Study Guide

A Border Passage What's Up With the Ending?

By Leila Ahmed

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What's Up With the Ending?

Ahmed ends her work by recalling the lives of Bilalia Fula and Al-Hajj Omar ibn Said, Muslim men brought to America as slaves in the early 19th century. Said wrote what is thought to be the first Muslim autobiography in America, and Ahmed finds personal significance in his desire to pass on his memories and experiences to future generations.

By reflecting on the experiences of these "first" men, Ahmed comments on the importance of recording cultural and personal experiences. For those who are immigrants or have suffered under an imperial hand and who have had to defend their identities from destruction, the act of remembering is crucial.

Ahmed ends her journey in the "house of memory" by looking to the future. It's as though committing her memories to the page has given her (and others like her) a giant push toward the next big milestone.

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