116th Annual Conference - Bellingham, Washington
Friday, November 9 - Sunday, November 11, 2018

Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2005): The Representation of the “Other”

Md. Shakhaowat Hossain, North South University

Since decolonization, Islam and Muslims replaced the natives at the turn of the twentieth century, and have become the “other” as a result of the stereotypical representations through neo-Orientalist discourse and media. This paper argues that the state of the “other” that Muslims live in today is produced by the dominant Western discourse, taking as example Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2005).

Proposal: 

9/11 is a stimulus that the “center” often uses to develop arguments between the West and Muslims which draw a sharp line between the two, making one “superior” and the other “inferior.” Western neo-Orientalist discourse reflects the West’s hegemonial interests for a neo-colonized-body that it turns into after the natives. Since decolonization, Islam and Muslims replaced the natives at the turn of the twentieth century, and have become the “other” as a result of the stereotypical representations through neo-Orientalist discourse and media. This paper argues that the state of the “other” that Muslims live in today is produced by the dominant Western discourse, taking as example Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2005). The neo-Orientalist discourse racializes based on religion, unlike race and skin color of the colonial era, and maintains the hegemony of the West over the “other” in the twenty-first century. Apart from the primary target, religion, the “center” also regionalizes the neo-colonized-body in a specific geography, the Arab region, to locate it with a concrete identity. That identity of the “other” mirrors the reflection of the “self.” As the “self” looks at the “other” in the mirror, the existence of the “other” is subjected to the controlling gaze of the “self.”