An American Breed: Wealthy White Protagonists

  • Lenore Bell


This chapter discusses the template of upper-class whiteness that many of the novels’ protagonists are based on. Explores mechanisms of innocence, intra-white racial signaling, and gender dynamics. It also draws attention to the uses of historical parallel in order to characterize the September 11 attacks.


9/11 critical race theory blood Cold War whiteness innocence literature New York City the Other Don DeLillo Joseph O’Neill Jay McInerney Jonathan Safran Foer John Updike Amy Waldman Alexis de Tocqueville puritans lost cause nostalgia Günter Grass gentrification Maya Lin 


  1. de Tocqueville A (2012) Democracy in America -Volume 1. Kindle Edition.Google Scholar
  2. DeLillo D (1992) Mao II. Penguin, New York.Google Scholar
  3. DeLillo D (2007) Falling Man. Picador, London.Google Scholar
  4. ——— (2010) Point Omega. Scribner, New York.Google Scholar
  5. Dyer R (1997) White. Routledge, Oxford.Google Scholar
  6. Faber M (2005) “A Tower of Babble.” The Guardian. June 4, 2005.Google Scholar
  7. Jackson R (2005) Writing the War on Terrorism: Language, Politics, and Counter-Terrorism. Manchester University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  8. Jones T (2006) “Mr Down-by-the-Levee.” London Review of Books. September 7.Google Scholar
  9. McInerney J (2005) The Good Life. Bloomsbury Books, London.Google Scholar
  10. McVeigh S, Cooper N (2013) Men after War. Routledge, Oxford.Google Scholar
  11. Miller K (2014) Transatlantic Literature and Culture after 9/11. Palgrave Macmillan, London.Google Scholar
  12. Morrison T (1992) Playing in the Dark. Harvard University Press, London.Google Scholar
  13. O’Neill J (2008) Netherland. Harper, New York.Google Scholar
  14. Safran Foer J (2006) Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Penguin, London.Google Scholar
  15. Shephard A (2016) Can Jonathan Safran Foer Make a Comeback? September 7.
  16. Solomon D (2005) “The Rescue Artist.” The New York Times. February 25.Google Scholar
  17. Updike J (2007) Terrorist. Penguin, London.Google Scholar
  18. ——— John Updike on KCRW’s Bookworm podcast. September 14, 2006. Accessed October 11, 2013.
  19. Waldman A (2011) The Submission: A Novel. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York.Google Scholar
  20. ——— (1997) Underworld. Scribner, New York.Google Scholar
  21. ——— (2003) Cosmopolis. Scribner, New York.Google Scholar
  22. ——— (1984) Bright Lights, Big City. Vintage, New York.Google Scholar
  23. ——— (1992) Brightness Falls. Knopf, New York.Google Scholar
  24. ——— (2016) Bright, Precious Days. Knopf, New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lenore Bell
    • 1
  1. 1.St AndrewsFifeUnited Kingdom

Personalised recommendations