Dave Eggers

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Zeitoun: Part 4: Sunday September 18 Summary & Analysis

Part of Zeitoun has given up, and he feels disappointed in himself. He thinks he hears the nurse’s cart being wheeled down the hallway, but when he peers down, there’s a man he’s never seen before pushing a cart of black books. It’s a missionary, carrying Bibles. Zeitoun waves him down. Though the missionary asks if Zeitoun would like to hear about Jesus Christ, Zeitoun simply begs him to call his wife, telling him that he committed no crime. The missionary acts like he often hears such stories. Zeitoun says he knows he must be difficult to believe, but he asks if he can just write down Kathy’s cell phone number. The missionary says this is against the rules, but he tears out a page from the Bible to write down the number.
Just when Zeitoun is struggling with himself over whether to give up hope or continue to be optimistic, a missionary—“mission” comes from the Latin for “send”—seems actually sent from God, not to convert Zeitoun but to aid him in the quest that has begun to seem so hopeless. Of course, there’s no way for Zeitoun to convince his missionary that he, unlike others who probably say the same thing, is innocent. He can only trust and have faith that the missionary will follow through on his agreement to call Kathy.
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For the first time in days, Zeitoun feels hopeful, imagining Kathy’s reaction when she finds out that he’s alive. Zeitoun struggles to sleep that night, grateful that he’s found his messenger.
This time, Zeitoun’s struggle to sleep is not out of desperation but out of anticipation that something might change.
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