RCL #3: Feeling “Unwelcome”
The name of the fourth chapter of It’s What I Do, “You, American, Are Not Welcome Here Anymore”, simultaneously sets the tone of the story Addario intends to tell as well as the underlying message she may also wish to convey. She does the latter by immersing her readers in a particular situation in which she felt especially uncomfortable at her assignment, hoping to put her audience in her shoes and instill as sense of empathy in them.
Almost immediately following the attacks of 9/11, Addario flies off to Peshawar, Pakistan, hoping to cover the imminent American invasion of the nearby Afghanistan. There, she interacts with many civilians sympathetic towards the terrorists behind the recent tragedy. While doing a photo-shoot at an anti-American rally, the clearly Western Addario is aggressively groped by several agitated men. The author proceeds to go into vivid detail about her unpleasant experience, specifying where she was grabbed, how many men touched her at once, and so forth.
Addario’s approach to revisiting this incident is likely done to have the reader truly understand the feeling of being “unwelcome” in a foreign, hostile environment. After later attempting to enter a mosque once the American bombing had begun, she is told by a woman the exact phrase that the chapter is named after, thus bringing it all full-circle. In a way, Chapter 4 can also be seen as Addario specifically putting American readers into Muslims’ shoes, allowing them to empathize with victims of Islamophobia; just as an Islamic terror attack caused many Muslims to feel unwelcome in the United States, the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan invasion causes Americans to feel unwelcome in the Muslim world.
As a writer, I am greatly inspired by Addario’s use of immersion; it is a powerful tool in helping a writer resonate with his or her audience, and I commend her for effectively using this tactic to deliver a both a strong message and compelling reading experience. Coincidentally, I utilized similar strategies in writing my passion blogpost on Sonic Mania just last week, going into detail on my positive personal experiences with it as a means to recommend it to others, and I plan to continue and refine this persuasive technique in future writing endeavors.
P.S. Check out my first passion blog post here! : https://sites.psu.edu/seiffpassion/2017/09/06/sonic-maniac/