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- Americanized by Sara Saedi holds the main idea of identity and how certain events in one’s life can cause his or her very identity to be questioned and complicated. Sara first comes to terms with her what her identity even is when she realizes she isn’t a legal American citizen. After a long, hard, tough naturalization process, Sara becomes an official American citizen and comes to terms with what her identity is and was when she was a teenager. While it may seem that Sara’s idea of herself isn’t concrete because many people see her differently, what matters is what Sara thinks of herself and what she believes she is, not what anyone else thinks. Sara’s inner debate about her identity all began when her sister breaks some shocking news to her.
- Sara’s realization that she isn’t even a legal immigrant brings her to the question of what her nationality even is. Of course, she had been living in the United States for almost her entire life, but Washington, D.C. didn’t know that she existed. After finding out she could be deported back to the Islamic Republic of Iran, she thinks about “what my life [will] look like if I [have] to say good-bye to my friends and move back to Iran. My Farsi was rusty at best. Being forced to wear a headscarf would only accentuate my bad skin. I’d already been living in the United States for a decade. How would I ever adjust?” (5). Figuring this out is an unfortunate wake-up call for Sara, and serves as the start of her journey to discovering what her nationality and identity is. However, when Sara grows older and wiser, she finds the answer to that question with the help of a couple of kitchen supplies.
- Sara, in her early twenties, comes to realize that her identity wasn’t just strictly either American or Iranian, but that she’s a mixture of both cultures. She actually refers to herself as a spork, comparing how she eats rice with a fork with her American family and with a spoon with her Iranian family. Just like a spork, Sara is “the combination of two worlds and cultures. I may not be the most traditional or obvious choice. There may not be a built-in slot for me in a standard utensil tray, but it doesn’t matter I don’t need to fit into a compartment to be proud of where I’ve come from (however illegally) and where I am now” (268). It takes Sara almost her entire life to figure this out, but when she eventually does, she understands that despite her citizenship status and wars between the United States and Iran, she was and is an American and Iranian, a mix of both cultures, nationalities, and identities. Despite what the government and most people think of her, Sara knows what her identity is, and won’t let what other’s say complicate it.
- Of course, it may seem that Sara’s identity is contradicted by what her family, friends, and society, in general, think of her and her idea of herself. An excited adult Sara begins to tell everyone that she finally was granted citizenship and that the looming threat of being booted back to the middle-east was no longer causing her dread. However, she’s forced to deal with the ignorance of her family and friends and she tries to “politely bite [her] tongue when people say, ‘Stop saying you’re Iranian. You’re an American’ ” (267). While it seems that because of what almost everyone thinks of her, she shouldn’t identity as both an American and Iranian, the simple fact is that Sara considers herself to be both; her identity is her own, and she doesn’t want anyone to take away from her finally becoming a citizen of the free world while also recognizing where her heritage lies. Throughout her journey living in the United States, Sara learns a lot about herself, her heritage, her nationality, and her identity, but after finally coming to terms with it and ignoring what others think, Sara finally understands herself.
- Sara Saedi’s Americanized holds a prevalent concept of identity and how you shouldn’t let outside circumstances determine what you want to be. Sara first comes to terms with who she actually is when her sister reveals that her entire family (excluding Kia) are illegal aliens and are committing a crime just by living in the United States. Sara, going through an immature teenager phase, decides to smoke weed, considering it to be her ‘patriotic American right,’ despite being an undocumented immigrant and weed being illegal in California. A much more learned and mature Sara recognizes her identity after gaining citizenship as a ‘spork,’ a blend of two wildly different cultures to produce one identity. Sometimes, when it feels like outside forces that you can’t control are taking hold, it’s important to remember who you are and to not let anything outside of yourself change that.
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