Honors American Literature
September 20, 2011
Abdulrahman Zeitoun, Not Clark Kent
Zeitoun, a fantastic novel by author Dave Eggers is a heroic tale of faith and courage set during Hurricane Katrina of August 2005, in New Orleans, Louisiana. The hardy protagonist of the chronicle is Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a Syrian man, living in Louisiana with his wife, Kathy, and his three daughters and stepson. Zeitoun, a former sailor, used to storms and seas, at the time of the hurricane owned a contracting business, building, repairing, and painting. Zeitoun's heroism and bravery have made very clear to me that being a hero is … well, really damned stupid. If not that, then at the very least, being a hero is inadvisable and unwise. Zeitoun went far out of his way to help others in a whirlwind of charity and self-assurance. In doing so, he caused great damage to himself and those closest to him. Zeitoun went above and beyond what was asked of him to assist members of his community, ignoring the one thing asked of him by his worried wife, who demanded he evacuate with her and the family. Just as he had gotten into the momentum of routinely feeding some dogs abandoned by their owners daily, Zeitoun was arrested under false charges, rendering him unable to contact Kathy. His absence left his family distressed and disoriented. Kathy panicked hour by hour, praying to hear from her husband, with no such luck until much later. While Abdulrahman was missing, his family overseas was just as worried about him. His brother would call Kathy, personally urged to bend the truth about her husband's whereabouts. While Zeitoun was imprisoned, his family scrambled to get but a word from, him, not to mention the dogs died. I would stop and think at times in the story, does Zeitoun take the time to assess whether the possible consequences are worth the good he is trying to do? His time in prison shows him reflecting on the good he'd done,...