Study Guide

Three Cups of Tea Contrasting Regions: The U.S. and the Middle East

By Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Contrasting Regions: The U.S. and the Middle East

Pakistan is a little larger than Texas in area but has about nine times as many people. Pakistan is densely populated, and maybe because it's squeezed so tight, the ground itself has bunched up into some of the highest mountains on the planet. It's amazing how so many people live in a landscape that many people in the U.S. would find inhabitable.

Three Cups of Tea isn't just Mortenson's tale about his mission to educate the children of Pakistan. It serves another purpose, too: to educate American readers on what Pakistan is really like. This accomplishes two things. It ties into Mortenson's purported investment in peace, but making this country and these people relatable is also key to his ability to earn support for his missions. A double whammy, if you will.

Questions About Contrasting Regions: The U.S. and the Middle East

  1. What are some of the major cultural differences between Pakistan and the United States? Are there any similarities?
  2. Does Mortenson have to adapt to the culture of Pakistan, or does he make them adapt to him?
  3. How does Mortenson manage to bridge the gap between cultures?
  4. How does fundamental Islamic education in Pakistan compare to fundamental Christian education in the U.S.? Is this ever addressed? How does this impact your understanding of Mortenson and his work?

Chew on This

The U.S. and the Middle East aren't just different in their geography, they're very different in the structure of their government, their culture, and their gender roles.

By looking at two regions' differences, we can also see their similarities, such as the desire for peace and safety and education for children.