The use of historical allusion in recent American and Arab Fiction

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this paper, we analyse John Updike's Terrorist (2006) and Mohammad Ismail's Desert of Death and Peace (2005) with the aim of examining the use of allusion in the depiction of 9/11 acts and the US occupation of Iraq. The comparison of the two novels, selected from two different literary traditions, enables us to explore American and Arab viewpoints of recent history. By appropriating the discussions of Gerard Genette, Michael Leddy, William Irwin, John Campbell and Allan Pasco on the use of allusion in literature, we argue that when authors allude to history in their works, they either employ allusion to affirm or oppose certain notions. In other words, there are two main strategies of allusion: affirmation and opposition. Updike alludes to history to affirm that Arab terrorists are the main enemies of the USA and also to oppose the actions of those terrorists who give themselves the right to kill civilians. In contrast, Ismail asserts that the Iraqi and American people are equally victims of super-power Jews. Therefore, he exposes an opposition to the US occupation of Iraq and the irrational reaction of the US to 9/11. Both novels implicitly utilise 9/11 and the US occupation of Iraq but each one employs these incidents according to the viewpoint and cultural background of its author. Hence, the different employment of history reveals contestations of worldviews which are symptomatic of the ideological clashes between the East and West.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-68
Number of pages12
JournalGEMA Online Journal of Language Studies
Volume11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Fingerprint

Iraq
history
opposition
great power
worldview
desert
Jew
incident
peace
death
Allusion
Fiction
History
Terrorist
September 11 Attacks
Novel
literature

Keywords

  • 9/11
  • Affirmation
  • Allusion
  • America
  • Iraq
  • Opposition
  • Terrorism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

The use of historical allusion in recent American and Arab Fiction. / Manqoush, Riyad; Md. Yusof, Noraini; Hashim, Ruzy Suliza.

In: GEMA Online Journal of Language Studies, Vol. 11, No. 1, 2011, p. 57-68.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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