Response To Dave Egger's 'Zeitoun'

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Dear Principal Belzer, My name is Caitlin Ung, I am an AP Composition and Language student at Mills High school, and am writing to bring your attention to a controversial topic that arose while reading one of our summer reading assignments. Mills’ junior AP English class is required to read Zeitoun, a nonfiction book by Dave Eggers that explores the tale of a Syrian-American facing various trials in a post- Hurricane Katrina society. As one of these students, I find that Dave Eggers’ novel, Zeitoun, is completely unsuitable for students to read, and would be deeply concerned if you did not remove it from the curriculum. Though Eggers’ allegedly true story engages the mind in a reevaluation of human nature, Eggers’ message is severely damaged…show more content…
Zeitoun, father of four and devout Muslim, runs a painting and contracting company out of his home with his wife, Kathy. During the storm, Zeitoun stays behind to check on his various properties, and becomes a hero as he helps rescue many flood victims who are trapped in their homes. But as military personnel overcome the city, Zeitoun is arrested and kept in jail for over twenty days, apparently due to the fact that he was Muslim. Zeitoun was not given a fair trial, and is neglected because of his beliefs. This distressing tale of injustice and courage allows Eggers to expose the incompetence of the government and human’s misjudgment of people who are perceived as different. However the Zeitoun of Eggers’ book appears to have taken on a new persona in…show more content…
He was accused of several accounts of domestic violence, including attacking his now ex-wife Kathy Zeitoun with a tire iron and ordering another attempt at murder from behind bars. Kathy Zeitoun states that she had been abused since the beginning of their marriage, and the abuse was only inflamed by the events following Hurricane Katrina. How can we be asked or expected to focus on the book’s purpose when the protagonist is revealed to be anything but the hero described. Imagine if a beloved staff person at Mills, a counselor of decorated certification and a track record of helping thousands of students grow in their academic, personal and family lives for years of service, was now in the spotlight for criminally abducting and abusing children throughout these same years of service. Could you overlook it? Principal Belzer, wouldn’t you be outraged? Zeitoun’s sudden change of heart inspires the same sense of disbelief followed by disgust as any reader of the book would be when they discovered what Zeitoun did. Zeitoun’s offending actions pose a mental barrier between students and Eggers’ themes, and I for one am unable to picture the main character without seeing a man who terrorized his wife and stalked his children regardless of the restraining order against him. As the oldest of five children, whose responsibility it is

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