The Outcast of Society

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"I've always been an outsider; a displaced person." Alice Hoffman. At one time or another everyone has been at the fringe of society in some way: an outcast in high school, a stranger in a foreign country, the best at something, the worst at something, the one who's different. Truly being an outsider is the one thing we all have in common and have experienced it one way or another. Through the character of Lily, a white Ethiopian woman, Camille Gibbs weaves a rich tapestry for struggles of an outsider in her book Sweetness in the belly. As an outsider Lily struggles to achieve a sense of belonging, and feels isolated from her roots. However being an outsider allows Lily to explore who she is as an individual and her faith and the practice of Islam is what binds Lily to her Ethiopian culture. As a child, Lily always felt out of place, an outsider. She was born to restless English parents who would cart her around the world, never staying anywhere long enough to put down roots. She felt as if her parents never really wanted her, she was just something that they had to bring along. In Harar the adapted country she grew in, Lily was labeled a "ferenji" (foreigner). "snotty nosed children who ran up and touched me shouting "Ferenji! Ferenji"(51). Even though Lily worked very hard to adapt to the Ethiopian culture, which she did, people never truly understood her, and always misjudged her. Despite knowing her religion Islam really well, she was never really appreciated for who she was. She was always misjudged because of her "white" color. "We do not learn our Islam from farenjis! These people are useless! Liars! Thieves!" (211). Lily wasn't appreciated much in London (from where she originally was) either. Although her white skin gave her authority in the country, society fully never accepted her, because Lily was still set to Ethiopian culture, and struggled to adapt to the English way of life. "Every time I introduced myself to a new neighbor …. I presume to...
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