The Power of Religion
In a very rapidly evolving economy and society the power of religion, culture and politics are making a major effect on the world that everyone today calls home. The power of religion, culture and politics relate to the post colonial literary lens and can be synced into creating the definition of what the post colonial literary lens means. In the New York Times bestseller written by John Updike titled Terrorist, the post colonial lens is evident throughout the novel as there is a continuous struggle of religion, culture and politics. The power of religion and culture is shown as individuals are willing to risk their lives for their own religion. In the United States of America members of the Muslim religion are not always treated as equally as the average American and this creates a struggle. The effects and struggles are shown throughout the novel from three of the main characters Ahmad Mulloy, Jack Levy and Shaikh Rashid. Ahmad Mulloy is an eighteen year old boy who is about to graduate high school and is strongly influenced by his Muslim religion and background beliefs. Jack Levy is the guidance councilor at the school that Ahmad attends and sees the intelligence in Ahmad when others do not including Ahmad himself. Shaikh Rashid is the leader of the local mosque that Ahmad attends frequently for advice and to pray. Through these three very different characters the post colonial lens is shown in different ways.
At the beginning of the novel it is evident that the Muslim religion is not welcomed and appreciated in the American society of Patterson, New Jersey where Ahmad has been raised. Ahmad has a hatred for his mother Teresa Mulloy who raised him from a child, but on the flip side he idolizes his absent father who left Ahmad and his mother when he was only three years old. The power of the Muslim religion on Ahmad is present right from the beginning of the novel as he has sexual impulses towards another girl at his high school named Joryleen. The power of the Muslim religion on Ahmad can be seen when “Ahmad knows it is a sin to be vulgar towards his own god and that is why his sexual impulses for Joryleen dissipated,” (Updike, 18). Ahmad had sexual impulses towards a fellow schoolmate Joryleen who he had a crush on but God instructed him to repress them as it is a sin to have thoughts like this occupying your head. The power of religion is shown as he forces himself to give up thoughts that make him happy and excites him because it is not welcomed by the God in which he finds himself in the arms of. Moving through the novel Ahmad who is a very intelligent young adult has a desire to be a truck driver as he is convinced that it is a practical skill of good merit. Ahmad is also very frightened by the thoughts that continuing his academic studies in high school will strengthen his occasional religious doubt. While Ahmad is sitting in class his thoughts are doubtful, “sitting in class listening to his fellow classmates discuss what they are doing on the weekend, he realizes that he is not doing as much to keep up with his religion as he did in the past,” (Updike, 64). Ahmad has been in school and is realizing that the effects of an American public high school is changing his views on his religion and in his mind he believes he is betraying his God and this frightens him. He realizes that he needs to get out of school because it is manipulating him into a non-Islamic minded American like all of the others. He decides to drop out of school and become a truck driver and focus more on his religion and practicing the Muslim religion and this is why he begins going to a local mosque frequently. Moving on towards the ending of the novel Ahmad has become a very big believer in the Muslim religion and it is overpowering his thoughts on what is politically right and right in his religion. Ahmad’s involvement in the local mosque that he attends has got him involved in a terrorist plot against American...
Cited: Updike, John. Terrorist. New York: The Random House Publishing Group. 2006. 310.
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