Drawing on interviews and essays in which Roth has discussed how he perceives his place in literature and in society, the author argues that American Pastoral highlights the affinity between the writer and the terrorist as creative and destructive agents of change. By paying close attention to the book's formal complexities, the author concludes that Zuckerman's seeming identification with Seymour Levov is deceptive, and the narrator is idealogically more understanding of the terrorist daughter than he is of her "depthless" father.