Richard Compean, Ph.D.
The essay The F Word, written by Firoozeh Dumas, tells her interesting history of experiences related to her unpronounceable name and the way most Americans respond to unfamiliar, foreign names. Dumas presents this attractive essay that holds the reader’s attention by making it a very fun piece to read. Using humor as a big part of the writing, she also uses an informal, entertaining tone to capture the audience’s attention and keep them engaged.
Dumas starts The F word by showing how most of the people in her family have names with multiple syllables and letters that are not prevalent in common American names. Many of them have meanings as well. She writes in a very conversational tone, as if telling a friend the story of her life. Unlike many essays, this one seems to be very creative in its use of informality. Especially in this case, this style is a smart idea. The use of simple words let the reader know that the author is a person just like one of us. It allows us to be able to connect to her reasoning and situations a lot easier. For instance, when she says, “It was like having those X-ray glasses that let you see people undressed, except that what I was seeing was far uglier than people’s underwear.” When using the word “you”, the author is keeping the audience in mind and we are reminded that we are on her side. There do not seem to be many technical words, which helps the reader.
Due to the difficulties Firoozeh faced with people attempting to pronounce her name, she decided to adopt an American middle name and go by that. She brainstormed names that begin with an F. Her father suggested “Fifi” and her mother suggested “Farah.” She makes fun of these two names. She comments about the first one: “Had I had a special affinity for French poodles or been considering a career in prostitution, I would’ve gone with that” and about the second name she thinks “Farrah Fawcett was at the height of her...
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