Zeitoun

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Zeitoun Part 3: Sunday September 11 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
It’s been six days since Kathy has spoken to Zeitoun, and she can’t make sense of it. She can’t imagine that he is still in the city and wouldn’t have been able to call. But if he had left the city and been brought to the shelter, he would have called too. Kathy imagines that he might be dead, murdered perhaps, but she knows her husband well, and can’t imagine any regular accident befalling him.
Kathy goes through the possibilities for Zeitoun again and again: not one of them seems plausible, and yet there has to be some kind of an explanation for why he hasn’t called. Kathy cannot fully accept that Zeitoun might have died—but even that tragedy might be better than this awful uncertainty.
Themes
Family, Community, and Home Theme Icon
Human vs. Natural Tragedy Theme Icon
Kathy has to think of life insurance, and of how to support her children. She wonders if she can run the business alone, or if she would have to sell it. She thinks about where she should move the family. She asks herself how long she should wait before assuming the worst.
Kathy’s thoughts must turn to practical matters even in such a stressful time, since she has an entire family to support. All these decisions have to remain in limbo for now, however.
Themes
Family, Community, and Home Theme Icon
Kathy sees another email from Ahmad to the TV station that had interviewed Zeitoun, asking for information. Kathy finds a website with current photos of New Orleans from the air, and zooms into the neighborhood. The water looks filthy and oily.
Ahmad continues to pursue his own theories for who might have information about Zeitoun, while Kathy turns to getting a glimpse of her former home devastated by the storm.
Themes
Family, Community, and Home Theme Icon
Human vs. Natural Tragedy Theme Icon
Ahmaad and Yuko reassure Kathy that Zeitoun is stubborn and plucky—it’s normal for him to be out of contact for awhile. Yuko keeps Kathy away from the news, but on the radio she hears President Bush’s radio address, in which he compares the storm to 9/11 and the War on Terror, vowing that Americans will “overcome this ordeal.”
It’s true that Zeitoun has failed to call in the past and has turned out fine, but to Kathy this seems different. The presidential address deals less with this kind of family tragedy than with the security challenges that Katrina prompts—another example of the government treating the people of New Orleans more like criminals, and less like victims.
Themes
Crime, Justice, and Injustice Theme Icon
Human vs. Natural Tragedy Theme Icon
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