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VIOLENCE, NARRATIVE AND COMMUNITY AFTER 9/11: A READING OF IAN McEWAN’S SATURDAY

by Isherwood, Jennifer

Abstract (Summary)
This thesis situates Ian McEwan’s novel Saturday(2005) in the context of debates about violence, narrative and community. Drawing primarily on critiques of the West’s responses to 9/11 by Judith Butler, Jenny Edkins and Slavoj Žižek, I explore the tendency for Western nation states to recycle their trauma into stabilizing narratives that erase ambivalent questions about the state’s own complicity in provoking violent conflict. Set on the day of worldwide protests against the war in Iraq, McEwan’s Saturdaycritiques a dominant post-9/11 narrative frame of imminent terrorist attack. In my reading, I examine the news media’s role in producing a passive and depoliticized “community of anxiety.” I explore issues of privilege and detachment, as well as the forms of violence that are de/legitimized within the dominant democratic social order. Finally, I argue that Saturday’s protagonist moves towards a greater sense of his ethical responsibility for others. Through a story about the invasion of one family’s heavily secured home, McEwan affords us the opportunity to think about ethical responses to violent interventions that have been foreclosed by the military response to 9/11.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Bowling Green State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:ian mcewan saturday violence narrative community

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2006

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