“My Son the Fanatic” is a short story written in 1997 by Hanif Kureishi about a father and a son living in London, and struggling to adapt. The father left Pakistan and loves England, he wants to become as English as possible, because “you can do almost anything here.” The son has never been outside England, but still struggles to find his place in the English society, and is looking for something else, going back to the culture and faith of his ancestors, and becoming more and more angry with the society he sees around himself – the society his father is so in love with.
“Free for All” is a short story written by Moin Ashraf in 1999. This story too depicts a father and a son, this time in the US, the father doing everything “right” to become an upright and successful man in his new country, and being frustrated at seeing his son leaving the ideals of his own country and tradition. It is a culture clash, between a son who has grown up American, and a father who still looks back to and values of his Pakistani homeland.
Write a blog post where you EITHER compare these two stories in terms of father-son relationships and the question of identity and belonging, OR discuss what these two stories say about being an immigrant, and raising a family in a different culture. What are these two stories saying about multiculturalism?
Write a blog post of your impressions so far of the main character(s) in the novel you are reading. What do you know about this person and how do you know this – through dialogue, descriptions or in other ways? What about their relationship to other characters you have been introduced to? Write 2-3 paragraphs by Monday, January 28.
As we are finishing The Kite Runner, the main character has spent many years both in his homeland and as an immigrant in the US. Through Amir we are introduced to both an Afghanistan before and under Soviet rule, and then finally, we get a glimpse of a devastated country under the Taliban.
How did the descriptions of Afghanistan agree with or differ with the ideas and impressions you already had of this country?
What cultural differences become evident in the parts set in the US?
How easy is it for Afghans to settle and find their place in the US?
Write a ONE paragraph blog post answering these questions.
Write a blog post where you answer the questions below. Use quotations from the book to underline your statements.
- What kind of resettlement process did Baba and Amir go through when coming to the US? Did any other characters have to go through similar processes?
- What did Rahim Khan mean when he told Amir “there is a way to be good again”? Is it important for Amir to “be good again?” Are we always able to reconcile with past mistakes or past human rights abuses? Does it matter if we do? Why/why not?
- Baba says to Amir: “there is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft… When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife’s right to her husband, his children’s right to their father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth… There is no act more wretched than stealing.” Do you agree with Baba? Why/why not? Can you think of other rights that can be violated by stealing?
- In the sene where Assef attacks Hassan – what rights did he steal from Hassan?
- Assed says: “Afghanistan is the land of Pashtuns. It always has been, always will be. We are the true Afghans, the pure Afghans, no this Flat-Nose here. His people pollute our homeland, our watan. They dirty our blood. … Afghanistan for Pashtuns, I say.” Do you recognize Assef’s attitude from people in the media, people from history etc? Who? Can Assef’s attitude lead to human rights issues, such as hate crime? How?
- Baba says to Amir: “I grew up with Ali. My father took him in, loved him like his own son. Forty years Ali’s been with my family.” Yet Ali is not treated like Baba’s brother, but rather his servant. Neither Ali nor Hassed can read or write, and they eat Baba and Amir’s leftovers. Why do you think that is? How can it change? What responsibiliy do we have to try and break such norms, and how can we do that?
Having read the first seven chapters of The Kite Runner (2003), you have probably started to get to know some of the important characters. Who is the protagonist? Who is the antagonist? Who is your favorite character and so forth…
A character sketch is a short description of a character based on what the book has told you so far. Remember that you get to know a character not just from descriptions the book makes of him/her, but also through actions, thoughts and conversations this character is shown to have.
Choose a character from The Kite Runner: Amir, Hassan, Baba, Ali, Rahim Khan, Assef, or someone else, and write a character sketch. Find quotations from the book to emphasize your points.
Example of the beginning of a character sketch. Amir is the narrator of the story. He lives in San Fransisco, but grew up in Kabul in the 1970s with his father, Baba, and servants Ali and Hassan. He has a complicated relationship with his father, “He’d close the door, leave me to wonder why it was always grown-ups’ time with him” (p.4). Amir seems lonely, and it seems like his father wants very little to do with him, or takes little interest in him.” … and then it continues
As agreed from your last blog posts, we will start working with the global goals of quality education and gender equality. These two goals are often intertwined, which is why I put them together.
Start with reading about the goals here and here.
Write a summary in your own words about what you learn from the two different sites. What is the actual problem? Why is Quality Education and Gender Equality so important that they take up two of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals?
And how are these two goals, 4 and 5, so intertwined? Explain and discuss.
Also include how you would like to work with these goals. Post this on your blog.
When you finish, read the short story “Chinasa” by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adicie. You will find the story on It’s Learning and get it as a handout. Note down difficult words and look them up. Comment on how, if at all, this short story relates to UN Goals 4 and 5.
Hanna & Ingunn
As mentioned last week, we are going to move on from studying abroad and volunteering to working abroad.
Today we will look at migrant workers, mostly through listening to accounts found on E2 – which is Gyldendal’s resource for international English.
You will work with some questions based on these accounts, before moving on to reading an excerpt from Zadie Smith’s short story “The Embassy of Cambodia.” You will get the excerpt as a handout, but if you are interesting in reading the entire story, you can find it here.
After having read the excerpt, I want you to write a blog post discussing Fatou’s story and comparing it to the statistical information you will also be given in class.
Publish your blog post at the end of class today.