"Hey, Come On, We're All Americans Here": The Representation of Muslim-American Identity in John Updike's Terrorist [chapter]

Ulla Kriebernegg
European Perspectives on John Updike  
In his 'post-9/11 novel' Terrorist (2006) John Updike portrays Ahmad, an American high school boy struggling to come to terms with his hyphenated Arab-Irish-American identity in a multi-ethnic US American environment. Trying to redefine his place as a citizen in a 'western' culture, the stereotypical ascriptions of ' Arab' and 'Muslim' influence the protagonist's self-perception and his identity formation as he "fits the racial profile of white anxiety" (Davis 2001: 48). Updike's representation
more » ... of a young Muslim-American in post-9/11 New Jersey employs all sorts of clichés and has been heavily criticized by reviewers for the stereotypical and hollow depiction of his young protagonist. In this paper, Updike's fictional interpretation of Islamist terrorism as a literary response to 9/11 and the "Clash of Civilizations" is investigated.
doi:10.1017/9781787442498.011 fatcat:qmlochrx7jdzjfnrvu5smeroae