Rumi was a 13th century Sufi, a member of an ecstatic, whirling-dervish sect of Islam that engages in trance-worship and poetry as a path to God. Sufism tries to blur the line between love of God and love of human, though this can be seen as blasphemous and sacrilegious by some—why so? How does Rumi manage to respect his God and respect his mortal lovers in a single breath? Why might this effort seem suspicious to some?
Aimee Bender’s “Fruit and Words” is an odd short story about actual words taking on the appearance of what they “refer” to, as if the word “thorn” were sharp and the word “poison” was toxic to consume. What sort of moral effect does the author seem to be aiming for here? What is the danger in thinking that our words are the same as the objects they point toward? What is the opposing danger of thinking that our words aren’t “actual” things in the “real” world?
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