Funny in Farsi

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In the book Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas, there are five concepts from our textbook, Lives Across Cultures: Cross-Cultural Human Development by Harry W. Gardiner and Corrine Kosmitzki. Three of the concepts are components of Firoozeh Dumas’ developmental niche such as the psychology of her caretakers, the customs of her child care, and the social settings of her daily life growing up. The other two concepts are individualism and ethnocentrism.

Dumas’ developmental niche is apparent throughout her memoir. The psychology of her caretakers, her parents, is shown in one light when Dumas tells about her summer camp experience. Her father was cheap yet generous at the same time. He came from a hard childhood, having his parents pass away at an early age so he instilled hard work and the value of money in his children. He felt that spending $500 for two weeks at camp was expensive but it must have meant the camp was beyond exceptional. On the other hand, when he took her shopping for supplies, the clearance isle was his target for the bare necessities, nothing frivolous allowed. Throughout her life she took note and spoke on his penny-pinching schemes, but also on his charities and generosities to those less fortunate than him.

Another component of her developmental niche that was depicted in the memoir was that of culturally regulated customs of child rearing. Her mother and father’s enduring belief in education, especially in the case of formal learning, is very distinct in her stories. One example is the story of Dumas’ aunt, who had been denied education in Iran after sixth grade. Dumas’ father called his sister the smartest and most resourceful child in the family. While the men in the family were allowed to become engineers and doctors, her aunt was only allowed to marry. Her father said that it was “an injustice to deny a mind like that education.” He made sure that education was prominent in Dumas’ life, and he said she must get a degree from a...
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