Theme questions:

What is the root of the separation between Arabs and Jews? Are divisions based on religion, on property, or something else altogether?

There is a common theme, for both Jews and Palestinians, of people being ejected from their homelands. How is that theme developed in this story?

What does this story reveal about nature vs. nurture, especially in relation to religion or identity?

Dov calls Said and Saffiya cowards. Does that cowardice, if justified, call for hate? Why doesn't Dov understand the impossibility of Said and Saffiya returning for him?


Quotation significance:

Dov/Khaldun asserts, "After all, in the final analysis, man is a cause." Said repeats the phrase and explores its significance in their various lives. What does it mean?

"The greatest crime any man can commit...is to believe even for one moment that the weakness and mistakes of others give him the right to exist at their expense and justify his own mistakes and crimes." How does this apply to events we've studied, especially regarding the Middle East and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

"I felt as though I knew Haifa, yet the city refused to acknowledge me." What's the significance of the quotation?

"The picture doesn't solve your problem, but with respect to us, it's our bring to you." What is the significance of this quotation and the overall story of Faris al-Lubda?

"We thought the homeland was only the past.... The homeland is the future." What does the homeland mean in both contexts, as the past and as the future?

"But that would take a war." What's "that," in the context of the quotation and in a larger sense?

"We have come here and stolen their country." Where does this come in the story? Does this ring true? Does it matter?

"First you say that our mistakes justify your mistakes...." What mistakes were made? Do those mistakes justify anything?

"Tears won't bring back the missing or the lost."



Broader questions:

Why does Dov feel no remorse for the situation? Why are Said and Saffiya so disturbed and hateful about the siutation that develops?

At the end, does Said really want Khalid to fight? Why, or why not?

Why do the parents seem to think their feelings are more important than Dov's?

What are the parallels and the differences between the experiences of the Jews and the Palestinians? To what extent do the main characters in this story recognize those similarities and differences?