My Thoughts Chapter Four
Peoplecan read the same book, but interpret its content in different ways.The view of the reader can be influenced by many factors, includingthe life experiences and the depth of understanding of the themesdiscussed in the novel. In this paper, Bruce Anders’ opinion aboutchapter four, nine, and thirteen will be summarized. The paper willalso provide a subjective analysis of the instructor’s summary.
Anderstalks about his own opinion on the fourth chapter. His attention iscaught by the first sentence that states, “Mamaleft” (Jarrar 63). It marks a shift in the mood from the previouschapter of the book since it is jarring. The second thing that henotices from the book is the fact that Nidali, the narrator, isworried that the departure of her mother will force her to assume theparental roles whereas his brother is giggling and finding it anamusing moment. He emphasizes on the word “assigned” since itmeans that Nidali is given many roles against her wish. He alsobelieves that fighting in Nidali’s family has been a common trend.This opinion is derived from the phrase “the fight was the biggestthey ever had” (63). In addition, Anders also notices that Nidali’sparents have been brought together by their differences, but theyhave resulted in their separation. He states, “I’ve seen this lotof many relationships in my life that two people come togetherbecause of differences.” He states in another sentence, “Ibelieve that those relationships are hard to maintain.” Andersholds that Nidali’s parents go through the same fate. He is alsoamazed by the tendency of Nidali’s mother to slam her fist againsther own thigh since this can only cause pain. He states, “Ifsomeone is angry he or she usually slams some inanimate object like adesk, countertop or arm rest on a sofa.”
Andersstates his opinion about Jarrar’sbook, but my views are quite different. First, Anders insists thatNidali’s parents are separated by the same differences that havebrought them together. However, I am of the opinion that her fatheris tired of having a wife who is not prepared to assume herresponsibilities. My claim is supported by the fact that he complainsof finding the house dirty and carrying wilted chicken while going towork. For example, Baba declares, “You’re at the piano day andnight Goddamn you, Fairuza, can’t you be a wife? (63). However,this situation does not seem to improve because the entire familystarts eating pizza and drinking Nescafe, leaving unclean cups aswell as dishes littering on the floor. In my view, Nidali’s fatheris not worried by the differences, but living with an irresponsiblemother makes him angry. He is comfortable living in a dirty house inthe absence of a careless wife. Second, Anders argues that thesituation where Gamal, Nidali’s brother, finds the ride an amusingmoment suggests that people within a tiny culture see things fromdifferent angles. However, I see this scenario from a dissimilarperspective. I believe that the boy is not worried to the same extentas his sister since the departure of his mother will not affect hisgender roles in the family. The story represents the culture of aPalestinian household where the wife is expected to take care of thehusband as well as the children. From this perspective, a gap is leftin the female side in a family of two men and women once the motherleaves. Therefore, Nidali, who is a girl, is likely to get moreworried than her brother.
MyOpinion: Chapter Nine
Anderstalks about his own opinion on the ninth chapter. Although there aremany issues that one can learn from this part of the novel, hisattention was caught by four major themes. The first one istransition, which is marked by an event in which Nidali startsexperiencing her period. Anders states, “This is her making thetransition from girl to young women.” The second theme isresourcefulness, where Nidali’s father is portrayed as aresourceful character. Apart from material items, he has a lot ofskills that helps him and his family travel from one country toanother .While explaining why she concludes that her father is aresourceful person, Nidali states, “A civil soldier pulled us over,baba tried to figure out if this soldier was a whiskey man or a silktie man” (Jarrar 149).The third theme that Anders addresses issurvival. This is confirmed by the ability of Nidali’s family tosurvive the harsh conditions. Anders states, “He has lived longenough in this part of the world to know he needs to bring someBrides along with him.” While describing Nidali’s ability tosurvive the harsh conditions, Anders states, “She does have thestrength much like her Mama and Baba.” Last theme is culture, whereAnders holds that Nidali’s father is familiar with beliefs andbehaviors of the people living in regions. Anders states, “He livesin this culture and it definitely has positive and negativeconsequences, but he has a set of tools that allows him to keepsurviving.”
Andersstates his views about Jarrar’s novel, but I have my opinions thatare quite different. First, my interpretation of Nidali’s firstperiod differs from what Anders thinks. He believes that itrepresents a transition from the first part of the book to the secondone. I agree with him that a shift from a girl to a young womanrepresents the theme of transition. However, in my view, it standsfor a movement from one home to another. My idea is based on the factthat the ninth chapters the narrative of a family that is in theprocess of traveling from one country to another. Therefore, Nidali,her siblings, and parents will have a new home. In my opinion, thisis the major form of transition that is represented by her firstperiod. My second opinion that differs from the position held byAnders is that the idea that Nidali’s father manages to overcomeobstacles in their journey due to his experience of the culture. Inmy view, he is the head of the family and he has to do everythingwithin his powers to get his children and the wife across the border.The use of the word “sand” implies that they travel in a desert.In addition, the occupation of Iraq by the U.S. forces suggests thatthey traverse regions that are war torn. Prediction of the behaviorof the security agents at the border points may be an illustration ofa long-term experience of the culture of the people living in thearea, but going through the desert and a region facing civil war aswell as terrorism requires bravery. While reading this chapter, I seethe head of a family who has done all that is humanly possible inorder to get his wife and children to a safer place that they willconsider as their new home. This may not necessarily depend on hisunderstanding of the culture, given that they travel across differentcountries.
MyOpinion: Chapter 13
Inhis presentation, Andersdiscusses his opinions about the key ideas that are presented inChapter thirteenth .The overall theme that Anders discusses is acultural change that Nidali experiences after migrating from theMiddle East to the United States. This is illustrated by the bigdifference that exists between what is presented in the soaps andreality. While restating Nidali’s description of her experience,Anders states, “America isn’t what she has pictured it to be andof course this is to television.” In addition, Anders notices howthe traffic experience in the U.S. differs from the Middle East. Hestates, “Drivers treat those traffic lights are completely new forher in America.” The fact that drivers in the U.S. respect trafficlights that are often ignored in Middle East is a significantdifference between the two regions. Anders also discovered thatNidali is concerned about the difficulties that people who immigrateto the U.S. during their adulthood experience he states, “It takesa while to read and retrain old habits and one of the habits thatNidali parents have is they are antagonistic.” Moreover, Andersnotices that Nidali is surprised to see the koi fish in America sinceit is mainly consumed in the Asian countries. Anders states, “Howlong this has been their home in this particular part of the world,but also on the macro level on the bigger level koi fish originallycome from Asia.” The difference in the rights of women is anotherissue he states, “In the Middle East it’s very unusual for awoman to go and study at the University.”
Andersmakes a clear presentation of his views of Jarrar’s novel, but Ihave some different opinions. Although he notices that the Americanlife that is presented in the soaps is different from reality, I amsurprised that he fails to mention that most of the TV programs focuson the entertainment, while failing to present the culture of theAmerican people to the world. This makes new immigrants to expect tosee a society that depicts what they see in movies and soaps. Inaddition, the Anders holds that the differences between the wayAmericans and drivers in the Middle East respect traffic lights is anindication of culture difference. However, I see this as a differencein the level of civilization, where Americas perceive the importanceof respecting the law. On the contrary, the use of lights to stop adriver in the Middle East could be perceived as a nuisance. Inaddition, Anders describes Nidali’s parents as antagonistic peoplewho do not like the habits of the Americans. In my view, theseparents are adults who have practiced the culture of the Middle Eastthroughout their lives. From the novel, it is evident that Nidali,who is a child, is happy and willing to adopt what is practiced inAmerica. Therefore, I see her parents as adults who find it difficultto abandon their culture compared to Nidali, who is young and in theprocess of learning. Therefore, their age affects them more than theaspect of being antagonistic.
Research:Women in the Palestine culture
ThePalestine culture has created a platform on which gender violence canflourish. Unfortunately, it affects women disproportionately, wheremen are given full authority over their wives. Beating one’s wifeis considered as a way of instilling discipline and keeping herstraight. While describing how the Palestinian culture contributestowards the menace of gender violence against women, Dvorin stated,“The culture of the entire society is that a husband has bought thewomen and paid for her and therefore she has become his property”(p. 1). This type of culture has created a perception that marriedwomen and part of the husbands’ property and they must serve andobey them without questioning the authority of the men.
Thisperception has been entrenched into the culture of the Palestiniansto an extent that the majority of women consider being beaten as partof their marriage life. This has been confirmed by a study showingthat more than 41 % of the women in Palestine believe that violenceagainst them is justifiable if they leave the house without informingtheir husbands (Dvorin 1). The same study indicated that over 74 % ofthe women hold that violence against them can be justified if theyfail to assume their gender role of taking care of their kids orhusbands. This data indicates that Palestinian women are ready toaccept beating and other forms of domestic violence and take them asmethods of punishment for their own mistakes. Women who have thisperception still are willing to continue staying with their violenthusbands.
Inaddition, the culture of the Palestinians allows husbands to divorcetheir wives, while the society at large dehumanizes women who areleft by men. Dvorin studied the topic of divorce in Palestine andstated, “Divorced women are often dehumanised and ridiculed” (p.1). They are often insulted, beaten, and segregated by the rest ofthe members of the society, which is considered as the price of theirfreedom. On the contrary, men who divorce their wives are free tolead a satisfying life and remarry, which indicates the lack offairness in the country. Most importantly, the girls who are broughtup in this patriarchal society fear divorce, even when they migrateto other countries.
Palestinianmen expect their wives to posses certain values, but three of themare mandatory. The first one is hospitality, where the majority ofthe Palestinian men marries with the objective of getting women whowill assist them in keeping their homes worm and comfortable toeveryone, including the guests, children, and husbands. The culturedictates that the value of hospitality is demonstrated through foodand sweets (Jayachandran 2). The second value is the honor.Palestinians hold that honor in the family as well as the society isreflected through its women. The society demands honor from womenwhile leaving women at liberty to escape the blame, even if they failto show the same value. Jayyusi stated, “Modesty and chastity amongwomen are key values” (p. 1). This suggests that the society hasset higher standards for women than men. The last value is familysolidarity. Schweitzer also described this situation by stating,“Women lack equal rights and their status in society is much lowerthan that of their male counterparts” (p. 10). The Palestiniansexpect women to play the role of uniting all members of the family.By taking care of the husband and children, women create anenvironment that enables all members of the family to stay together.
Althoughperception about traditional gender roles among Palestinians hasundergone significant changes over the years, a large population ofthe residents still believes that women are not supported to pursuehigher education. Consequently, many women do not find the need to goto colleges and universities since the society expects them to takecare of their families, instead of taking professional jobs. Whiledescribing this scenario, Alharafesheh stated, “Women are onlyallowed to work if the job she is doing does not interfere with herroles of taking care of the husband and children” (p. 44).Therefore, Palestinian women have no freedom and the motivation toadvance their education beyond the basic levels. Jayachandran alsostated, “There is particularly little freedom of choice for womenin the Middle East” (p. 4).
Therefore,Palestinians have a unique culture that favors men while oppressingwomen. The culture has set higher standards for women than theircounterpart men. In addition, the culture has created an environmentthat empowers men to make progress at the expense of women. It hasalso created a perception that women are supposed to obey theirhusbands without questioning their authority.
Thereare several aspects in the study of Palestinian culture and itseffect of men that are reflected in the book “A map of home” thatwas authored by Jarrar. The first aspect is domestic violence, wherePalestinians women continue staying with their husbands, even whenthey are abused. In chapter four of the book Jarrar stated, “Thefight was the biggest they’re ever had” (p. 64). From thisstatement, it is evident that Nidali’s parents used to fight often,but the husband decides to through his wife out of the house.Nidali’s mother had stayed with a violent husband, in spite of theregular fights. This is consistent with the research findingsindicating that over 74 % of the Palestinian women consider beatingas a justifiable form of punishment (Dvorin 1). The second aspect isgender role. In chapter one, Nidali’s father tells his wife,“You’re letting go of your responsibilities” (p. 63). The termresponsibility refers to taking care of children and husband. Thisimplies that Nidali’s father still believes that women’s mainduty is to carry out domestic roles, which is consistent with thefindings reported by Jayachandran (2). The third issue is the freedomof women to pursue higher education and enjoy life. In chapter 13,Jarrar states, “She said her mami don’t like her hanging aroundsmokers” (p. 226). The smokers in this chapter are Nidali’sAmerican friends who have the freedom to do what pleases them.Nidali, who comes from a Palestinian family have no freedom to choosea university or enjoy life like her counterparts from America. Thisis consistent with the findings showing that Palestinian women aredenied freedom that could limit their capacity to serve theirfamilies (Alharafesheh 44). Nidali and her family have moved to theU.S., but their culture has an influence in the way they live andinteract with the Americans. The Palestinian culture does not endorsecivil rights for women. Their freedom to establish relationships withtheir age mates and schoolmates are limited by the standards set bythe culture.
Alharafesheh,I. “Discrimination against Islamic women”. GlobalJournal of Arts, Humanities, and Social Science4.8 (2012): 43-47. Print.
Anders,Bruce. “Randa Jarrar`s Ninth Chapter.” YouTube,16Feb. 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=auDXzrxGGcs&feature=youtu.be.
Buyukgu,E. The women of Palestine: Caught between the occupation andpatriarchy. InformedComment.26 April. 2015. Web. 1 April 2016.
Dvorin,T. Violence against women part of Palestinian culture. ArutzSheva.6 April. Web. 1 April 2017.
Jayachandran,S. Therole of gender inequality in developing countries.Evanston, IL: Northwestern University, 2014. Print.
Jayyusi,S. Palestine,West Bank, and Gaza Strip.Advermeg, Inc. 2016. Web. 1 April 2017.
Schweitzer,Y. Femalesuicide bombers: Dying for equality?Ramat Aviv: Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, 2016. Print.
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