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Writing About the Past

             Change can occur in a society in which a culture changes throughout time, becoming more modernized, leaving behind some of its ideals, customs, and meanings. These are all different kinds of changes explored in “In Waiting for a Jew,” by Boyarin, “What Does the Dreaded Word ‘E’ Mean Anyway,” by Gould, and “Honor and Shame,” by Lila Abu-Lughod. All three authors tell a story about the past; how it has affected who they are today, how it has influenced society and even vocabulary, and what are the changes which could be beneficial or unfavorable for a society. Each author has a unique way of talking and describing the past, but all three authors use the past with a common obejective.
             Like every writer, Boyarin, Gould, and Abu-Lughod have a purpose for writing about the past. Each has a message that is only transmitted by explaining the past first. Boyarin writes about the changes that he has undergone as an individual and as a member of a marginalized society. The purpose of this writing style is to allow the reader to understand the different changes throughout time that shaped who he is and the society in which he lives. Gould, in the other hand, has a different purpose. In order for him to explain how the word evolution came to have different meanings today, he first has to explain the events that led to these changes and the only way to do that is by writing a story about the past. Finally, Abu-Lughod has to explain how the Bedouin women were in the past to prove that they are changing. The purpose of her essay is to discuss what are some of the changes that should occur in the society and also the aspects that should remain the same since they define a Bedouin woman. Again, although it may seem repetitive, the only way to achieve this goal and show the changes the Bedouin women are undergoing is to compare the Bedouin women from the past to those of the present.