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Summary on “The ‘F-Word’”

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It is not uncommon to sometimes hear or see what here in America is considered to be a strange or different name and decide to make fun of it or the holder of that name. This is a major obstacle that an Iranian immigrant named Firoozeh Dumas, author of “The ‘F-Word’” had to face. She illustrates a picture using words about the hardships that her name has brought upon her during her entire life. Throughout the story, she uses humor to describe what would have been a rather negative situation, and in the end she decides to embrace the name she has and not let any remarks about it bother her.

Dumas moved to California from Iran at the age of seven, moved back to Iran, and after two short years, she moved back to the states, only to put herself in a web of mockery because of her name. Being an immigrant, she had somewhat of an idea that growing up in America would be full of challenges, but she would have never imagined that her name would be a major pothole on her road to social integration. At the age of twelve, Dumas decided to give herself the “American” middle name, Julie, but little did she know that her attempt to start the sixth grade with a more easily pronounced name would backfire because now she shared names with a neighbor.

Despite the fact that she now shares names with a neighbor of hers, she comes to find life to be much less complicated and in her own words, brought her “an entirely refreshing new sensation” (Dumas 59), because now people will not see her as a foreigner, but as a friend. Although, this wonderful feeling that she has, would soon lead her to believe that she is trying too hard to be something that she is not. Dumas gets a reality check when she says that “people would have probably never invited me into their house had they known me as Firoozeh” (Dumas 59).

As the days grew into years, Dumas made her way to college, where after carrying the pseudo-name, Julie, for such a long time, she eventually decides to go back to her real name, but soon enough her much dreaded past would come back to haunt her. “Even though I had graduated with honors from UC-Berkley, I could not get a single interview” (Dumas 59), says Dumas. Shortly after, she began to put Julie instead of Firoozeh on her résumé, and coincidentally, job interviews began to rain in. Afterword’s, she got married and led her life as Julie once more, but consequentially her life became tangled like a ball of yarn when friends who knew her by different names met each other and began to ask all sorts of questions.

After leading somewhat of a double life, Dumas decides to finally put her self-made name to rest, and live with her given name. In conclusion, despite the countless obstacles that Dumas had to overcome to finally weave herself into the complex fabric of society, she proves that there should be no shame in embracing the name you are given. By writing “The ‘F-Word’” in a humorous tone, she also proves that even though she was laughed at throughout her entire life, she learns to have a sense of humor about the very thing that has been tormenting her ever since she came to live in America.

Works Cited

Dumas, Firoozeh. “The ‘F Word’”. Read, Reason, Write: An Argument Text and reader. Ed Dorothy Seyler. 10. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012. 57-60. Print.

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