Date of Award

8-20-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Christopher Orchard, D.Phil.

Second Advisor

Lingyan Yang, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Todd Thompson, Ph.D.

Abstract

This dissertation examines the 9/11 novel for evidence of the continuities of Orientalism, for an intensified resistance to Orientalism, and for a new discourse of conciliation. The analysis primarily employs Said’s Orientalism as the theoretical framework to study the selected texts. Said’s Orientalism looks at how the colonial relationship manifests itself in cultural representations. He claims that Western discourse creates prejudices against non-Western cultures by putting them in the classification of the “Other.” He laments that this discourse continues to resonate after 9/11. While I partially concur with Said and argue that the same discourse can be seen at work in some 9/11 novels, I also argue that other 9/11 novels resist Orientalism. This resistance uses counter-Orientalist strategies against the West’s hegemonic projects. I argue further that yet other novels look for new spaces of engagement post-9/11. Unlike previous works in the discursive field of Orientalism, this examination is the first full-fledged perspective of how the 9/11 novel engages with the conflict between the West and Islam after 9/11. The introductory chapter introduces the 9/11 novel in terms of its scholarship and locates it in literature’s response to 9/11. The second chapter examines Don DeLillo’s Falling Man, John Updike’s Terrorist and Martin Amis’s “The Last Days of Mohammad Atta” for an intensified Orientalism after 9/11. These texts depict the West under attack from Islam, a fundamentalist religion of inherent violence. The third chapter investigates Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist and H. M. Naqvi’s v Home Boy as resistance narratives to respond to that intensified Orientalism after 9/11. The intent of these novels is to resist America’s imperialism by countering its discriminations, othering, and stereotypes of the Other. Chapter four examines Ian McEwan’s Saturday and Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland for their exploration of new spaces to engage with post-9/11 anxiety and the Other. These novels seek spaces of comfort to counteract that anxiety and engage with the Other in the cosmopolitan space. The concluding chapter explores the evolution of the 9/11 novel in the last eleven years and its intersections with the media which has also engaged in Orientalist discourse after 9/11.

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