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Salt Houses


From a dazzling new literary voice, a debut novel about a Palestinian family...
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Discuss Salt Houses by Hala Alyan:
Why do you think Manar felt the need to visit Palestine alone, without her family or the father of her unborn child? Do you think she found what she was looking for?

Created: 05/25/18

Replies: 13

Posted May. 25, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1584

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Why do you think Manar felt the need to visit Palestine alone, without her family or the father of her unborn child? Do you think she found what she was looking for?

Why do you think Manar felt the need to visit Palestine alone, without her family or the father of her unborn child? Do you think she found what she was looking for?


Posted Jun. 03, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
paulagb

Join Date: 08/16/17

Posts: 33

RE: Why do you think Manar felt the need to visit Palestine alone, without her family or the father of her unborn child? Do you think she found what she was looking for?

This is a very human desire. I have visited ancestor’s graves, homes, farm fields and mostly alone. I don’t think she was looking for anything in particular, only a feeling of connection to her past. Alone prevents interference from people who are not part of that history.


Posted Jun. 03, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ColoradoGirl

Join Date: 05/16/16

Posts: 34

RE: Why do you think Manar felt the need to visit Palestine alone, without her family or the father of her unborn child? Do you think she found what she was looking for?

I agree with you paulagb, Manar was looking for a connection to the past. Their family had never been back to Palestine. I think she discovered that there wasn't any magic that happened when she visited there, but it was important to see it before she brought a child into the world.


Posted Jun. 03, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Liv

Join Date: 06/03/18

Posts: 2

RE: Why do you think Manar felt the need to visit Palestine alone, without her family or the father of her unborn child? Do you think she found what she was looking for?

I feel she was searching for a connection to her past.
Trying to find answers to explain her family’s complicated history.
Trying to find closure. Personally, this is a trip best done alone.
It’s a soul- searching venture after all.


Posted Jun. 03, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia S

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 169

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RE: Why do you think Manar felt the need to visit Palestine alone, without her family or the father of her unborn child? Do you think she found what she was looking for?

No one but her would understand what she was looking for. She had to do it alone. I think she'd been given such a wonderful picture of the past, and she had to see if it was true. I think she found satisfaction is discovering her mother's old home, as shown in the photograph. I"m sure that gave her a sense of connection. However, things were not glorious as she'd been led to believe. I think she was able to lay some of the ghosts of the past aside after the trip.


Posted Jun. 06, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 229

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RE: Why do you think Manar felt the need to visit Palestine alone, without her family or the father of her unborn child? Do you think she found what she was looking for?

I agree, she was looking for a connection to her family's past, trying to Fill in some missing pieces of the "story" of her family that she'd pieced together. That is natural, but even more so in her situation, where the links have been broken.

It made sense to me that she would feel the need to do this more urgently as she was pregnant -- needing to sort out what she would "pass down" to her own child-- and also because she was, in a way, taking a departure from her upbringing into a new, Western way of life, as she faced her prospective marriage and future in America. I think she wasn't only seeking "closure," though that was part of it -- she was also seeking to affirm her Arab identity, to strengthen it, before putting herself into a life that would challenge it or resist it in many ways. (Just as she did, herself, by becoming pregnant before marriage.)


Posted Jun. 08, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
reene

Join Date: 02/18/15

Posts: 311

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RE: Why do you think Manar felt the need to visit Palestine alone, without her family or the father of her unborn child? Do you think she found what she was looking for?

Manar was seeking to answer some of the questions that she felt were left unanswered in her family. As so often happen, the young are busy leading their lives and then suddenly they have questions and find that there is no one left to answer them. As happened with Alia, so much family history was gone. This was a trip Manar needed to make by herself. Company would only cause a distraction. She seems to have many questions, not just about the family, but about herself. Hopefully she found the answers she needed.


Posted Jun. 10, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorothyh

Join Date: 01/23/15

Posts: 107

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RE: Why do you think Manar felt the need to visit Palestine alone, without her family or the father of her unborn child? Do you think she found what she was looking for?

Manar wanted to see where it all began for her family. Being by ones self there are no outside influences on the journey to find her roots.


Posted Jun. 10, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
scgirl

Join Date: 06/05/18

Posts: 40

RE: Why do you think Manar felt the need to visit Palestine alone, without her family or the father of her unborn child? Do you think she found what she was looking for?

I feel that Manar did not want her trip to be colored by her family's biases or experiences. She needed to see for herself what Palestine was like. Her grandmother (at best) did not even know it as she had been mostly raised in Amman, Jordan. Her own family never lived there. Each of her family members had their own feelings about their "homeland". Manar needed to feel, assess, and analyze it on her own.


Posted Jun. 10, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
judyw

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 44

RE: Why do you think Manar felt the need to visit Palestine alone, without her family or the father of her unborn child? Do you think she found what she was looking for?

Personally, I thought it quite strange that Manar wished to make this trip to Palestine alone. She did want to make the connection with her extended family, but when in Palestine had no one to share the excitement and contentment she may have felt. Of course, in the age of instant communication, she could "share" her thoughts via social media, but not physically be with those she loved.


Posted Jun. 13, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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taking.mytime

Join Date: 03/29/16

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RE: Why do you think Manar felt the need to visit Palestine alone, without her family or the father of her unborn child? Do you think she found what she was looking for?

This was a soul searching mission. She did not need the interference of other people. She had questions she wanted answered and connections to be sought out and so she needed to venture out singly to find them.


Posted Jun. 13, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dianaps

Join Date: 05/29/15

Posts: 256

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RE: Why do you think Manar felt the need to visit Palestine alone, without her family or the father of her unborn child? Do you think she found what she was looking for?

Manar was on a pilgrimage. She wasn't sure what she would find but she knew she had to do it. The pregnancy was a driving force for her. She needed to know who she is and what all her family went through before she brought another generation to life. Manar had to do this alone.


Posted Jun. 15, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joycew

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 90

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RE: Why do you think Manar felt the need to visit Palestine alone, without her family or the father of her unborn child? Do you think she found what she was looking for?

Manar had such strong feelings and memories for all the places she visited; there was no way to explain those feelings to the father of her unborn child. Everybody in a family remembers the same places differently and I think she wanted to get the feelings back so that she could put them to rest and begin a new life.


Posted Jun. 16, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 59

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RE: Why do you think Manar felt the need to visit Palestine alone, without her family or the father of her unborn child? Do you think she found what she was looking for?

Manar's ethnicity includes Palestinian, yet she had never been among others like here. Her mother fled to Paris, then the United States, and finally Lebanon. As she was about to have a child herself, Manar needed to understand and know more about herself, so she could make sure her own child knew this part of him/herself. Pregnant women sometimes like to nest. Maybe a part of Manar's nesting process was knowing where her family came from, what they endured, what they had been forced to leave. After reading the letters Atef wrote to Mustafa she may have had an even greater curiosity. She needed to see the place that was worth dying for and fighting over. She needed to know she truly belonged. It was personal. Manar needed to be free from the input of her significant other or family members. She needed to form her own impressions. Also, this would be her last time alone for a very long time. She needed that alone time and space.


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