What is it about sex that makes everyone so uncomfortable? Upon reading Randa Jarrar’s A Map of Home, one of the major themes that the novel goes in depth about is Nidali’s sexual awakening. Many students would argue that this novel is littered with too much sexual activity, i.e. masturbation. However, A Map of Home is a novel about finding your place in this world; the search for your identity and purpose. Sexual identity plays a significant part of that continuum. You may question, “Well, could you have figure out a way to describe her story without all the sex stuff?” This statement would demolish the novel’s relatable and sheer honest tone, as well as disintegrate the genuineness behind the narrative if Jarrar would omit Nidali’s sexual experiences. The complete fact that young teenagers do think about sex so often makes one grasp the true relatability this novel showcases through the main character’s sexual experiences. In this essay, I plan to explore the importance of sexual awakening, Nidali’s own reasons for experimenting with her sexuality, and what we can ultimately learn from being open with what we want in that context.
Imagine a scenario of a young teenager who has this overwhelming desperation to figure out who they are and where they came from. Someone who has been kept hidden in shadow from the truth for whatever the reason; they are still told the story of the stork, or another situation where someone has been taught their whole lives to avoid sexual confrontation because it is the “worst thing you can do” However, when faced in the heat of the moment, they might actually be more inclined to pursue sexual activity to discover who they are because they face everyday, through relentless ambiguity, what everyone says they should be or do, and they decide to experiment with their own sexuality.
The first instance we see this questioning of where you came from is the conversation between Nidali and her older cousin Layla, after their attempts in search of a television set so they can watch the Ismail Yaseen movie were unsuccessful,
“I mean they did it, they were naked and your baba put his thing in your mama… You’re lying. People don’t do that! I covered my ears with my hands, completely horrified. I looked for a moon in the sky, but I couldn’t see it, so I looked at a star and willed myself to it. Yes they do. I’m not trying to disgust you. They really do. That’s how babies are made. You were probably made right here… Ask your mama, It’s true” (Jarrar 89).
Here we get the traditional appalled response when you first are trying to deduce this newfound information. It’s like you don’t really want to believe this at first just because the thought about the act of conception is bewildering, but at the same time, you do believe it to be somewhat true because those suspicions are motivated by a sense of needing to know where you came from.
After Nidali’s first kiss experience with Fakhr El-Din she openly talks to the reader about...