House of Pass and Fog

This movie attempts to demonstrate the harsh realities of establishing success in America. Although Amir Behrani’s intentions are skewered, his motives are a prime example of striving for a better life in America. From a personal stand point, I am also an Arabic American whom migrated at a very young age. When we first arrived to America, we were poverty stricken to a great extent. We were forced to flee Iraq during the Gulf war and left behind our entire lives. My father owned several businesses and my mother was a prestigious accountant. Our lives were in danger and everything from our home to our personal documentation was left behind.

Without proof of education or any economical stability, life was grueling . Our family of 5 was confined to a 1 bedroom apartment in a very poor neighborhood. We did not speak english and people viewed as as uneducated immigrants. Our only source of survival was financial aid from the government. This is not what we had envisioned when we left our wealthy lives but my parents realized that success would lie solely within our determination. Slowly but surely we began to get on our feet. My father worked several jobs and my mother went back to school. The difference between the family in the movie and my family is we did not do it for status. Although we were wealthy in our past life, we were not concerned with living lavishly, we just wanted a better life. My parents worked vigorously and saved every penny they could. My siblings and I were pushed to do well in school and mediocrity was not accepted in the eyes of my parents. After 8 years of working for low wages, we had saved enough for a down payment on a house. My father started his jewelry business from the ground up, he rented a little booth and relied on wholesalers to give him merchandise on credit. 20 years of grueling work has led us to owning cars, a nice home in long island and a thriving business.

Although it appeared Behrani was striving for success for status, he is doing exactly what my father had done. He arrived in America with little assets and worked his way up. He felt it was his patriarchal duty to lead us in the right direction. It is a classic case of an immigrant striving in the “land of opportunity”. Behrani’s business ethics are in question, but in the end he seeks to improve the life of his family.

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2 responses to “House of Pass and Fog

  1. D, I totally understand where your coming from in comparing your life to Berhanis. It must have been hard for you to migrate to this country at such a young age, leaving everything you worked hard for in your previous country behind. My grandfather and grandmother endured the same journey that you and your family went through when you were you little. My grandparents decided to migrate to this country during a time when Europe was enduring much trouble. He was forced to leave his very successful carpentry shop behind, in which he made useful furniture such as tables, chairs, and bedroom furniture. He was a master carpenter with an extensive amount of tools in which he was forced to leave behind. My grandparents migrated to the USA like most Europeans with a few dollars in their pocket and two children to take care of. It’s interesting to see that Berhani had to immigrate to the United States, in order to save the lives of his family, and ironically they all end up dying in the end.

  2. Ddabis, it is great to hear that many people come to this country to better their lives. Your parents are living proof that if one works hard, anything can be achieved. There are many people living here and just sitting taking whatever they can get, by that I mean government assistance and not wanting to work hard to get off the government help and strive.
    Unfortunately for Kathy, she didn’t seem to know the meaning of working hard for something, otherwise she would have opened up every single letter and clear the matter out.

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