Degree

BS (Social Sciences & Liberal Arts)

Faculty / School

Faculty of Business Administration (FBA)

Department

Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts

Date of Award

2018

Date of Submission

2019-08-15

Advisor/Supervisor

Aliya Iqbal Naqvi, Visiting Faculty, Department of Social Sciences, IBA, Karachi.

Project Type

SSLA Culminating Experience

Access Type

Restricted Access

Abstract / Summary

Jon Doyle has argued that contemporary post-postmodern fiction eschews the critical importance and continued relevance of values and modes of discourse such as irony, cynicism, and skepticism, in favor of sincerity, nostalgia, and belief. In the case of historical fiction such as Michael Chabon’s Moonglow, Doyle argues this leads to reductionist accounts of America’s past—the kind that resemble the rhetoric of contemporary populist politicians. This project challenges Doyle’s claims about Moonglow through a literary analysis of the novel. Firstly, drawing on the work of Marjorie Worthington, I argue that as a work of autofiction Moonglow ironically plays on its own generic ambiguity to cultivate a sense of skepticism aimed at narratives that purport to be factually accurate but are either misleading or altogether false. Using the arguments of contemporary political analysts, writers, and journalists, I will demonstrate that this effect of Moonglow puts it at odds with the effects of the political rhetoric of US President Donald Trump and media channel Fox News. Secondly, through close readings of the novel, I argue that the main characters’ relationships with the themes of storytelling, selfhood, and truth complicate Doyle’s simplistic reading of the narrative’s relationship with the dynamic between skepticism and belief. While the structural aspects of the autofictional novel persuades the reader to be skeptical of deceptive narratives, the thematic content of Moonglow urges a tempering of that skepticism by posing important questions about the role of storytelling in shaping and informing human lives and exploring these questions through the characters of the grandmother and the grandfather.

Pages

v, 58

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