The Haj Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 69 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Haj.
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The Haj Summary & Study Guide Description

The Haj Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on The Haj by Leon Uris.

The book opens with young Ibrahim at the side of his father's deathbed. The sheik pulls a jeweled dagger from underneath his pillow and hands it to his son. This act represents the passing of power. Ibrahim protests that the dagger should pass to his brother Farouk. "'Your brother is a dog with no teeth,' the father rasped. 'Already the others are conspiring to select a new muktar. The power must remain with us, the Sukoris,' he said and thrust the dagger into his son's hand. 'It is small, as weapons go,' the sheik said, 'but it is the weapon by which we rule our people. They know the meaning of the dagger and the courage of the man who can drive it in to the hilt.'" (Prelude, pg. 1).

The Haj is the story of an Arab family and their plight during the events before and after partition. It tells the story of Haj Ibrahim and his family. Ibrahim was the Muktar of Tabah, the village he ruled until he and the villagers evacuated before partition, even though Ibrahim was friends with Gideon Asch from a neighboring kibbutz. Gideon was active in intelligence and then functioned as an advisor to David Ben-Gurion. The family ends up in a camp at Aqbat Jabar, cutoff from the villagers who went to a camp in Lebanon.

The book offers a good look at the Arab culture of the time and of their traditions and customs. The story is a novel but is set in an historical background. Uris does a good job of explaining how the situation in the Middle East developed. He describes how the Arab refugees were told to leave their villages to make way for the Arab armies. The book explains how the refugees were treated as they wandered, looking for shelter. It explains life in the camps and how guerrilla organizations formed.

Many times throughout the book, Ibrahim states that their problems were caused by the Arabs and not by the Jews. The only time he doesn't hold to these views is when he briefly supports Nasser. It is the Arab governments that forced the refugees into camps and refuse to let them leave. This was the fact that Ibrahim battled with throughout the book, and had a difficult time coming to terms with. The younger generation blamed Ibrahim and his generation for the situation because they didn't stay and fight for their lands.

Uris also provides insight into how so much hatred developed, especially among the young in the camps. If they attended school, their guerrilla training began at the age of nine. The people were unwilling to improve their own conditions because that would have meant that they accepted the permanence of the camps, and they could not bring themselves to do this.

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This section contains 464 words
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