The Hero and the Victim: Narratives of Criminality in Iraq War Fiction

289 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2020

See all articles by Gregory Brazeal

Gregory Brazeal

University of South Dakota Law School

Date Written: July 15, 2020

Abstract

"The Hero and the Victim: Narratives of Criminality in Iraq War Fiction" analyzes several works of literary fiction, and one popular memoir, by American authors about the U.S. military experience in the Iraq War from 2003 to 2011. In contrast to the emphasis of most ancient war literature on the figure of the warrior-as-hero, and the growing modern emphasis on the figure of the soldier-as-victim, Iraq War fiction reflects the troubled emergence of a new narrative template for war literature: the story of the ordinary soldier as a wrongdoer or even criminal. Iraq War fiction is haunted by depictions of moral injury and expressions of unresolved guilt. The dissertation argues that the emphasis on criminality in Iraq War fiction can be partly explained by the rise of moral cosmopolitanism and its blurring of the traditional conceptual lines between war and crime.

Keywords: Hero, Victim, War, Crime, Cosmopolitanism, Iraq War, Iraq War Literature, Vietnam War Literature, War Literature, International Humanitarian Law, Helen Benedict, Chris Kyle, Kevin Powers, Phil Klay, Roy Scranton, Nico Walker, Charles Taylor

Suggested Citation

Brazeal, Gregory, The Hero and the Victim: Narratives of Criminality in Iraq War Fiction (July 15, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3663476 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3663476

Gregory Brazeal (Contact Author)

University of South Dakota Law School ( email )

414 E. Clark Street
Vermillion, SD 57069
United States

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