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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 424

Interesting people there. They make a success. Those were the words he was looking for round the room. The wonderful desire drained from her instantly.

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Abdu and Julie's relationship begins to come apart as soon as Abdu's English improves and Julie can actually understand him. Julie comes from a prosperous upper-middle-class background that she does not appreciate, while Abdu is poor. Julie has rejected her background, preferring a bohemian life of adventure, while Adbu sees Julie's family as a potential help for him to rise in his socioeconomic status. Julie is completely and immediately turned off by that, which makes the reader question her motives in the relationship. Is she with Abdu just because he provides some kind of exotic escapist adventure? Why doesn't she want to see him succeed? Ironically, her snobbish anti-materialist values are a luxury good that the wealth of her family permits her to indulge in. It is a luxury that Abdu lacks, and she apparently wishes to share only her anti-materialist values with him—not the wealth that enables them.

She’s ashamed of her parents; he thinks she is ashamed of him. Neither knows either, about the other.

Julie's parents are divorced, and both have remarried. She is reluctant to have Abdu meet them, because she is ashamed of them, but Adbu thinks she is reluctant because she is ashamed of him. Abdu's English is still very poor, and this isolates him from what is going on around him. He must make guesses about meaning and intentions, and his guesses aren't always right. He is often silent, and his misunderstanding of Julie's intentions causes their first major misunderstanding as a couple.

To be open to encounters—that was what she and her friends believed, anyway, as part of making the worth of their lives.

Julie is looking for new experiences and adventure. Abdu has also escaped the close circle of his family to seek a new life abroad. This break from their families and openness to a new life is something that they share. Ironically, as they become more familiar with each other's backgrounds, they begin to find that each is attracted to things that the other is trying to leave behind. Julie loves the infinite expanse and silence of the desert in Abdu's homeland. Abdu was doing his best to escape it to a city and a better life. Julie hated her successful parents' wealthy lifestyle and was seeking adventure and new experiences. Abdu, on the other hand, was favorably impressed by the successful businessmen he met.

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