-- Yannick Noah
The writings of various ethnographers and anthropologists are intended to inform and educate the reader by imparting awareness and understanding of unexplored cultures. The value of such a work is directly related to the author’s familiarity with the culture. For instance, an individual intimately acquainted with a situation have different insights, but also different biases than an outsider. Elizabeth Fernea’s work "Guests of the Sheik" is a combination of the two perspectives. It documents her immersion into the society and culture of El Nahra, a village in Iraq, during the first two years of her marriage to Bob, an anthropologist. Her honest and frank narrative provides a fascinating glimpse at the lives of the men and women living in the village and the relationship Elizabeth, affectionately referred to by the people of the village as Beeja, has with them.
Elizabeth begins her journey apprehensively, but not without excitement. She takes many of her western ideas with her to El Nahra, but quickly discovers that in order to be accepted she must embrace the local customs. The practice of purdah, or the seclusion of women, is one with which she struggles immediately and often. Her preconceived notions regarding the veiling and seclusion of women seem to show that she regarded the practice as removing women from society. Upon her arrival, she realizes that, as the only woman without an abayah, she is a curiosity, and reluctantly changes her position on the garment, thinking “Well, it seemed I’d capitulated; I was going to wear that servile garment after all. I discovered that my principles were not as str...
... middle of paper ...
...e women form a crucial part of this society, and are integral to its maintenance. In spite of her early hesitance and her preconceived notions of the status of women within this society, Elizabeth learns that every member has a place within the social hierarchy. While Elizabeth, or Beeja did not manage to change the society of El Nahra as she thought she might, she was given a place within it and granted respect from both the women and men of the society.
Fernea, Elizabeth. Guests of the Sheik: An Ethnography of an Iraqi Village. New York: Anchor Books, 1969.
Joseph, Suad, “Gender and Relationality among Arab Families in Lebanon,” Feminist Studies 19:3 (1993): 465-486.
Pierce, Leslie. The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire. London: Oxford University Press, 1993.
The Holy Qur’an, Al-Ahzab 33:53.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- "You arrive at a village, and in this calm environment, one starts to hear echo." -- Yannick Noah The writings of various ethnographers and anthropologists are intended to inform and educate the reader by imparting awareness and understanding of unexplored cultures. The value of such a work is directly related to the author’s familiarity with the culture. For instance, an individual intimately acquainted with a situation have different insights, but also different biases than an outsider.... [tags: Literature Review]
2529 words (7.2 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Guests Sheik Elizabeth Warnock Essays]
1014 words (2.9 pages)
- Harems were prevalent in Islamic tradition since the beginnings of Islam and the different dynasties that were being creating. The most famous harem of all was the Harem of the Ottoman Sultan which led to harems branching out to various other localities and dynasties. Western thought has mistaken harems for typically only having importance for sexual relations and have mistaken them for being brothels. Scholars of the western world saw the Ottoman Empire as something that was in decay during the 16th and 17th centuries, which is why they formulated the idea of harems only being about sexuality.... [tags: sex, tradition, dynasty]
1409 words (4 pages)
- ... Obviously this is a difficult thing to do and many examples of language being a barrier lie in her text. Abdullah on the other hand did not have to directly deal with the barrier so much because he was doing his research in Harlem (located in the U.S.) for most of his stories. Also it seems he is capable in a decent amount of languages and could get a translator if he truly required it. The theme of language in these two novels can be seen through the ethnographers (in)ability to get an emic view from the locals, how it affected the people’s behaviour, and perhaps most importantly, how it affected the ethnographer’s and people’s emotions through the various situations that occurred.... [tags: diverse, home, people, communication]
1249 words (3.6 pages)
- Irony in Guests of the Nation In the short story, "Guests of the Nation," Frank O'Connor uses irony to illustrate the conflict which men face when their roles as combatants force them to disregard the humanity of their enemies. In both life and literature, irony exists when there is a contrast between expectation and reality. Verbal irony is defined as "a figure of speech in which the actual intent is expressed in words which carry the opposite meaning" (Thrall 248). In dramatic irony there is a contrast between a character's perception of a situation and the actual facts.... [tags: Guests of the Nation Essays]
799 words (2.3 pages)
- Cultural Diversity and the Impossibility of a True Melting Pot The core standards of America are founded, in principle, on the basis of its diversity and equality among citizens. Begin- ning with its Declaration of Independence, the United States distinguished itself from other modern nation-states by establishing a country of men who were different but equal. Yet, despite the unifying images America projects within and beyond its borders, the idea behind E Pluribus Unum does not resound as one might assume it would.... [tags: Exploratory Essays Research Papers]
2536 words (7.2 pages)
- The presence of the popular 1920’s song “The Sheik of Araby” in The Great Gatsby is a sign that represents a wide range of cultural instances and relational symbols throughout the novel. The sign in the novel, a portion of the song called “The Sheik of Araby”, is sung by a group of little girls in Central Park, a song about a rich man who covets beautiful women and attracts them from all races, and who claims that he is basically the embodiment of love and knows what love is all about. Nick and Jordan pass the children after their date at the Plaza Hotel.... [tags: Literary Analysis]
2046 words (5.8 pages)
- ... Darcy as the pretentious and discourteous man they have ever known. Since, unlike Mr. Bingley, Darcy had shown no interest or attraction in any of the ladies at the ball, as he alienated himself from everyone except for the Bingley’s and Mr. and Mrs. Hurst. Bear in mind that it was customarily expected of Mr. Darcy to be well-mannered enough to converse or dance with others to be considered a proper gentleman of society. Moreover, he loses Elizabeth’s good opinion after he snubs her at the dance.... [tags: Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet]
776 words (2.2 pages)
- Queen Elizabeth was born on September 7, in 1533 to a royal couple by the name of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. She pertained a strong personality and strong political skills in overlooking marriage proposals and intensely flirting with many available suitors. She reigned over England without a king or children (Britannia: Elizabeth 1). Her father was known for the execution of his wives. The king had announced that any daughter would be "illegitimate" to the line of succession because his upcoming sons would be highly favorable to the throne (Thomas, Heather).... [tags: Queen Elizabeth]
961 words (2.7 pages)
- Her father and mother where King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn and had one brother and sister, Edward and Mary. But Queen Elizabeth had troubles of her own. She was abandoned by her own father, locked away by her own sister, but that didn’t stop her to become the greatest queen we know. Elizabeth father had some crimes on his own. When Elizabeth was only three he beheaded her mother, Anne Boleyn because she did not give him a baby boy; she gave birth to a girl. Soon after Elizabeth wasn’t raised in a palace with her father she was sent away.... [tags: Queen Elizabeth Essays]
924 words (2.6 pages)