Said Handout

CRTW 201

Dr. Fike


Directions: In your usual quadrants, prepare to report to the class on one of the following questions (e.g., quadrant 1, question 1). You will need to think about your question as you read the text and to come prepared to work with your group members (read “hit the ground running”). Mark your books, bring notes, etc. I will give you a substantial amount of time to work on your question in class. Question 5 is for whole-class discussion at the end of your group reports, and you need not prepare it ahead of time.


1.       Outline the text, giving one or two sentences for each section. Extra space divides the sections in the text, and I suggest that you also assume that a new section begins on page 563. What principles of organization emerge from your outline, and do they point toward specific elements of critical thinking? Does your outline suggest, for example, Q @ I, purpose, conclusions, information, and assumptions? You may find inspiration in discussion question 2 on pages 575-76. Be aware as well that the second question on this handout concerns concepts.


2.      In the chart below, I have identified the text’s main concepts. Consider them in isolation from the images. How would you craft Said’s concepts into an argument? In other words, toward what point about Palestinians do the concepts point? Try to weave as many of the concepts as possible into your answer. Are some of them more fundamental to Said’s project than others? Is there a hierarchy of concepts at work here? Can you use them to analyze the text according to other elements of critical thinking? Once you have discussed how concepts contribute to the argument, ask yourselves what concepts—either in or outside the text—suggest a solution that Palestinians (and their mouthpiece, Said) would find acceptable.


543 – refugees, resettlement, exile

545 – fragmentation (cf. 561)

546 – identity, the other

548 – colonialism, nationalism, instability

549  - Zionism, (dis)continuity

551 – instability, normal people

552 – popular culture

553 – mutability

554 – pessoptimism

557 – dispossession, randomness, (hybridity)

560 – commodity, (repatriation)

563 – literary form

565 – dialectic of self and other


3.      Said’s chapter includes 18 images of children but only 4 images of old people, so it is safe to say that a pattern exists. What is the significance of that pattern? What do the photographs—what does the text—say about children? What point does the text enact? In other words, what interpretations and implications does Said’s treatment of children suggest?


4.      Have a look at discussion question 4 on pages 576-77. The quotation there is especially important. Here is another statement from Said’s book: “At this point, no one writing about Palestine—and indeed, no one going to Palestine—starts from scratch: We have all been there before, whether by reading about it, experiencing its millennial presence and power, or actually living there for periods of time.” With these two passages in mind, consider places (e.g., 551, 553, 567, and 575; but there  are surely others) where our position as readers seems especially relevant. What kind of reader does Said assume? What kind of reader does his text create? Then consider what Said-as-author shares about his own background (especially 544, 547, 566, 567, and 571-75). What is the relationship between the reader and the narrator? In other words, your task is to explore the realm of implications.


5.      What conclusions does Said’s text suggest or imply? What action should Middle Eastern peoples take? What should WE do? What, in your own words, is “the moral of the story”?