From Spark to Spring


Laila Lalami’s novels Secret Son and Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits display many reasons for anger and protest that many people have displayed in this era of “Arab Spring”. The character Amin from the novel Secret Son shows that desperation due to one’s lack of opportunity can cause one to feel trapped. Amin fails out of the university, is unable find a job, loses contact with his friend and loses his girlfriend. Since he has nothing in his life that he can look forward to and has a very bleak future, he decides to join “The Party”, an Islamic extremist group in order to give himself hope for some sort of future. Being part of this community brings out violence and a backlash against the elite who he feels have wronged him because they have so much when he has so little. This character represents many people who are taking part in protests and revolts. Many who are involved in the Arab Spring are living in poverty and are unable to build themselves up due to restrictions that they were born into and the oppressive government that they live under. These novels show that the Arab Spring is nothing shocking because the feelings have always been there; it just needed a spark to ignite the flame.


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