Coming of Age in 9/11 Fiction: Bildungsroman and Loss of Innocence
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The War of My Generation: Youth Culture and the War on Terror
Directly after the horrific events of September 11, 2001, many Americans were saying the same thing: the world has changed forever. They were overwhelmed with a sense that “the party was over.” It was clear that America had lost its innocence; it now had to “grow up.” Much of the fiction produced since 9/11 and with 9/11 at its core provides evidence of the larger cultural belief that September 11 was a turning point (much like adolescence) from which there is no turning back. In this chapter, I examine how three post-9/11 novels—Lorrie Moore’s A Gate at the Stairs, Joyce Maynard’s The Usual Rules, and John Updike’s Terrorist—position readers to understand September 11 as a moment that changed how young Americans come of age.