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This paper argues that the terrorist embodies a dominator paradigm, exalting and justifying violence, while the Master’s capacity to create through his narratives is attuned to a partnership paradigm. The terrorist’s paranoid, lucid, and terse first person narration of his meticulous (almost religious) preparations for the assassination is set against the intensely poetical creativity of the Master, underlining the beauty and poetry of life. This dialogue between two different modes of perceiving and filtering reality is built around the metaphor of children playing. In a willing suspension of disbelief, the Master, like a child, constructs his own reality in imagining worlds his readers share. The terrorist tries to imitate and mimic his Master, perfectly aware that he is unable to create like him. The actualisation of his long-imagined violence, which can only annihilate and destroy and is powerless, is his failed attempt at counterbalancing his lack of true creative and dialogic imagination.
The aim of this essay is to compare the reactions to the 2001 attack to the Twin Towers as they are related and reflected upon in Western and non-Western fiction. We start from the analysis of a novel by a Pakistani author, Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Then, we compare the genesis of a terrorist, as it is depicted by the American author John Updike in Terrorist, and the creation of a terrorist by the media, which is the main subject of The Unknown Terrorist by the Australian 2014 Man Booker Prize Winner Richard Flanagan.