Going Scapegoat: Post–9/11 War Literature, Language and Culture
David A. Buchanan
Since 9/11, war literature has become a key element in American popular culture, spurring critical debate about depictions of combat—Who can write war literature? When can they do it? This book presents a new way to closely read war narratives, questioning the idea of “combat gnosticism”—the belief that the experience of war is impossible to communicate to those who have not seen it—that has dominated the discussion.
Adapting Kenneth Burke’s scapegoat mechanism to the criticism of literature and film, the author examines three novels from 2012—Ben Fountain’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, David Abrams’s FOBBIT and Kevin Powers’ The Yellow Birds—that represent the U.S. military responses to 9/11.