Family Theme Essay of Zeitoun

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What role do the flashbacks to Zeitoun's life in Syria play in the book? These flashbacks exist partly to render Zeitoun as a fully rounded character, as any literary writer has an imperative to do. However, they also fulfill Eggers' responsibility to represent Zeitoun's foreignness. Although he sometimes downplays the legitimate differences between Islam and American Christianity or secularism, the same cannot be said of Zeitoun's life experience, which is rendered in intimate detail. These flashbacks also recreate for the reader the same experience that Kathy has when she visits Syria. Like Kathy, many Americans have antiquated notions of what the modern Middle East is like. By describing life in Syria in detail, Eggers inspires in his audience the joy of discovery that Kathy experienced, and in doing so, shows firsthand the rewards of curiosity. The importance of home Zeitoun remains fiercely attached to his home even when it is clear that it will not survive the hurricane. When Kathy is unaware of Zeitoun's incarceration, she begins to think about alternative homes for her daughters. Notably, the only one that seems adequate is Jableh, Syria, where they would be entrenched in the Zeitoun family's history despite being there themselves. Eggers suggests, then, that home is a place to which one has a personal connection, and it need not be where a person was born. Nor can it be replaced, and this impossibility drives the characters to return to New Orleans in the second half of the book. This helps to drive the story into a larger context to, as when confronted with the very personal loss of Zeitoun's home, the reader can imagine the losses of other victims of Hurricane Katrina. This helps promote empathy with those affected by the storm. “[Zeitoun’s] frustration with some Americans was like that of a disappointed parent. He was so content in this country,
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