The selected book for this analysis and reflection is Finding Nouf by Zoë Ferraris. The work gives a detailed description of Saudi Arabian society and how it dictates the lives and experiences of women and men. The story revolves around the life of a 16-year-old girl who gets lost and is eventually found dead in the desert. This personal opinion paper relies on the aspects the author describes in the text to give a detailed image of Saudi society.
Western Woman: Pious Muslim Man or Woman
Followers of Islam are required to be pious and avoid engaging in malpractices that are deemed secular. A woman from the western world would focus on the issues defining the lives of such believers and present various insights that are in accordance with the established culture. For instance, such a person would begin by identifying the concept of empowerment and describe how Muslims could rely on it to pursue their socio-economic goals (Ferraris 22). Such individuals would need to follow their objectives while putting their religious beliefs and thoughts first.
The westerner can also offer additional insights for examining specific traditional values and practices that have the potential to disorient their overall experiences. They can engage in various activities and initiatives that could take them closer to their goals. Such members of the Islam society can learn new insights for solving their social differences while empowering one another (Ferraris 26). While doing so, such a western woman would need to consider the established cultural ideologies and respect them accordingly.
Ferraris’ Success: Identifiable Gaps or Lack of Credibility
To present the intended message, Ferraris relies on various strategies that support the realization of the outlined aims. First, the reader is able to observe how he selects a unique setting that is in accordance with the traditions and cultural practices of Islam. This approach allows the reader to get a glimpse of a society that has remained hidden for centuries. The person will also understand how gender, social, and societal norms dictate people’s behaviors and thoughts. Second, the portrayal of Nouf as the main character is an effective approach that allows the targeted audience to learn more about the expectations of the greatest majority (Ferraris 41). Her decision to leave her family and focus on a new life results in her untimely death. This kind of depiction tries to pinpoint some of the challenges most people have to go through in Saudi society.
Third, the presentation of Nayir and Katya Hijazi tries to explain how pious members of the Islam religion could engage in actions that can support the welfare of the greatest majority. However, through such an approach, the author is able to learn more about the hidden attributes of this culture and how people should promote desirable companionships and follow their family traditions (Ferraris 49). It is through such an unlikely union that the reader learners more about the practices and limitations this religion imposes on people’s lives. The experience and outcome of Nouf’s mission make it possible for the reader to learn more about the issues most of the citizens in this country encounter.
While these examples expose Ferraris’ successes, the text identifies specific gaps that the reader should take into consideration. For instance, it is observable that the depicted companionship between Hijazi and Nayir in public is questionable and against the established religious traditions. This presentation could be studied as a portrayal that fails to describe the true nature of the Arabian culture. Another issue whereby the work could be identified to be less credible is the absence of additional details regarding Nouf’s death (Ferraris 42). Although the reader is supposed to connect the dots, the presentation is questionable and incapable of providing similar thoughts.
The insights and arguments the author presents in this book can guide westerners to learn more about normal people promoting their cultural values and those engaging in terrorism. For instance, the text reveals that pious followers of Islam will engage in specific actions and form decisions that are in accordance with the presented teachings. The example of “Joe the Plumber” means that a true member of the Saudi Arabian tradition will do what is right, engage in religious activities, and consider the acceptable approaches for earning a living (Ferraris 58). Such individuals will act in accordance with the established social norms, support each other, and focus on the best initiatives that can take them closer to their goals. The reader observes how Saudi Arabia is a country with unique norms and practices that are guided by established religious ideologies.
However, there are specific fundamentalists who focus on a radical Islamic thought that promotes Jihadist ideologies. Members of such a sect will be promoting actions and initiatives that are aimed at silencing Americans and other people from the west (Ferraris 59). They focus on ideas and practices that can settle a hypothetical status quo. They view westerners as enemies who deserve to die by all means. The reader of the selected book would find it easier to make such striking differences and be in a position to identify a true Saudi citizen pursuing his or her goals (Al-Sudairy 41). This knowledge would be appropriate and capable of guiding more people with diverse backgrounds to relate positively while promoting each other’s welfare. Similarly, such insights could guide all professionals involved in terror to differentiate between the two profiles and consider new ways to deliver desirable results.
From this analysis, it is evident that individuals who read the content of this book would learn more about the traditions of Islam and their influence on the people’s culture. Such people will also identify some of the atrocities that define the actions, behaviors, and goals of terrorists. This understanding will transform people’s relationships irrespective of their cultural backgrounds (Ferraris 28). The guidelines will also become evidence-based ideas for tackling the problem of terrorism and improving the level of global peace and order.
The American lifestyle stands out as one of the distinguishable in the world today. Most people focus on individualistic tendencies and actions that can result in the realization of personal goals. The analyzed book has presented new ideas that expose a unique aspect of such a tradition. For instance, the reader is able to identify Americans as people who strive for the best through collaboration while maintaining their personal objectives (Al-Sudairy 43). However, such individuals would be keen to apply skeptical views characterized by distrust when interacting with members of the Islam religion. They would also be afraid to interact with them due to the challenges arising from the events of 9/11.
Through this book, the author has presented additional insights for learning more about the unique relationship between American culture and that of Saudi Arabians. The emerging aspect of fear and hatred is that of Islamophobia. Most of the citizens would be unwilling to associate with members of such a religion irrespective of their personal philosophies, practices, and values (Ferraris 76). This kind of portrayal describes why the war against terror has remained a defining aspect of this country’s foreign relations policy.
Over the years, many Americans have been on the frontline to promote the concept of equality for all as a fundamental aspect of the promoted lifestyle. Unfortunately, this work has identified a unique form of hatred against people who view themselves as Muslims. This unique observation has expanded my thoughts regarding the realities defining most of the American societies (Ferraris 88). Such insights explain why I would be willing to read more books and identify additional attributes that scholars could use to redefine the traditional American culture or lifestyle.
The above discussion has identified the studied book as an inspirational and educative piece that examines Saudi society from different perspectives. The text has presented numerous ideas for guiding more pious Muslims to focus on their goals and eventually emerge successful while taking note of their traditions. The analysis has also exposed some unique attributes and traits that are different from what many people think about the lifestyle of the American people. The consideration of additional books could present new concepts and guidelines for promoting better cross-cultural relations in different societies.
Al-Sudairy, Hend T. Modern Woman in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Rights, Challenges and Achievements. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017.
Ferraris, Zoë. Finding Nouf. Mariner Books, 2009.