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A Fascinating Woman

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Jiahui Zhang

Elieabeth Miossec Backer


27 OCT 2015

A Fascinating Woman

 Dave Eggers’ book Zeitoun, is a narrative book which was written based on a real disaster. What an interesting story about the behavior between this couple after the hurricane. Kathy, who is one of my favorite characters attracts me, because she makes me think deeply about our life. Many people cannot control their life at their own will. They just surrender to the reality reluctantly, and They never make any changes. Maybe, they are afraid of the unknown changes in their life and believe in what they have already known blindly. They seldom question the things which they do not feel good about. Kathy, is a very charming woman with a brave heart. She stands up to everything in her life with courage and determination, especially in the following three aspects: she does whatever she wants to do, she raises her voice against discrimination, and she converts to other religion firmly.

First, Kathy takes action to do what she really wants to do even though this decision is not approved by her husband. However, she insists on doing it and gets her husband involved sometimes. In the daily life of the couple and their kids, Dave Eggers stated that “Kathy had threatened to pack the kids and just leave for Florida some Friday after school. At first, Zeitoun hadn’t believed her” (42). Finally, Zeitoun was wrong. Kathy traveled with her kids without him. Kathy was serious. Also, she made her husband travel with them but not every times (42-44). From this little life story, we saw a motivated woman with a courageous mind. Most people in our life just give up what they want to do, but Kathy would not do that. She wanted to change this situation by her movement. Kathy never complained anything about it to her husband as she knew that complaining did not work in one’s life. Most importantly, she took an action to achieve her goal which was to take a vacation with her kids even without her husband. Kathy does what she wants to do bravely.

Secondly, when Kathy suffers discrimination, she defends herself without any hesitation. Discrimination is a very sensitive issue in the Unite States. As Dave Eggers described that after the decision of a high school history teacher who hurt a tenth grader from Iraq by pulling back the girl’s hijab and saying something really bad (45). After this terrible event, Kathy still went shopping with her friend. From this, we saw a brave woman who was not afraid of discrimination. It would not be surprised that Kathy encountered this bad thing, as most of the Muslims did not want to go outside at this moment. After the reminder of her friend, “Asma said: “Kathy, there is a girl behind you.” Kathy cocked her head. “you got a problem?” she barked” (46). What’s more, “Kathy let loose a fusillade of pungent suggestion, leaving them dumbfounded and momentarily speechless” (46). Kathy, confronted discrimination directly without any fear. She fought back by fluency English confidently. Also, Kathy believed that she was doing something meaningful. As Dave Eggers described how Kathy thought about this in the book, “those kids needed to learn something, and she had obliged” (46). She believed that she did not deserve to be humiliated because of her religion. She knew she did not have any fault, so she was not afraid of anything. She would not allow other people’s bad behavior to upset herself. Therefore, Kathy made that little girl who wanted to humiliate her hold back and run away. In case of suffering discrimination, Kathy not only defends herself but also her workers.

Discrimination is unescapable in our society in spite of the progress of civilization. As stated in the book, “Kathy received a call from one of her customers, and the customer said: “they are swarthy, I only want white people working on my house” (36). There are still some people who judge others through their skin color, religion and so on, just like Kathy’s customer. When people suffers this bad thing, most of them will choose compromise instead of resistance. However, Kathy would not do that. “Kathy did not replace the worker instead she convinced the woman that these workers are professionals” (Dave Eggers 36-37). Kathy resisted. She would not accept this unreasonable complaint from her customer. She fought against this discrimination by not replacing her workers. Kathy’s courage makes her confront the discrimination directly.



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