2 Background Information on Author of Article Firoozeh Dumas is an Iranian American writer who moved to California at age seven.She returned to Iran for several years and then came back to the United States.Most of her work had a focus on immigrants coming to the US and their experiences.In “The F word” article, explains how dealing with this situation is part of the immigrant experience.
3 Background on Vocabulary… General sounds: consonants articulated at the back of the throat and considered by speakers of English to be harsh or unpleasant sounding.Cardamom: a spice commonly used in Middle East, South Asia, and East AsiaSumac: A dark red, sour-tasting spice used in many Middle Eastern cuisines.Iranian Revolution: The series of events, beginning in 1979, that transformed Iran from a constitutional monarchy to a populist Islamic theocracy, first ruled by Ayatollah Khomeini. Americans associate the revolution with the holding of sixty-six American hostages at the US embassy in Tehran for a period of 444 days…
4 “Her” StoryAll of us immigrants knew that moving to America would be fraught with challenges, but none of us thought that our names would be such an obstacle.America is a great country, but nobody without a mask and a cape has a z in his name.Americans should do a little tongue aerobics and learn to pronounce “kh”.When she was twelve years old, she decided to simplify her life by adding an American middle name.Her name is Firoozeh which was chosen by her mother, which means “Turquoise” in Farsi.
5 Cont….In American, it means “Unpronounceable” or “I’m not going to talk to you because I cannot possibly learn your name and I just don’t want to have to ask you again and again because you’ll think I’m dumb or you might get upset or something”.Kids called her “Ferocious”The summer, her family moved to Newport Beach, where she looked forward to starting a new life.She wanted to be a kid with a name that didn’t draw so much attention, a name that didn’t come with a built-in inquisition as to when and why she moved to America and how was it that she spoke English without an accent.When she told her parents she wanted to add an American name, they reacted with their usual laughter.
6 Cont… She changed her name to Julie. After she got married, her name became Julie Dumas.She went from having an identifiably “ethnic” name to having ancestors who wore clogs.Her family and non-American friends continued calling her Firoozeh, while her work friends and American friends called her Julie.She decided to untangle the knot once and for all by going back to her real name.At that time, she was a stay-at- home mom, so she really didn’t care whether people remembered her name or gave her job interviews.
7 Cont…Every once in a while, though, somebody comes up with a new permutation and she was once again reminded that she is an immigrant with a foreign name.She found that Americans are now far more willing to learn new names, just as they’re far more willing to try new ethnic foods.Some people don’t learn to learn.One mom at her children’s school adamantly refused to learn her “impossible” name and instead settled on calling her “F word”.She recently transferred to New York where, from what she heard, she might meet an immigrant or two and, who knows, she just might have to make some room in her spice cabinet. “being rude because she didn’t pronounce her name right”
8 DISCUSSION TIME…1) How might summarize Firoozeh Dumas’s argument? What is its subject – the importance of names, the ways in which Americans have traditionally responded to unfamiliar names, the immigrant experience, or all of these?3) How would you describe Dumas’s use of humor? Find three examples that you especially like, and explain how the humor helps the author achieve her goals. In what way does Dumas’s argument represent satire, with the simultaneous goals of ridiculing and remedying a problematic situation?
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