Elmaz Abinader

The following sample essay on Breaking Barriers: Acceptance of Exoticization In her essay “Just off Main Street,” published by the United States Department of State, Elmaz Abinader stresses the importance of embracing cultural differences. Abinader precisely describes her struggles as an Arab-American attempting to stay true to her two worlds: the American society and her Lebanese culture. As an Armenian I can directly relate to almost every instance Abinader depicts throughout her essay. Abinader’s words and descriptions clearly outline the context of her two worlds.

For example, a key symbol Abinader consistently mentions is the “magic door” “portal” that separates the outside and inside world. Through her descriptions, comparisons, and cultural concepts, Adinader creates worlds of meaning between her former “portal” and the “outside world” by eliminating the ignorance and sparking a domino effect of acceptance to all Middle Eastern cultures. In her first paragraph, Abinader sets up the norms in todays society. She uses the word “standard” which immediately causes the reader to picture the typical American community.

The first paragraph signaled for a comparison between Abinader’s community and her home life. When she states, “From the face of it, our businesses looked like any others,” I understand that her family is attempting to put up a front in order to blend in. When Abinader states, “my father and my uncle stood in the doorways of their establishments,” her use of the word “establishments” has meaning to me. Most individuals of Middle Eastern, European decent are very hardworking and take their possessions and accomplishments seriously.

Get quality help now

Proficient in: Culture

5 (339)

“ KarrieWrites did such a phenomenal job on this assignment! He completed it prior to its deadline and was thorough and informative. ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

Just Off Main Street

These cultures have an ideology encompassing strong pride, because in historical situations they have been criticized and undermined. On April 24, 191 5 the Ottoman Turks killed over 1. 5 million Armenians. This tragedy is referred to as the Armenian genocide. However, till this day the Turks and several uninformed individuals deny that it occurred. This denial serves as a perfect example as to why Middle Eastern, Europeans stay close to their culture and have pride. They yearn for a sense of belonging. Abinader speaks of the belonging and Joy her family scenes brought her, yet she could not share this Joy with those on the other side of the door because of their lack of acceptance. The description of Abinader’s peers, Jeannie and Renee, precisely contrast the two lives on either side of the “magic door”. Abinader describes her fascination of “the shiny bikes with streamers” and “the collection of Barbie doll paraphernalia. ” Her fascination and her description of the “after-school duties” she would partake in created a stark contrast between her and her classmates. Why is “different” looked upon negatively? The reason Abinader was ridiculed on the playground was not specifically because of her dark hair or her “ape” like arms. The ridicule occurred due to her differences; she was exotic. “Just off Main Street,” incorporated an abundance of cultural elements. Abinader’s parents may seem strict to the average American due to their “after-school duties” or “round puffy disks” she had Just baked. However, if one understands the Middle Eastern, European culture, they would know that Abinader’s parents are structured and focused people.

They don’t give their children responsibilities at an early age to punish them; instead, they do this to introduce the culture’s morals and alues. Other cultural aspects included in Abinader’s essay were her descriptions of the Arabic dishes, the music and dancing in circles, and the stories told from the old days. All of these elements play a part in creating that “home” or feeling of “belonging” which I sense during my own family gatherings. Yet, Abinader could not mesh her two worlds due to the ridicule she already went through before cracking open her magical door. Similar to Abinader, I found it extremely difficult going through elementary and iddle school known as that “foreign” girl with a big nose and parents with strong accents. My “magic door” was always shut until the last couple years of high school. In high school and college, we try to find ourselves, or something that we can distinguish ourselves with. During these years, both, Abinader and I realized that being Middle Eastern is something to embrace and to share with others. It was not until Abinader studied at the University of Pittsburgh that she could finally open the threshold between her two worlds.

The Syria-Lebanese room housed in the English Department revealed all of the beautiful things about Abinader’s culture such as the “Persian rug designs” and the “glass multi-colored lights”. As soon as she recognized the appreciation and fascination her peers had of this room that she was associated with, Abinader felt a sense of pride, which inspired her to embrace her culture through literature. Adinader not only inspires young Arabic writers, but she also inspires young writers of any Middle Eastern, European decent to continue spreading the knowledge to those who are unfamiliar with the Middle Eastern culture. It is through the acceptance from others that we will truly be able to express ourselves and let down our guards. It’s difficult to imagine any Middle Eastern individual to not want to inform the public of their culture’s rich history. It saddens me that at times these individuals are forced to put up that “magic door” due to negative thoughts of these cultures or political controversies. However, through more education, we will finally be able to understand and accept one another opening all barriers that prevent worlds of meaning.

Cite this page

Elmaz Abinader. (2019, Dec 05). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/paper-on-narrative-paper-on-just-off-main-street-by-elmaz-abinader-968/

Elmaz Abinader
Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7