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Three Cups of Tea
Three Cups of Tea is a biography about Mortenson's personal experiences traveling through Pakistan and Afghanistan. The co-author, David Relin, uses his information from an interview he did of Mortenson to co-write the book. Information from their own interview, as well as individual knowledge of each author, produced Three Cups of Tea.
The language used throughout the book is very direct. It does not become ironic. It focuses on the purpose of the book throughout its entirety . The book goes on to discuss Mortenson's personal attributes while also discussing his characteristic flaws. Rhetorical questions and other figurative language was used throughout: "How could you even hope to identify the hotbeds of extremism, growing like malignancies in these vulnerable valleys, when they took such care to hide behind high walls and cloak themselves in the excuse of education?" (pg 255). This was used to further Mortenson and Relin's purpose of promoting third world education as a way to fight terrorism and promote the advancement of developing countries.
1- "They would see that most people who practice the true teachings of Islam, even conservative mullahs like Syed Abbas, believe in peace and justice, not in terror. Just as the Torah and Bible teach concern for those in distress, the Koran instructs all Muslims to make caring for widows, orphans, and refugees a priority" (pg 219) this quote describes Mortenson's direct knowledge of Islam and belief that higher education can end terror.
2- "We share in the sorrow as people weep and suffer in America today as we inaugurate this school. Those who have committed this evil act against the innocent, the women and children, to create thousands of widows and orphans do not do so in the name of Islam... I request America to look into our hearts and see that the great majority of us are not terrorists, but good and simple people. Our land is stricken with poverty because we are without education. But today, another candle of knowledge has been lit" (pg 257). This is from a speech by Syed Abbas commemorating the recent 9/11 attacks while also further conveying his belief that education can end terrorism, which is a large purpose of this book.
3-"That night, for the first time since starting my work in Pakistan, I thought about quitting. I expected something like this from an ignorant village mullah, but to get those kinds of letters from my fellow Americans made me wonder whether I should just give up." (Pg 275) This quote further explains the struggles that Mortenson faced while trying to develop education.
4- "If you want to survive in Baltistan, you must respect our ways,' Haji Ali said, blowing on his bowl. 'The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family, and for our family, we are prepared to do anything, even die,' he said, laying his hand warmly on Mortenson's own. 'Doctor Greg, you must make time to share three cups of tea. We may be uneducated. But we are not stupid. We have lived and survived here for a long time." (pg 150) This saying, articulated by Haji Ali to Mortenson, is where Mortenson got his idea for the book title.
5- "Do you see how beautiful this Koran is? I can't read it. I can't read anything. This is the greatest sadness in my life. I'll do anything so the children of my village never have to know this feeling. I'll pay any price so they have the education they deserve." (pg 153) More words spoken by Haji Ali, supports the purpose of Three Cups of Tea and how education is so important and how people in third world countries can't even read their holy books.
Culture was a main aspect of Three Cups of Tea because Mortenson had to adapt, overcome, and follow certain culture aspects of the villages in order to build his schools. Humanity in the form of education and a prevention of terrorism is what pushed Mortenson to help the progression of third world countries. The importance of education was used throughout the book in order to support the reasoning behind Mortenson's mission of building schools in order to grow peace. Knowledge versus ignorance is portrayed that knowledge always beats ignorance; it is those that are uneducated and ignorant that will cause the demise of nations. Mortenson traveling to less-developed villages to build schools was his sense of fulfillment to society.