There are several stories all over the world about problems which families encounter. Some of these stories catch our attention because they reflect our social problems. The story that caught my attention is “Albert and Esene”. The author of this story is Frances Khirallah Noble, who received her JD Degree from the University of Southern California Law School. The title is an Arabic word which means “grandmother”. The story is about a husband and a wife and the support and love that they gave each other. It is about how they responded to the pressures of their families due to their failure to have children. The husband died but he left a good impression on his family because of how he took care of his wife and how he motivated her.
The story took place in 2000, in Boston where a community of Arabic Americans lived. The main characters of the story are Albert, Esene, the wife of Albert, Albert’s sisters Amelia and Safiyah, and Albert’s parents Hasna and Nisei.
The story started with Esene, Amelia and Safiyah seating side by side in the living room, drinking some coffee. Safiyah and Amelia went to visit Esene after Albert died just about two weeks ago. Safiyah knew how to drive so he picked up Amelia. On the way, however, Amelia criticized how Safiyah drove the car.
During the visit, Esene talked about her husband and how he loved her so much. Esene spoke of how Albert supported her in her desire to learn how to read and write. Esene described the day when Albert told her that he will teach her how to read and write. He said that it was important to learn how to read and write because every woman in America knows how. He said that she will write the Christmas cards that they will send out. They agreed that it will be a secret until the cards are sent out. As time went by, with the help of Albert, Esene learned how to read and write. Meanwhile, the family of Albert found out about their secret. Upon learning this, Amelia and Safiyah felt jealous because although they were rich, they did not know how to read and write. In the end, Esene realized that Albert taught her something which will be very useful for the rest of her life.
In conclusion, the theme of the story is how Albert loved his wife very much even if she did not bear him a child. It showed how Albert supported her by teaching her how to read and write.
The message that the writer wants to convey in the story is that even if a couple does not have children, it is not justified for the husband to leave his wife and marry another one, as dictated by the Arabic culture. The story illustrates how a husband can motivate his wife into improving herself. It also shows the importance of a supportive husband especially if the wife faces several problems with his family.