In this weeks reading, Maalouf took us through two major changes in Hasan’s life, and exposed us to many cultural customs. While I enjoyed last weeks reading, especially the beginning, this week I found more interesting and I feel as though I learned more facts about the culture and customs. Hasan’s coming of age was not a normal and stress free one, like most people would hope for their children.
The first thing that happened was the death of his grandmother; Maalouf goes into many details about the death and what happens after. The second main thing that changes Hasan’s life is the arranged marriage of his sister. She is past the prime age to be married and instead marries someone twice her age, and someone who is not the best fit. I have not been exposed to arranged marriages and I would never want one for my children nor would I submit to one myself. But the marriage in Leo Africanus is especially appalling due to the fact that the father seemed not to care about whether or not his daughter would be happy, safe, or better off because of the marriage. In fact, he seemed to wish her away and desire her to “get off of his hands.” I was wondering if anyone knows someone who was in an arranged marriage, or if anyone would submit to an arranged marriage themselves.
One thing I found the most interesting in this weeks reading was how their culture feels about death and the way their culture morns the dead. Personally, I thought the persons comment in the audience was truly interesting and expressed my own feelings about death; that it should be celebrated and not mourned. I have picked up these feelings from my father, he wants his funeral to be a party where people talk about all the funny, interesting and crazy things he did in his life, instead of a bunch of people standing around crying. Although, I believe that everyone has his or her own way of morning, and that is in necessary to cry it out, and let oneself feel vulnerable to the death. I also thought the length of the condolence parties to be quite long and unnecessary. I found it interesting that this was the way their culture celebrated a death, I would have expected it to be a much more solemn time in the past. I do like the idea they have of meeting up later again, because it’s always good to see others who care about the one who died like you do.