John Updike’s Terrorist: Islamist Misogyny or a Backlash on American Feminist Propaganda?
Keywords:Feminism, Orientalism, Misogyny, Women, Muslim
The United States of America launched its war on terror in October, 2001. The war was declared both as a fight against
terrorism and a mission to liberate the powerless, oppressed Muslim women. The Orientalist representation of Muslim
women as a victim of their misogynistic culture is observed to have been re-invented by this twin rhetoric of war on terror of
the American Government. Following the assumption that American literary artists would devote their artistic talent in
support of their government, critics and scholars have excessively approached post 9/11 literature through Edward Said’s
theory of Orientalism. While it is true that some American artists represent the conflict to be between two civilizations
(modern vs backward), but the theory affect has made it difficult to imagine a western literary depiction without an
Orientalist lens. Consequently, western texts become vulnerable to misunderstanding or biased reading. John Updike’s
Terrorist (2006), for example, has been read as an Orientalist text in which women are used to depict Muslim frustration
toward women liberation. Focusing on the representation of women, this article explores Updike’s text as a backlash on
American feminist politicized discourse, a new strategy of narrative to encounter the dominant narrative and challenge the
tradition of Orientalism.