Graduation Date

8-2017

Document Type

Senior Thesis (Campus only Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Literature and Languages

Department or Program Chair

Carlos Rodríguez, M.A.

First Reader

Amy Wong, Ph.D.

Abstract

This project is an examination of American fiction, television, and poetry after the September 11th terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers of New York’s World Trade Center in 2001. Through a range of genres that depict contemporary, post-9/11 America, it is evident that as a means of recovery, American narratives have come to value isolation through the “othering” of Islam. Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom provides a critique of the middle-class conservatism that develops as a reaction to the attacks. As Franzen portrays the destruction and immorality behind overly zealous concerns about national security and stresses, he demonstrates the importance of preserving and valuing humanity as a whole. From the television series Homeland, it is clear that post-9/11 Americans commonly understand the Middle East and Muslims to all be dangerous. The first episode of the series has a selective, stereotypical illustration of Iraq and the Iraqi people, which is used to justify an American fear of the Middle East. Lastly, Juan Herrera’s volume Cinnamon Girl: letters found inside a cereal box, uses free verse poetry to depict the importance of the arts in creating positive social and political change to combat the trauma and destruction from the attacks.

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