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“I didn’t chew my fingers with regret at giving him my virginity, furious at my weakness in lying down for him, and taking this boy in my arms just because he was English, a citizen of that great nation which had once ruled half the globe; nor did I blame myself for having clung to the notion that I had severed all links with my country just because I had traveled to London alone without any member of my family. Instead of striking his face and grieving aloud because my hymen was no longer intact, I wondered, is it because he’s an Englishman that he doesn’t feel proud he’s taken my virginity, or is he frightened that now I’ll try to force him to marry me?”

In “I Sweep the Sun off Rooftops,” we know our narrator is from Morocco and not from England, which is where this story takes place so we can assume there is a culture difference. In this paragraph, our narrator gives some specific details of how she isn’t acting, which seems out of place for any story, but feels like a right choice for this one. Usually, in stories, we get what the character did do, which shows that this is important and the reader pays attention to the details. We can tell by how much the narrator tells us what she didn’t do that this is a way she was raised, that she should feel ashamed and angry for having sex. The fact that she doesn’t do this gives the readers the impression that she either doesn’t care or that now that she is away from Morocco that she doesn’t have to follow those social norms. This is significant because she doesn’t seem to have any trouble keeping that social norm at bay, while later in the story she keeps parts of her culture still in her head. One example is, “How would the English boy go on living now that he’d been found out?” In our narrator’s culture, LGBT+ is not tolerated. There was a man she knew who committed suicide because people suspected him of having a relationship with someone of the same gender. So our narrator keeps parts of her culture close to her heart, but things that referred to her own sexuality and her own sexual experiences she doesn’t seem to carry with her as much.

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