Document Type

Honors Project - Open Access


This project builds off historical and literary war theories about binaries to interrogate whether the nature of war writing has changed as war has changed. I analyze two Vietnam and two Iraq war novels for the ways they challenge or uphold the binaries of war, and how these binaries shift over time. I argue that the breakdown of a coherent ‘enemy’ due to the increase of a diffuse and decentralized insurgent force increasing from the Vietnam War to the Iraq War begins to collapse the binaries of ally versus enemy and combatant versus noncombatant in the countries in which the United States wages war. At the same time, the elimination of the American draft widens the gap between American soldiers and civilians as fewer and fewer Americans serve or know anyone who has served in the military.



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