Dave Eggers

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Zeitoun: Part 2: Monday September 5 Summary & Analysis

Zeitoun rises early to feed the dogs—Todd has given him a bag of dog food. At Claiborne, he finds Todd and Nasser eating breakfast on their porch. When Zeitoun calls Kathy, she tells him about two policemen who have recently killed themselves. Zeitoun has always gotten along well with the police in New Orleans, so this stuns him. Kathy tries to convince Zeitoun to leave, but he tells her he’ll call her later.
At first, the day begins normally: Zeitoun has settled into a kind of routine, and even has forged a new kind of community with Todd and Nasser. This sense of normalcy is interrupted, however, by Kathy’s news, which once again seems ominous in contrast to Zeitoun’s calm surroundings.
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Walt’s husband Rob calls Kathy to check on the family, and is shocked to hear that Zeitoun has stayed behind in the city. Then he mentions that he had left their cat in the city, and wonders if Zeitoun could look for her. Kathy calls Zeitoun, who is happy to do it.
Although others are surprised at Zeitoun’s stubbornness in staying behind, they seem to recognize his responsibility, commitment, and character, and so feel safe asking favors of him.
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Zeitoun, Nasser, and Todd stop by Nasser’s house on the way to Rob and Walt’s, but the water has reached the roof. Nasser is grim but unsurprised. At Walt and Rob’s, the water is less than two feet high, but Zeitoun sees no sign of the cat. He knows the police would be suspicious if he tried to jump the fence.
Again, different parts of the city have suffered from the storm to differing extents: natural disasters may not “target” specific areas, but in practice existing inequalities can contribute to different outcomes.
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That night Zeitoun and Nasser pray together on the roof of Zeitoun’s house and barbecue. It’s quiet, apart from the occasional sound of a helicopter. Zeitoun wonders if it’s time to leave.
Zeitoun and Nasser have developed a camaraderie that has to do with their identities as immigrants, as Muslims, and as New Orleans residents.
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Islam and Islamophobia Theme Icon
Get the entire Zeitoun LitChart as a printable PDF.
Zeitoun PDF