Veiled Sentiments

A look at the main messages in Lila Abu-Lughod’s book Veiled Sentiments.

The paper shows that the central research question addressed by Lila Abu-Lughod in her book Veiled Sentiments is how women and young men may express certain personal feelings that otherwise violate their moral code, the code conveyed to them by their social group. The paper discusses how the Bedouin society she studies is one where people often sang or used short poems to express their feelings and how the author notes that the question that arises concerns the relationship between the Bedouin poetic discourse and the discourse of ordinary social life.
The world depicted by Abu-Lughod is a society based on blood ties above all, both linking people to the past and to one another in the present. In approaching this society, Abu-Lughod first had to divest herself of certain romantic notions of Bedouin life. She believed that the people were tied to the sea, but she found that the sea played little or no part in their social life and that it was the desert which was central in their thinking. She was also surprised to find that the people lived in houses instead of tents, though they did pitch their tents next to the houses and spent most of their time in the tents.