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My Accidental Jihad

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1. What is the relationship between the title of the essay and its content? Interpret the title and explain what it means to you. Do you consider the title captivating? The relationship between the title and the context is the author’s story of describing the struggles to be understanding towards her husband concerning his Muslim faith. Bremer’s husband tells her that according to the Prophet Mohammad the greatest Jihad, or struggle, of our lives is one that takes place in our hearts and is a struggle to become a better person. Bremer finds herself in a struggle to be less focused on her needs and more tolerant towards her husband’s religious beliefs during the month of Ramadan, hence the title My Accidental Jihad. I think the negative connotation surrounding the word Jihad, combined with accidental, makes the title extremely captivating. It makes the reader ask “How can one accidently want to blow themselves up?”

2. What is the importance of paragraph 3? Would the essay be just as clear to the average reader if the paragraph had been left out? Explain your answer. Paragraph 3 is important because it explains some history about Ramadan and also what takes place during the month. I don’t think the essay would have been as clear had the paragraph been left out. I think it gives the reader a sense of the depth of the fast. It shows it’s not just a fast from food.

3. What contrast is drawn between paragraph 7 and 8? Which writing technique contributes to the vividness of the paragraphs? How convincing are the author’s statements? Do you think her feelings are justified in both paragraphs? Explain your answer. I think the contrast between the two paragraphs is that Paragraph 7 is lively and Bremer is vivid in describing their new love and also in coming to the realization that Ismail had all the qualities of the man she wanted to marry. In paragraph 8 she changes the tone to describe how during Ramadan their relationship becomes bland and how Ismail’s God is omnipresent and stern. Bremer uses specific details and also sensory details to contribute to the vividness of the paragraphs. I think her statements are convincing in that she gets her point across in both paragraphs. I think her feelings are justified in that they are her feelings. In paragraph 8 she is having a hard time keeping sight of the qualities she found in him from paragraph 7.

4. What aspect of Ramadan does the author emphasize in paragraphs 10 and 11? How does she portray the reality that accompanies intensified fasting and praying? What is her view of these rituals? Bremer emphasizes the fasting from food and the resulting effects that has on her husband’s energy. Bremer portrays her husband as being lifeless, humorless, and unable to hold conversation and just overall drained from the effects of his fasting. She seems frustrated by the rituals, asking him sarcastically what he’s learned from his fast so far.

5. How does the author conclude her essay? Is the question the author asks her husband fair or unfair? Do you think she really uses an innocent tone when she asks her question? What is her purpose in asking the question? She ends the essay by explaining her realization that during Ramadan she was being self-absorbed and that she now has a better understanding of what love means to her. I thought her tone was sarcastically innocent at best. She was frustrated at the time she asked it, so clearly she was not attempting to get an actual answer. She wanted him to question his fast.

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