Can Bahad?r Yüce
Indiana University, 1011 E 3rd St, Bloomington, IN 47405, firstname.lastname@example.org, orcid.org/0000-0001-5904-8007. Email: email@example.com
Received December 14, 2017; Revised March March 31, 2018; Accepted April 10, 2018; Published May 06, 2018.
In Middle Eastern fiction, the East-West discourse has largely been discussed through gender representations. Amos Oz’s 1998 novel Panther in the Basement follows this pattern by offering a complex portrayal of concurrent themes regarding the creation of the modern Middle East such as nation-building and empire. The novel narrates the friendship between a Jewish boy and a British soldier. The contrast between the boy’s emerging manhood and the soldier’s deficient masculinity suggests a reading of the tension between nationalism and colonialism through the realm of gender. The boy’s manliness features represent the idealism of the emerging nation-state whereas the soldier’s vulnerable masculinity represents declining imperial colonialism. The novel’s presentation of “clashing masculinities” indicates that a variety of masculinities exist, instead of one type of masculinity. This paper explores how Panther in the Basement offers cultural criticism by deconstructing the conventional conceptualizations of gender.
Keywords: masculinity, nationalism, colonialism, cultural criticism, gender, Amos Oz, the New Man, Middle Eastern literature.