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Essay about Guests of the Sheik by Elizabeth Warnock

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Guests of the Sheik by Elizabeth Warnock


Elizabeth Fernea entered El Nahra, Iraq as an innocent bystander. However, through her stay in the small Muslim village, she gained cultural insight to be passed on about not only El Nahra, but all foreign culture. As Fernea entered the village, she was viewed with a critical eye, ?It seemed to me that many times the women were talking about me, and not in a particularly friendly manner'; (70). The women of El Nahra could not understand why she was not with her entire family, and just her husband Bob. The women did not recognize her American lifestyle as proper. Conversely, BJ, as named by the village, and Bob did not view the El Nahra lifestyle as particularly proper either. They were viewing each other through their own cultural lenses. However, through their constant interaction, both sides began to recognize some benefits each culture possessed. It takes time, immersed in a particular community to understand the cultural ethos and eventually the community as a whole. Through Elizabeth Fernea?s ethnography on Iraq?s El Nahra village, we learn that all cultures have unique and equally important aspects.

In El Nahra, for example, the cultural ethos is family honor. All actions in the community are based on the strong family bonds that exist throughout. However, individualism drives the majority of America. Our actions seem to be a direct result of the cultural ethos. In that, lied much of the confusion between Bob, BJ and th...


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