Five hundred and twentythird Asic – The Grapes of Wrath- A Sort of Book Review

What Makes a Good Book Good Enough?

That is one of the things that keeps me busy when I start reading any book whatsoever… Like many other students I was forced to read ”Of Mice and Men” in school as a teenager, and I guess my teacher picked the novel for a few different reasons, among one was the endurable length… I was however thrilled by the way Steinbeck built up his characters and how the story developed.  From a few hints on how George and Lennie had to move on again, after something terrible had happened, I realized I was already thinking; What had happened? As a young reader of a classic novel I was thrilled enough to keep reading until the very last page… I also read ”The Pearl” with great interest and without any effort, but for a novel like ”The Grapes of Wrath” it takes 455 pages before you know the end of the story. As a young reader, I did not meet that challenge, but a summer a couple of years ago, during a vaction in California, ”The Grapes of Wrath” was my perfect companion. I drove past the road sign with ”Salinas” and I went to Monterey and the Monterey Bay Aquarium where a section in the Museum describes John Steinbeck’s writing and I was happy to know that in my car, the book was waiting for me to turn the next page and the next…

Nobelpris_medalj

John Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize in 1962,

”for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception”

 Although ”The Grapes of Wrath” was written in 1938 and first published in 1939, the content is extremely important also in 2018. Migrants today, face the same kind of ignorance and racism as the Okies (people from Oklahoma, moving to California) in Steinbeck’s novel. Migrants both now and then, left for the thought of a better future, filled with hope, but also fear. Their plans and hopes are not always fulfilled…

Describing the process of change in a person’s life, like Steinbeck does in ”The Grapes of Wrath”, is a delicate matter between being true or being pathetic. Neither can you exaggerate too much nor be too shallow.

The novel very closely describes the extremely poor conditions for migrant workers in California in the thirties. Racism, cruelty and violence together with greed seems to be the rule and being from Oklahoma, means being an Okie, which is a stigmatised group at the time. No matter how hard they work, they seem to face very little understanding and empathy from the Californians. The Okies move from one workplace to the other and get less paid for each time they move, so it seems.

vindruvor

Throughout the novel, Steinbeck give descriptions of the surrounding landscape and certain topics of interest. One of the chapters is like a dialogue between a car salesman and an Okie buyer and written with humor, although the underlying message is that many poor Okies were fooled by the car dealers, selling off good cattle or mules in trade for a jalopy. Another such chapter is a very nice description of a few instruments, the harmonica, the guitar and the fiddle and how they blend in together for the coming dance evening, when a certain piece of music is played. That is also where ”Swedes up in Dakota” (p 342) are mentioned, which is fun to read for me as Swedish.

But apart from these humorous chapters, there are also some very critical topics, as when Steinbeck describes how land owners had too much fruit and too much potatoes, too many pigs and instead of giving the food to the extremely poor workers, they poisoned the potatoes, drowned the pigs and drenched the fruit in kerosene, only for the pleasure of not giving it to the starving workers. That is when ”The Grapes of Wrath”(p 349) is uttered…

A good book is a book you never forget…

That is what ”The Grapes of Wrath” was to me…

 

cotton-capsule

Annonser

Fivehundred and sixteenth Asic- The Need for The Good Example in Times of Trouble

Migration is not a new phenomenon. People migrated thousands of years ago both abroad and within national borders. Despite the many negatively written articles lately, there are good examples that need to be acknowledged!

I once read in SvD (Svenska Dagbladet) about a small community in the middle of Sweden, where the new migrants were as many as the original inhabitants, but the people in Åre manned up and contributed volunteerly for the group of immigrants. Åre is very far away from the bigger cities. In a small community like Åre, connections between representatives of different authorities may be closer and I guess people in a small village also know each other quite well. When a busload of immigrants arrive, it may cause somewhat chaos for a short while, but true friendship in the local community is crucial. According to the article, people all contributed in their own different fields of society to help the immigrants as smoothly as possible. Today, not even two years later, the Åre society is profoundly changed in many positive ways.

I think, on a national level, when Sweden welcomed many of the refugees who had fled thru Europe in the fall of 2015, that was the only decent thing to do under those extreme circumstances. In my profession I meet many of them now, two years later and guess what? Many of the refugees who have been here less than three years, in fact cope quite well in their new lives in the wintery and snowy northern country of Sweden. My teaching subject is Swedish as a Foreign Language and I meet my students after they have passed the compulsory level and head on to higher levels of Swedish.

I cannot stress enough how rewarding it is to teach adult immigrants and share their stories about life. They learn Swedish, search for jobs and they dream of a home of their own and later a reunion with their family. Thoughts of the past, traumatic memories and losses may slow down the pace in which they learn to cope in their new environment, but despite very emotional events prior to their current situation, most of them are working hard to achieve their goals. In the long run, I think we all try to make the best of every situation despite hardships and trouble we pass along the way, at least that is what my students prove to me over and over again, every day in school.

Four Hundred and Eightieth Asic – The Grapes of Wrath- A Sort of Book Review

What Makes a Good Book Good Enough?

That is one of the things that keeps me busy when I start reading any book whatsoever… Like many other students I was forced to read ”Of Mice and Men” in school as a teenager, and I guess my teacher picked the novel for a few different reasons, among one was the endurable length… I was however thrilled by the way Steinbeck built up his characters and how the story developed.  From a few hints on how George and Lennie had to move on again, after something terrible had happened, I realized I was already thinking; What had happened? As a young reader of a classic novel I was thrilled enough to keep reading until the very last page… I also read ”The Pearl” with great interest and without any effort, but for a novel like ”The Grapes of Wrath” it takes 455 pages before you know the end of the story. As a young reader, I did not meet that challenge, but last summer, during a vaction in California, ”The Grapes of Wrath” was my perfect companion. I drove past the road sign with ”Salinas” and I went to Monterey and the Monterey Bay Aquarium where a section in the Museum describes John Steinbeck’s writing and I was happy to know that in my car, the book was waiting for me to turn the next page and the next…

Nobelpris_medalj

John Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize in 1962,

”for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception”

To me as a Swedish reader, both when I was young and now, I  must say Steinbeck really made a difference. I can see his deep engagement concerning important issues in society and although ”The Grapes of Wrath” was written in 1938 and first published in 1939, the content is extremely important also in 2016. In Europe where I live, migration is an every day topic, since many thousands of people are on the move between different countries. Some end up in camps or in asylum seeking procedures where bureaucratic systems cannot handle the massiv number of applications quick enough. Migrants today, face the same kind of ignorance and racism as the Okies (people from Oklahoma, moving to California) in Steinbeck’s novel. Migrants both now and then, left for the thought of a better future, filled with hope, but also fear. Their plans may be delayed or sometimes changed, and for a few the plans and hopes may never be fulfilled, due to accidents or other problems along the way.

Describing the process of change in a person’s life, like Steinbeck does in ”The Grapes of Wrath”, is a delicate matter, since it is walking on a thin line between being true or being pathetic. Neither can you exaggerate too much nor be too shallow. When the story begins we meet the American state Oklahoma when the weather conditions have been very poor for a long time. Draught and winds have left the land destroyed and every corn field has a layer of dust that makes the corn worthless. The protagonist Tom Joad, is an ex-convict from Mac Alester, where he sat four years for homicide. Now he is out on parole. Tom Joad comes back home in company with an old friend of the family, Jim Casy. In order to find job and better opportunities the Joads decide to leave Oklahoma for California. During the long trip from Sallisaw, Oklahoma to California both Grandpa and Grandma die. Tom’s brother Noah, and his sister’s boyfriend Connie leave the family for different reasons, but the rest of the family stick together. Ma and Pa, Tom and his brother Al, their sister Rosasharn who is pregnant and the younger children Ruthie and Windfield all come to California after a very tough trip through several states, over mountains and finally through the desert.

The novel very closely describes the extremely poor conditions for migrant workers in California in the thirties. Racism, cruelty and violence together with greed seems to be the rule and being from Oklahoma, means being an Okie, which is a stigmatised group at the time. No matter how hard they work, they seem to face very little understanding and empathy from the Californians. The Joads and the other Okies move from one workplace to the other and get less paid for each time they move, so it seems. For several reasons Tom gets in trouble again.

vindruvor

Throughout the novel, Steinbeck give descriptions of the surrounding landscape and certain topics of interest. One of the chapters is like a dialogue between a car salesman and an Okie buyer and written with humor, although the underlying message is that many poor Okies were fooled by the car dealers, selling off good cattle or mules in trade for a jalopy. Another such chapter is a very nice description of a few instruments, the harmonica, the guitar and the fiddle and how they blend in together for the coming dance evening, when a certain piece of music is played. That is also where ”Swedes up in Dakota” (p 342) are mentioned, which is fun to read for me as Swedish.

But apart from these humorous chapters, there are also some very critical topics, as when Steinbeck describes how land owners had too much fruit and too much potatoes, too many pigs and instead of giving the food to the extremely poor workers, they poisoned the potatoes, drowned the pigs and drenched the fruit in kerosene, only for the pleasure of not giving it to the starving workers. That is when ”The Grapes of Wrath”(p 349) is uttered…

For a period of time, the Joads live in the Weedpatch camp, which is a state camp. For the first time in their lives, Ruthie and Windfield see toilets. The workers are all involved in taking care of the camp together, making sure it is kept clean. Here the Joads meet other people they can trust and make friends with and for a moment the reader is fooled to think this book has a happy ending…

I highly recommend ”The Grapes of Wrath” if you would like to get a glimpse of migrant life from the inside. The novel reveal several complex issues and through the Joads and their discussions throughout the novel, you and I get a chance to consider those issues, too. With the coming election in the USA last year when I was there, the voters could decide whether there would be harder times or not for migrant workers from abroad, picking fruit and cotton in California for the benefit of American producers. Some of the migrants came there just like the Joads, with the hope of a better future. Some of the current Californians are likely to be decendants from Okies who came in the thirties.

Let us read books like ”The Grapes of Wrath” and never forget what made us the ones we are today.

cotton-capsule

Fyrahundrasjuttiofemte åseriet- Putt, put eller PUT ett litet ord med stor betydelse!

Sports-Alive-Ltd._27.jpg (1249×937)

Det beror helt och hållet på sammanhanget vad man menar när man använder vissa ord. Om man inte har stöd av ordbilden, i textform så kan det vara direkt omöjligt att skilja mellan put, putt och PUT, trots att det är en enorm skillnad mellan dessa ord. Det första ordet är skrivet på engelska och kan översättas till svenska i mer än tio olika sammanhang. Det andra ordet är dels ett substantiv som betyder att man spelar en golfboll med en specifik klubba och med ett mycket försiktigt slag. Dessutom kan ordet i den bemärkelsen syfta på en lätt knuff, en putt… Men för en person som jobbar i en myndighet som sysslar med migranter eller för migranten själv, är det väldigt stor skillnad mellan den nyss nämnda putten och PUT med versaler. Exakt hur stor skillnad det är, vet man endast om man varit med om att möta en människa som nåtts av beskedet att de nu äntligen har fått PUT. Det betyder nämligen permanent uppehållstillstånd. För ett par år sedan samtalade jag med en person om framtiden. Bland annat pratade vi om sannolikheten för att Migrationsverket skulle höra av sig snart. Personen menade att det var väldigt svårt och väldigt jobbigt att vänta och det förstår ju var och en som någon gång väntat på ett besked av något slag.

klocka_167738793.jpg (400×397)

Ovissheten skapar ett slags vakuum, där man inte vågar hoppas, inte vågar tro att det kommer att lösa sig, för man är så rädd för att bli besviken om man inte skulle få sin PUT. De personer jag mött i mitt arbete, som väntat och hoppats och längtat efter just detta fönsterkuvert, vet vad det innebär att våndas. Ofta har dessutom utredningstiden varit kantad av olika typer av åtgärder som för tankarna till en Kafkatillvaro. Det finns människor i min omgivning som fått nej av Migrationsverket samtidigt som de har fått uppmaningen att resa hem till sitt hemland (som de flytt ifrån på grund av allvarliga risker för sitt eget liv) för att de måste söka asyl i Sverige därifrån. De ombeds att resa tillbaka, söka upp den svenska ambassaden eller konsulatet, för att få hjälp att söka asyl… Att söka asyl från en svensk ambassad är en sak, men att återvända till ett land där man fruktar för sitt liv, är kopplat till skräck som paralyserar, som skapar en rädsla som syns på utsidan, en sorg som gör att ett tillfälligt leende på besök i ansiktet, aldrig på allvar når ända upp till ögonen. I de fall där landet inte har någon svensk ambassad eller något svenskt konsulat, så har Sverige ofta en ambassad som servar flera länder som gränsar till varandra. I vissa fall är deras gräns det enda som förenar dem. Grannlandet kanske har en helt annan kultur och ett annat språk talas där. Ändå är det dit flyktingen hänvisas för att söka asyl…på den svenska ambassaden. Mot bakgrund av omständigheter som är snarlika dem som jag nu beskrivit, kunde jag verkligen förstå vilken OERHÖRD glädje den här personen kände när hen kom hem och fann ett brev på hallgolvet i lägenheten. Med posten hade det kommit…brevet med hens PUT. I min inbox kom kort därefter ett överlyckligt mejl och från mig skickades inom samma minut ett helt hysteriskt meddelande med en lång rad vokaler: Åååååååååååååååååååååååååååååååååååååååååååååååå! Grattis!!!

Det kändes fantastiskt och jag kunde andas ut. Jag hade oroat mig… Men, vad är MIN oro jämfört med den oro den aktuella personen har känt????

När mina vänner från länder i krig och konflikter varit här i Sverige ett tag, så händer det att vi kommer i samspråk om hur det egentligen var att leva i hemlandet innan de tvingades fly. Inte alls sällan berättar de hårresande minnen från helt ofattbara händelser som de har bevittnat, där nära släktingar lemlästats eller dödats eller där deras hem eller andra ägodelar förintats i explosioner eller bränder. Andra gånger handlar det i stället om inskränkt livsrum, en livssituation där man inte får vara den man vill vara, utan måste anpassa sig till regimens uppfattning om hur man ska tro, leva eller klä sig. Eller ännu värre…att man inte får uttrycka sig över huvudtaget, utan att riskera katastrofala följder för sig själv och sin familj. Som lärare möter jag alla dessa kategorier flyktingar i vårt land och genom alla dessa möten lär jag känna människorna bakom varje typ av omständighet. Ofta läser jag på lite extra om de länder mina elever kommer ifrån, för att det är viktigt för mig att förstå dem bättre. Det är berikande att veta mera, även om det ofta leder till att jag också känner en omfattande vanmakt över den situation världen i stort befinner sig.

Men här är inte platsen och inte heller tidpunkten för någon analys av den politiska situationen. I stället noterar jag att i det lilla sammanhanget, där jag befinner mig, är ovanstående händelse inte en engångsföreteelse.  Jag ser ofta hur människor väntar och längtar och hoppas på att få sitt PUT här i Sverige. Väntan på besked om PUT är för många som ett vakuum, där ingen kraft finns att ta itu med saker… men det finns också de som frenetiskt jobbar på alla upptänkliga sätt för att få stanna. De lär sig språket, pluggar för att nå nästa nivå i skolsystemet och skaffar på egen hand både bostad och arbete. De blir, trots att de är självförsörjande och bidrar med skatt precis som du och jag, en bricka i ett politiskt spel, där samhället nu har bestämt sig för en annan nivå i asyllagstiftningen.

Någon av dessa hårt arbetande migranter, som verkligen gjort allt det man kan begära för att få stanna, är din granne eller min…men lagen säger att hen ska flytta hem till sitt land…trots att det har gått många år, trots att man inte längre kallar det där andra landet för hemma… Med Migrationsverkets nya lagstiftning som trädde i kraft den 20 juli 2016 kommer vi som jobbar nära migranterna säkert att uppleva flera uppslitande avsked, fler avslag på asylansökningar och fler människor som svävar i ovisshet om sin framtid. I varje stund känner jag någon som kämpar för att få vara kvar. Nu också… Jag tänker på dig och hoppas!

 

Fourhundred and thirtieth Asic- The Need for The Good Example in Times of Trouble

Migration is not a new phenomenon. People migrated thousands of years ago both abroad and within national borders. Despite the many negatively written articles lately, there are good examples that need to be acknowledged!

I read in today’s SvD (Svenska Dagbladet) about a small community in the middle of Sweden, where the new migrants were as many as the original inhabitants, but the people in Åre manned up and contributed volunteerly for the group of immigrants. Åre is very far away from the bigger cities. In a small community like Åre, connections between representatives of different authorities may be closer and I guess people in a small village also know each other quite well. When a busload of immigrants arrive, it may cause somewhat chaos for a short while, but true friendship in the local community is crucial. According to the article, people all contributed in their own different fields of society to help the immigrants as smoothly as possible. Today, not even two years later, the Åre society is profoundly changed in many positive ways.

I think, on a national level, when Sweden welcomed many of the refugees who had fled thru Europe in the fall of 2015, that was the only decent thing to do under those extreme circumstances. In my profession I meet many of them now, two years later and guess what? Many of the refugees who have been here less than three years, in fact cope quite well in their new lives in the wintery and snowy northern country of Sweden. My teaching subject is Swedish as a Foreign Language and I meet my students after they have passed the compulsory level and head on to higher levels of Swedish.

I cannot stress enough how rewarding it is to teach adult immigrants and share their stories about life. They learn Swedish, search for jobs and they dream of a home of their own and later a reunion with their family. Thoughts of the past, traumatic memories and losses may slow down the pace in which they learn to cope in their new environment, but despite very emotional events prior to their current situation, most of them are working hard to achieve their goals. In the long run, I think we all try to make the best of every situation despite hardships and trouble we pass along the way, at least that is what my students prove to me over and over again, every day in school.

Three Hundred and Seventy-Ninth Asic – Nobel Prize in literature 2016, Part 1

What Makes a Good Book Good Enough?

That is one of the things that keeps me busy when I start reading any book whatsoever… Like many other students I was forced to read several books by Nobel Prize winners in school as a teenager, and I guess my teachers picked the novels for different reasons… One of the authors I started to like by reading in school was John Steinbeck. I was thrilled by the way Steinbeck built up his characters in ”Of Mice and Men” and how the story developed.  From a few hints on how George and Lennie had to move on again, after something terrible had happened, I realized I was already thinking; What had happened? As a young reader of a classic novel I was thrilled enough to keep reading until the very last page… I also read ”The Pearl” with great interest and without any effort, but for a novel like ”The Grapes of Wrath” it takes 455 pages before you know the end of the story. As a young reader, I did not meet that challenge, but this summer, during a vaction in California, ”The Grapes of Wrath” was my perfect companion. I drove past the road sign with ”Salinas” and I went to Monterey and the Monterey Bay Aquarium where a section in the Museum describes John Steinbeck’s writing and I was happy to know that in my car, the book was waiting for me to turn the next page and the next…

Nobelpris_medalj

John Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize in 1962,

”for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception”

To me as a Swedish reader, both when I was young and now, I  must say Steinbeck really made a difference. I can see his deep engagement concerning important issues in society and although ”The Grapes of Wrath” was written in 1938 and first published in 1939, the content is extremely important also in 2016. In Europe where I live, migration is an every day topic, since many thousands of people are on the move between different countries. Some end up in camps or in asylum seeking procedures where bureaucratic systems cannot handle the massive number of applications quickly enough. Migrants today, face the same kind of ignorance and racism as the Okies (people from Oklahoma, moving to California) in Steinbeck’s novel. Migrants both now and then, left for the thought of a better future, filled with hope, but also fear. Their plans may be delayed or sometimes changed, and for a few the plans and hopes may never be fulfilled, due to accidents or other problems along the way.

Describing the process of change in a person’s life, like Steinbeck does in ”The Grapes of Wrath”, is a delicate matter, since it is walking on a thin line between being true or being pathetic. Neither can you exaggerate too much nor be too shallow. When the story begins we meet the American state Oklahoma when the weather conditions have been very poor for a long time. Draught and winds have left the land destroyed and every corn field has a layer of dust that makes the corn worthless. The protagonist Tom Joad, is an ex-convict from Mac Alester, where he sat four years for homicide. Now he is out on parole. Tom Joad comes back home in company with an old friend of the family, Jim Casy. In order to find job and better opportunities the Joads decide to leave Oklahoma for California. During the long trip from Sallisaw, Oklahoma to California both Grandpa and Grandma die. Tom’s brother Noah, and his sister’s boyfriend Connie leave the family for different reasons, but the rest of the family stick together. Ma and Pa, Tom and his brother Al, their sister Rosasharn who is pregnant and the younger children Ruthie and Windfield all come to California after a very tough trip through several states, over mountains and finally through the desert.

The novel very closely describes the extremely poor conditions for migrant workers in California in the thirties. Racism, cruelty and violence together with greed seems to be the rule and being from Oklahoma, means being an Okie, which is a stigmatised group at the time. No matter how hard they work, they seem to face very little understanding and empathy from the Californians. The Joads and the other Okies move from one workplace to the other and get less paid for each time they move, so it seems. For several reasons Tom gets in trouble again.

vindruvor

Throughout the novel, Steinbeck give descriptions of the surrounding landscape and certain topics of interest. One of the chapters is like a dialogue between a car salesman and an Okie buyer and written with humor, although the underlying message is that many poor Okies were fooled by the car dealers, selling off good cattle or mules in trade for a jalopy. Another such chapter is a very nice description of a few instruments, the harmonica, the guitar and the fiddle and how they blend in together for the coming dance evening, when a certain piece of music is played. That is also where ”Swedes up in Dakota” (p 342) are mentioned, which is fun to read for me as Swedish.

But apart from these humorous chapters, there are also some very critical topics, as when Steinbeck describes how land owners had too much fruit and too much potatoes, too many pigs and instead of giving the food to the extremely poor workers, they poisoned the potatoes, drowned the pigs and drenched the fruit in kerosene, only for the pleasure of not giving it to the starving workers. That is when ”The Grapes of Wrath”(p 349) is uttered…

For a period of time, the Joads live in the Weedpatch camp, which is a state camp. For the first time in their lives, Ruthie and Windfield see toilets. The workers are all involved in taking care of the camp together, making sure it is kept clean. Here the Joads meet other people they can trust and make friends with and for a moment the reader is fooled to think this book has a happy ending…

I highly recommend ”The Grapes of Wrath” if you would like to get a glimpse of migrant life from the inside. The novel reveal several complex issues and through the Joads and their discussions throughout the novel, you and I get a chance to consider those issues, too. With the coming election in the USA, the voters can decide whether there will be harder times or not for migrant workers from abroad, picking fruit and cotton in California for the benefit of American producers. Some of the migrants came there just like the Joads, with the hope of a better future. Some of the current Californians are likely to be decendants from Okies who came in the thirties.

Let us read books like ”The Grapes of Wrath” and never forget what made us the ones we are today.

cotton-capsule

Trehundrasextiofjärde åseriet: Den djupt mänsklige Theodor Kallifatides- Ett författarskap att grotta ner sig i! Del 4

#Kallifatides, #asaoleSom jag skrev i #Trehundrafyrtioåttonde åseriet, så händer det att jag får för mig att jag ska läsa ”allt” jag kan komma över av en viss författare. Det finns många favoriter av Theodor Kallifatides som jag läst med stor behållning och gärna skulle läsa igen. Han beskriver som ingen annan det Grekland som han en gång lämnade, men också det Grekland många svenskar har rest till genom åren för att uppleva värmen under de årstider då Sveriges klimat inte erbjuder annat än regn, vind eller snö.

Som lärare har jag mött Theodor Kallifatides texter och betraktelser i en hel del läromedel. Han verkar ha varit (och är säkert än!) en favorit hos dem som ska välja ut texter för olika typer av läromedel. I läromedlet ”Språkporten” av Monika Åström (2006), finner jag en text med rubriken ”Den svenska kvinnan”. Den är skriven med glimten i ögat från perspektivet av en man som är invandrare i Sverige och inleds med meningen:

”Om man är man och invandrare, då har man många problem. Ett av de många problemen är den svenska kvinnan”(Åström, s 104).

I sitt vidare resonemang hävdar Kallifatides att många invandrare kommer ifrån kulturbakgrunder där kvinnor inte möter mäns blickar, utan sedesamt tittar i marken om de möter en man. Den svenska kvinnan däremot, möter blicken och kostar ofta på sig ett varmt leende. Han skriver vidare om de svenska kvinnorna:

”De svarade om man talade till dem. De visade ingen som helst rädsla för att bli bekanta” (Åström, s 104).

Men det är sedan Kallifatides kommer med den förlösande analysen av situationen han befunnit sig i:

”Ingen hade förklarat för mig att allt detta inte betydde någonting särskilt, att de helt enkelt betedde sig normalt och att det var jag som egentligen hade problem” (Åström, s 104).

Just detta fenomen kan säkert vara en viktig förklaring till den senaste tidens händelser som resulterat i polisanmälningar för sexuellt ofredande i olika grad. Kulturbakgrundens uppfattning om vad som är OK eller inte, är inte på något sätt en ursäkt, men den kan vara en förklaring i sammanhanget. Kallifatides betonar också detta i sin text, när han frågar sig om kvinnorna har någon skuld till mäns överträdelser i olika grad. Han besvarar sin egen fråga med ett bestämt ”Nej!” Han förklarar också varför svenska kvinnor inte ska behöva känna någon skuld när de blir utsatta för mäns oönskade uppvaktning i olika grad:

”De [kvinnorna] har inte vuxit upp i ett samhälle där det är förbjudet att tala med en främmande man eller att se honom i ögonen. De har inte blivit uppfostrade i att jämt och ständigt leka katt och råttaleken. Egentligen borde vi män vara glada över det, och de flesta män blir glada, när de till slut förstår att de inte behöver förföra varje kvinna som ser dem i ögonen elelr som hövligt svarar på en fråga” (Åström, s 105).

Ett annat tema från olika läroböcker där Kallifatides är representerad är texter där han tar sig an hur invandrare finner sig till rätta i Sverige. I antologin ”Öppna dörrar” av Manne & Lundh (1997) finns texten ”Varför har de inte lärt sig älska det här landet?”, som kan ses som ett exempel ur mängden från liknande läromedel avsedda för ämnet svenska för invandrare. Även om texten är mycket kort, så hinner Kallifatides göra en intressant jämförelse mellan hur grekiska invandrare i Sverige med myndigheternas goda minne beter sig på ett annat sätt än hur till exempel grekiska invandrare i USA eller andra länder gör. Kallifatides skriver i en filosofisk och funderande stil, men andemeningen är ändå att grekiska invandrare i Sverige alltid har satt en ära i att förbli just greker, medan Kallifatides menar att grekiska migranter som hamnat i andra länder lägger ner mycket tid och kraft på att smälta in i den nya landets kultur och bli en i mängden. Kallifatides text är inte ett debattinlägg, inte heller en faktaunderbyggd sakprosatext med statistiska hänvisningar. Därför ska den ses som en betraktelse, men för mig är den ändå mycket intressant, eftersom den tangerar frågan om mänskliga rättigheter, vår frihet att yttra oss, ha den religion vi vill eller den kultur vi vill och så vidare.

Ett sista exempel från en lärobok är texten ”Hatten”, hämtad ur en berättelse som heter Kvarteret Alabaster (1990). Läroboken är en antologi som ingår i serien ”MÅL”, från 1992 och finns i ett kapitel med temat Invandrare och utvandrare. Textens berättarjag har säkert mycket gemensamt med Theodor Kallifatides, om jag tar mig friheten att jämföra med andra uttalat självbiografiska verk av Kallifatides som jag har läst. Därför är det spännande för mig som arbetar med andraspråkselever att se hur berättarjaget/Kallifatides gått till väga för att tillägna sig svenska så effektivt. Förutom detta att han läste Strindberg för att lära sig svenska, som jag redan kände till från förut, kom informationen att han vid varje daglig promenad utmanat sig själv språkligt på ännu ett spektakulärt sätt. Det gick till så att han tittade i skyltfönster i jakt på nya ord och tvingade sig själv att hitta 25 nya ord vid varje promenad! I slutet av texten bjöds läsaren på lite humor också, då Kallifatides berättade att han köpt sig en hatt, blivit utskrattad av sin flickvän och senare fått förklaringen till varför, då det visade sig vara en konduktörsmössa. På samma gång fick han språkligt lära sig skilja mellan mössa och hatt…

Kallifatides är aktuell på årets Bokmässa (2016) där han bland annat diskuterar integration som utmaning eller möjlighet tillsammans med den schweiziska journalisten Irena Brezná.