Discussing chapter 10 I've chosen an excerpt from, “The Taqwacores” By Michael Muhammad Knight. This book is about a fictional (at the time) group of Islamic children who live together in Buffalo, NY. The kids discover punk rock culture and are bonded by it.
Although it’s not exemplified in the writing, the concept of playing with words, is explained in the following excerpt:
Inevitably I reached the understanding that this word ‘punk’ does not mean anything tangible like ‘tree’ or ‘car.’ Rather, punk is like a flag; an open symbol, it only means what people believe it means. There was a time in China when red traffic lights meant ‘go.’ How would you begin to argue?
I stopped trying to define Punk around the same time I stopped trying to define Islam. They aren’t so far removed as you’d think. Both began in tremendous bursts of truth and vitality but seem to have lost something along the way—the energy, perhaps, that comes with knowing the world has never seen such positive force and fury and never would again. Both have suffered from sell-outs and hypocrites, but also from true believers whose devotion had crippled their creative drive. Both are viewed by outsiders as unified, cohesive communities when nothing can be further from the truth.
Looking specifically at the word “punk” as it’s used in our culture. What does it mean? It means whatever you want it to mean. This is an example of using the unstable nature of language to an advantage in our writing.