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Laila Halabys Fire and Sand - Book Report/Review Example

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Laila Halabys Fire and Sand

The most major thing that will be done here is to address how this work exposes the impact of Arab culture, and as well how the culture itself has learned to adapt and be part of American society. By doing this, we will be able to gain a much more informed and knowledgeable understanding on the subject matter at hand overall. This is what will be dissertated in the following.
This book discusses Arab culture in great detail, and in particular that of the impact that Arab culture has on the process of identity formation among Arab-Americans. Gender relations is pointed out as being a very central theme here overall in regards to discovering the process of ethnic identity formation, and specifically, it is considered that "there are a set of restrictions placed upon the females by parents with regard to social outings, particularly with regards to dating, which does not apply to males. This difference marks not only the parent child relationship, but extends to the relationship between brother and sister. Brothers often assume the role of protector as they watch over their sister. The social structure of the community places the female in a position where her actions not only represent herself, but extend to her family and to community members generally; "She is the bearer and transmitter of the Arab ethnic identity in America" (117). Therefore we see how it is women, for the most part, who are depended upon in regards to identity formation for the Arab culture, which is a fact that is actually considered as being rather strange by some, considering that the men clearly have more authority and power overall in all other aspects, and yet it is the women who formulate the identity of the Arab culture all over the world.
Religion is another subject which is used as another central theme in this book, as it is considered that it "not only serves as a justification for the structure of gender relations, but also often times becomes conflated with definitions of Arab culture" (145). Halaby proves this point by showing how Arab religion and culture play a part on Arabs across the world, even those who were born and raised in America, for even those Arabs are expected to be "fully Arab and respect and live out the Arab culture" (298). In other words, if an Arab-American, even if they have lived their entire life in America, were to publicly make a wrong against their culture, it would greatly affect their entire family, regardless of whether the rest of their family lived in America as well or back East, and as well their community as a whole. This is a huge and incredibly significant deal, and this is why the issue of the impact of Arab culture and American culture on the process of identity formation - particularly among Arab-American second generation - is so significant and relevant as an issue here.
Halaby also makes strong note of the fact that most people who consider themselves as being Arabs do so on the basis of the overlap of the political and linguistic definitions, and yet at the same time, some members of groups who meet both criteria result in rejecting the identity on the basis of genealogical and ethno-national definitions. "Some Lebanese (predominantly Lebanese Maronite Christians, but also some Lebanese Muslims) may reject the Arab label in ...Show more

Summary

Laila Halaby's literary work Fire and Sand is one which is truly significant and influential, as it exposes the impact of Arab culture and as well focuses on the process of identity formation among Arab-American second generation, particularly those who were born and have grown up in America, explaining the mother-daughter relationship especially…
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