Updike, Morrison, and Roth: The politics of American identity

Christopher Steven Love, University of Southern Mississippi


My dissertation analyzes American identity in the works of John Updike, Toni Morrison, and Philip Roth. Specifically, I examine American identity in Updike's Rabbit tetralogy (1960-1990); Morrison's trilogy of novels Beloved (1987), Jazz (1992), and Paradise (1998); and Roth's trilogy comprising the novels American Pastoral (1997), I Married a Communist (1998), and The Human Stain (2000). The studied texts of these three novelists, I argue, attack national myths and undermine exclusive narratives that are incongruent with the nation's ideal identity as a pluralistic and democratic nation.