Islam and Modernity: A Study of John Updike's Terrorist (2006)

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

1 Assitant Professor University of Isfahan

2 M. A., English Literature University of Isfahan

Abstract

The images of Muslims in media, literature and politics have been mostly black and white portrayals of a people alien to modernity, technology, civilization and progress. Since the end of the Cold War and the onset of deadly terrorist attacks in different areas of the world, especially in the United States, these representations show a palpable difference: Muslims are predominantly represented not only as anti-modern barbarians, but also as terrorists. The present paper examines John Updike’s Terrorist (2006) as one of many American novels which, in line with the dominant political discourse, has focused on representing Muslims as ‘the others’ and Islam as a totalitarian and retrogressive religion which orders its adherents to use violence against unbelievers. The writers discuss Updike’s attempt at introducing Islam as intolerant of Western modernity and democracy (the main inspiration for the Arab-Muslim protagonist of the novel intends to carry out a terrorist attack). The aim is to show how Updike more or less subscribes to and empowers Orientalist conceptions of Islam.    

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