Representing the Other: 24 and Leatherstocking Tales

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Jeong, Sangjun

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서울대학교 미국학연구소
미국학, Vol.35 No.2, pp. 179-198
RepresentationArab AmericansIslamterrorism24Leatherstoking TalesJames Fenimore Cooper
This paper examines the popular television series 24 with emphasis on contradictory representations of Muslim terrorists in the show and on how a comparison with Coopers work provides new insight into how the root causes of their grievances are portrayed. The paper then compares it with James Fenimore Coopers representation of Native Americans in Leatherstocking Tales, one of the first attempts by an American writer to fairly deal with race relations in the United States. The distinction between evil Arab or Muslim terrorists and good American Arabs in 24 reminds me of good Indians and bad Indians in Coopers work. Natty Bumpo is in fact the archetype of Jack Bauer. What is intriguing about Coopers novel is that both villains and heroes understand whats happening to them. Both Magua and Chingachook, the villain and noble savage, eloquently represent their destiny although they differ in how to deal with it. In contrast, in 24, terrorists are not made to take the trouble to present their case .their grievances and motives .as compellingly or legitimately as possible. Likewise, the good Arab Americans who are positively portrayed do not delve into the root causes of terrorist threats and attacks and take pains to cope with them. As a whole, the characters do not grow, do not develop. 24 is not as biased in portraying Arabs and Muslims as some critics point out. More problematic than racial stereotyping in the show seems to be the lack of concern for the root causes of terrorists grievances, which helps to dehumanize them.
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Researcher Institutes (연구소, 연구원)American Studies Institute (미국학연구소)미국학미국학 Volume 35 Number 1/2 (2012)
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