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skumar's picture

Safety at Home

I would like to delve into the notion that the home is safety. If, as many people have been saying, safety/comfort/inclusiveness is a characteristic of "home," then it must be that "home" is wherever or with whomever one is safe/comfortable/happiest/most included. If this is true then one person may have multiple "homes" whereas another person may have no "homes." To answer a previous question, the answer would be no...it is not possible that everyone has a home, especially if a sense of belonging is dependent on a sense of security.

I, however, do not agree with the notion that "home" is safe. In other words, just because you are safe somewhere or feel included in a family, or community, of people does not mean you are at home. For example, I feel safe at Bryn Mawr, yet I do not consider Bryn Mawr a home. On the other hand, I think it is possible to be home and not be safe.

From this, I concldue that home is an origin, or as Emily says "where you come from." It does not necessarily need to be a place where you feel included or sheltered. In fact, it can be a place where you are marginalized or discriminated against. Regardless, Home for me is an origin, a kind of starting point. I think it is possible to make a new home or make several new homes, but I believe that an individual's origin is an unforgettable experience (whether good or bad). Whatever lessons you learn at your first "home," whether positive or negative, carry with you forever--to your new home(s).

We see this notion bear out in Marji's experience in Book Two. When Marji goes to a boarding school, a new experience. Even though she is "safe" (free from wearing her hijab, away from wars in and threats to her country) she is not at home. It is true she liberates herself from her hijab, but her Iranian heritage follows her (we see this when she is guilty talking to her parents on the phone and again when she remembers her mom, dad, and grandmother after her first boyfriend cheats on her). No matter how safe her experience away from "home" in Iran, I do not think Marji would translate this safety to mean she found a new home.

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