Journal of Language Teaching and Research, Vol 3, No 3 (2012), 484-488, May 2012

Political Zionism and Fiction: A Study of John Updike's Terrorist

Maryam Salehnia


Since its creation in 1948, Israel has more visibly touched upon different discourses, such as political, cultural and religious, to legitimize its existence in Palestine, a land that had nothing to do with Holocaust and Nazi's violence against European Jews. Regarding the deep political influence and power of Israel over the United States, the present writer would attempt to trace such influence in recently-written American fictions which deal with the newly-shaped genre, 'literary terrorism', especially John Updike's Terrorist (2006). Having witnessed the terrorist attacks of September 11, Updike, one of the most committed American writers, portrayed an Arab-American teenage boy, Ahmad, whose extremist justifications would have turned him into an anti-hero, if Jack Levy, the Jewish protagonist of the novel, had not changed his mind at the end of the novel. Here, Updike focuses on the Orientalist and Neo-Orientalist binary opposition of ‘the Self’/ ‘the Other’, represented by Jack and Ahmad, in order to demonstrate and justify the claimed superiority of the ‘the West’ (or ‘Israel’ here) over ‘the Orient’.


Neo-Orientalism; John Updike; political zionism; literary terrorism



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Journal of Language Teaching and Research (JLTR, ISSN 1798-4769)

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