Themes In A House Of Sand And Fog.

1191 words - 5 pages

Kathy finds out how tenuous is the dream of home ownership. Through no fault of her own, she is evicted from her legally owned home by a bureaucratic clerical error (the tax office was seeking payment for the house on Biscove Street, not Bisgrove Street). Although Kathy cannot afford a lawyer, she is assisted by a Legal Aid lawyer, paid for by the state. Although Kathy's lawyer has filed suit against the county whose tax office made the error, Kathy has nowhere to go after she is evicted and, were it not for Lester's help, would become homeless. Behrani sees an ad in the legal section of a newspaper for the auction of the Corona house; he gets the house for $45,000, paying in full, first with a $10,000 certified check drawn on the Bank of America and then with cash. Although he moves his family into the house immediately, he plans to sell it and quadruple his investment.The American Dream and the Rule of LawKathy, who cleans houses for a living, has a competent Legal Aid lawyer (Behrani pays his lawyer $300). The police department has a Division of Internal Affairs (to monitor the police themselves); knowing this, it does not take long for Behrani to suspect that the tax office had not sent an armed policeman to interrogate him−surely this wouldn't happen in the United States, where there is no SAVAK. After Lester's visit as "Officer Gonzalez," Behrani reasons that, since this is the United States, he shouldn't expect the military to arrive on his doorstep in the dead of night, especially since Behrani hadn't broken any rules. He had the $10,000 Bank of America check with him when he arrived at the auction; he then paid off the balance of the auctioned amount in full. He confirms his reasoning with a lawyer, who calls the Police Department for him, and then files a complaint at the Hall of Justice building. The California police department's Office of Internal Affairs contrasts with SAVAK, the Iranian Shah's secret police. Behrani−who, it is intimated, maintained an extravagant lifestyle off the backs of his fellow Iranians−distances himself from the armed thugs who torture and kill others at someone's whim (at least, he protests by socially snubbing General Pourat's nephew). However, Behrani was sufficiently high on the imperial ladder (as Pourat had reminded him, he and SAVAK were on the same side) to have his name placed on the ayatollahs' "death list."The rule of law is also contrasted with the law of the mob: Behrani frequently remembers his old friend and commanding officer, General Pourat, hanging from his feet above the tarmac, blood still dripping from his sleeves, his murdered family around him. Since the Shah's regime was the puppet government of the United States, it is expected that Behrani became a U.S. citizen after having been granted asylum by the U.S. government. And, as the reader discovers, the rule of the mob is not necessarily different in effect than even trained police officers wanting to do good (but who...

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