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Analysis of States by Edward Said

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Edward Said “States” refutes the view Western journalists, writers, and scholars have created in order to represent Eastern cultures as mysterious, dangerous, unchanging, and inferior. According to Said, who was born in Jerusalem at that time Palestine, the way westerners represent eastern people impacts the way they interact with the global community. All of this adds to, Palestinians having to endure unfair challenges such as eviction, misrepresentation, and marginalization that have forced them to spread allover the world. By narrating the story of his country Palestine, and his fellow countrymen from their own perspective Said is able to humanize Palestinians to the reader. “States” makes the reader feel the importance of having a homeland, and how detrimental having a place to call home is when trying to maintain one’s culture. Which highlights the major trait of the Palestinian culture: survival. Throughout “States”, Said presents the self-preservation struggles Palestinians are doomed to face due to eviction, and marginalization. “Just as we once were taken from one habitat to a new one we can be moved again” (Said 543).

Being exposed for such a long time to other cultures, Palestinians have had to deal with the effects of transculturation. Transculturation, as defined by ethnographers, is “to describe processes whereby members of a subordinate or marginal groups select and invent from materials transmitted by a dominant or metropolitan culture” (Pratt 491). In other words Palestinians have absorbed parts of the different cultures they are now part of due to the nakba, or catastrophe, which marks the exile of more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs from what is known today as Israel. On November 30, 1947 the United Nations v...

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... showing people that the Palestinians are indeed human.

Acknowledgements

The essay “States” is a great piece of literature that tries to convey a message important to society. Although, at first, it seemed as if analyzing this piece would be an easy job it was not easy at all. One has to read within and against the grain to understand Said. That is why I would like to thank Prof. Griffin, and my classmates Mariia and Fan for giving me their different insights on Said.

Works Cited

Said, Edward Wadie. “States.” Ways of Reading: An Anthology for Writers. 9th ed. David Bartholomae and Anthony Petrosky, Ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008. 537-575. Print.

Pratt, Mary Louise. “Arts of the Contact Zone.” Ways of Reading: An Anthology for Writers. 9th ed. David Bartholomae and Anthony Petrosky, Ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008. 485-497. Print.
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