Peer Response: culture and 9/11

I don’t really feel like I’m looking into another person’s life when I read this book, because most of the stuff Nazneen goes through I can totally relate in every way. I think this is something every immigrant at a point have to go through. When I read the part about the skating, I thought to myself “yeah exactly how I felt the entire winter”. A lot of experience that people view as a regular day to day activity tend to be a very big deal for most immigrant. The first time I was downtown I was literally blown away by the graffiti’s, the building, the people and the food, it all felt like a whole new world. Then you see the homeless people and you become astonished like wow America also have homeless people who knew. The cultural aspect plays a big role in this book because it’s all Nazneen truly have left after been plunged into this society.
The 9/11 attack really did shake the entire world to its core because it was so unbelievable almost like a dream. I can remember every TV station in Nigeria reporting about the attack the entire week. To answer kalynhardman question, the attack would definitely not have been a big deal if it had happen in Pakistan or any third world country for that matter. That’s a true statement because it actually did happen during the je suis Charlie period. Everyone seem to be into it, and that’s not bad but no one really seemed to care that at the same point in time over a thousand people were being blown and killed in Africa.

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Brick Lane

When I read about September 11, 2001 in Brick Lane, I immediately thought about how that day affected the United States. The terrorist attack impacted the world. I think that it was creative that Monica Ali included the September 11th. It also brought upon a sense of awareness. Karin mentioned that the Muslims were being stereotyped. It is important to know that all Muslims aren’t terrorist. The author did a great job with displaying their point of view. In addition, I’m glad that I’m able to connect and relate to the novel.

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Peer Response

I also agree with what my classmates are saying about how it was interesting that Ali included 9/11 in the story. It is easy for us to forget that the US is important, and when tragedy struck, it effected a lot of the world. It just seems crazy to me because it’s not like Nazneen or Chanu had any ties to America at all, and they were even having a hard time adjusting to western culture. It just goes to show that Ali wrote this novel with huge cultural implications behind it.  Overall, I think Ali was able to write a novel that deeply explored differentiating cultures.

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Response to William

I love the theme of ice skating and I love how Nazneen actually got to ice skate towards the end. I have written blog post before about this this theme, but I said that ice skating is a form of liberation, however, it is also and form of extreme balance. Nazneen is literally on thin ice as she is trying to find a balance between herself and her new Western world. However, the theme could also represent a desire for learning and education. And…as most third wave feminist know education=freedom. I would like to talk about this in class today if possible to see what the rest of the class has to say, because I don’t think that we addressed this issue yet.

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Response to Brick Lane

As I read Brick Lane and saw Nazneen try to find herself within a new culture, I thought about the fact that she might have felt a little invisible. It’s interesting how one can be made to feel inferior when you are around people that are different from you. Also, as I reminisced on the scene when Nazneen first saw ice skating on the TV, the way she views it is so innocent and one can infer that she felt left out of a world that appeared fun. The way she saw the man and the woman working together, it was almost as if she wished that she and Chanu were in sync in the same way. 

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Cultural/Political Response: Brick Lane

Cultural/Political Response

            Brick Lane addresses the political conditions it is set in by weaving the cultural and political effects of 9/11 into Ali’s characters’ actions. Chanu, the avid reader, is fascinated by the newspaper report and points out a theory that immigration is used as a political tactic. This issue reflects current political situations, such as theorists who speculate similar theories regarding President Obama’s actions in response to immigration issues. Chanu points out this theory neglects the issue of unifying minorities, which would still be an issue today. The character of Karim represents the voice of peaceful, intelligent Bengali Muslims. Karim represents the immediate voice of criticism, a defendant who questions and analyzes the 9/11 attack and works to correct the spreading misconceptions and prejudices. These prejudices had a profound effect on American culture, such as the current airport security screenings. Ali’s description of racism from 9/11, “pinch of New York dust” blown “across the ocean”, is an excellent description of 9/11’s extending political and cultural effects.

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Ice Skating in “Brick Lane”

The last few pages of the novel are a description of Nazneen’s first time ice-skating, so I think the activity has important symbolic value in the novel. We first hear about it from Nazneen fairly early in the book, when she watches  the activity on the television and asks her husband about it. throughout the Novel, we occasionally see her dreaming about or considering the prospect of ice skating. This begs the question of why its so important. I think it has many values, first of all ice skating isn’t something you can do very much in Bangladesh, as lakes don’t freeze very much that far South, and the culture has not made the activity significant enough for frozen rinks to be a common thing. Beyond that, Ice Skating can be seen as an expression of freedom. Where Nazneen is constantly kept down by her life and her fate, Ice skating allows one to glide to and fro as one pleases.

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