Dealing with Disaster in “Zeitoun” by Dave Eggers, Essay Example

The novel “Zeitoun,” is written by Dave Eggers who has previously written over five other books including What is the What. He is a renowned writer who has received several awards for his writing skills. Eggers, is the founder and editor of an independent publishing house located in San Francisco, a house that produces quarterly journals and monthly magazines. Zeitoun is a book written when the hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. During this time, Zeitoun opt to remain home in the flooded city to protect his contracting business and other properties. The days that followed saw this father of four travel through the flooded streets helping people he could. However, he disappears on September 6, 2005. Zeitoun is a riveting non-fiction book trying to explore the life of Zeitoun, an American-Syrian man who is married to Kathy, an American. Just like many of his books, Zeitoun is a book that covers a number of themes. It is a full-fleshed story that revolves a single family. By telling this story, the author has hit with more punch the historical disaster of the hurricane Katrina.

In Zeitoun, Eggers is seen having the spirit of protecting his family and rebuilding the structures that had been destroyed by the hurricane Katrina. In this book, Eggers is fierce about the disaster. He has richly enhanced this book with nuance and compassionately tells this American tragedy; hence, captures the attention of the readers. At the end of the story, we see him as a man full of hope that American families affected by this disaster will move on. In part one; he describes how the storm caught the fishermen off-guard. “In minutes, the boat was gone into the darkness. He was alone at seat for two days, with sharks below and storms above, clinging to the remnants of the barrel, when he finally washed ashore.” (Part I, p. 34). From this quote, it is clear that most people were not ready for the disaster. People were on their normal duties when the hurricane struck. It is a clear indication that disasters will knock a time when they are least expected.

Zeitoun is a powerful uplifting story showing how a man can be courage when faced with strong forces of nature and more troubling oppression from human. In this book, Eggers has used a pitch-perfected suspense blended with a horrible tone to show the effect the disaster cause. It is evident that one way a man can handle disaster is by being courageous. Despite the fact that the city has been deserted, Zeitoun remain to salvage what was left after the hurricane struck. Many people will ask how such a disaster could happen in America, a superpower. In this great narrative nonfiction, it comes out clear that natural disasters are inevitable. In part one, Zeitoun reflects back on his childhood when they could go out fishing on the moonless nights. By then, he was thirteen years old living in Syria. He shows how they were catching fish with other boys and men. He was forced to get into fishing to help his family because the father had died and the mother was fragile. This is a show of how this man is determined to help his family after the tragic death of his father. Determination is needed.

Zeitoun is an ethereal haunting story about the peril on New Orleans. In this book, Eggers has documented the feeling people undergo through in the post-Katrina disaster. In this book, we see a determined and hard working person trying to rescue his belonging. He pulled all the furniture to the first floor of the house. He later takes a canoe and paddle down the street to check on his neighbors and inspect the flooded home. This man is ready to help. People need not to run away during disasters. If they have to help, let them not be selfish. For the next few days after the disaster, he is giving people help. Together with other people, they are giving water bottle and feeding the abandoned dogs. In part 2, Kathy Zeitoun “I had no say in what Zeitoun did, He has always believed in himself and his feelings. I saw no problem in him staying behind during the hurricane. Although it was dangerous, I believed he knew what he was doing. He was merely trying to save our property, and the properties of our fellow neighbors.” From this quote, it is obvious that this man is courageous and believes in helping others. However, he gets into conflict with the soldiers, and he is arrested. The post-Katrina trials of Zeitoun have seen this character undergo hell. He is trying to deal with the aftermath of the natural disaster when the soldiers arrest him.

Zeitoun is an amazing narrative that captures a lot about the tragedy of Katrina and the post-9/11 bomb attacks for Muslims and Arabs who were living in America. In this book, he has documented how he spent his days helping people who were stuck in the flooded streets. After days of doing this, he is overwhelmed, and his days seem to have hit a despair point. In part three, he says; “Wasn’t it more absurd to fail, to turn back, than to continue?” (Pg 200). It is a clear indication that he is about to give up, but he sees the move as absurd. He comforts himself and moves on. At this point, it is clear that dealing with disaster needs a strong mind that never gives up. Even though, diseases break out and the water is contaminated with decomposing corpses and sewage, he never gives up. He struggles to paddle and rescue.

Zeitoun is an American classic novel that has been carved from moral sensibility in which the author is telling a story about the aftermath of the historic disaster of the hurricane Katrina. This book moves from a time when the boy enjoyed fishing, “In a way, this was a new world, uncharted. He could be an explorer. He could see things first” this is an illustration of how Zeitoun enjoyed exploring the sea with other anglers. It also covers the post-hurricane Katrina when his family is happy, “All morning she felt a new serenity. It was time to get serious, to stop hoping, and to starting working toward whatever came next.” (Pg 200). This is a time when his wife Kathy is safe with the children. Throughout this book, we see Zeitoun as a determined, courageous, and hard working person who is ready to sacrifice his life to help others. After the death of his father, he ventures into fishing, to put food on the table for his family. After the hurricane Katrina struck, he is struggling to ensure his family and belongings are safe. He goes a step ahead to help his neighbors and other people in the flooded streets. He is hopeful of a new look of New Orleans.

Work cited

EGAN, TIMOTHY. “Book Review – ‘Zeitoun,’ by Dave Eggers – Review – NYTimes.com.” The New York Times – Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. N.p., 13 Aug. 2009. Web. 25 Apr. 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/16/books/review/Egan-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Eggers, Dave. Zeitoun. San Francisco: McSweeney’s Books, 2009. Print.

Patterson, Victoria. ” Did Dave Eggers get “Zeitoun” wrong? – Salon.com.” Salon.com. N.p., 9 Dec. 2012. Web. 25 Apr. 2013. http://www.salon.com/2012/12/09/did_dave_eggers_get_zeitoun_wrong/

“Zeitoun Study Guide & Plot Synopsis | Dave Eggers | BookRags.com.” BookRags.com | Homework Help, Book Summaries, Study Guides, Essays, Lesson Plans, & Educational Resources. N.p., 11 Mar. 2010. Web. 25 Apr. 2013. http://www.bookrags.com/studyguide-zeitoun/