studies Review, Cambridge University Press, 15 Sept. 2005, muse.jhu.edu/article/186898/.
Pirnajmuddin, H., and Maryam Salehnia. “Islam and Modernity: A Study of John Updike's Terrorist (2006).” Journal of Teaching Language Skills, Shiraz University, 8 Oct. 2012, jtls.shirazu.ac.ir/article_504.html.
Said, Edward W. Culture and imperialism. Vintage Books Edition, 1994.
Updike, John. Terrorist. Ballantine Books, 2007.
Wikipedia Contributors. “Imperialism.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 21 May 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperialism.
Arcticle History
Submitted: Feb. 16, 2021
Accepted: Mar. 2, 2021
Published: May 15, 2021
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