The plight of the neighborhoods abandoned dogs comes to Zeitoun's attention as "a bewilderment, an anger in their cries that cut the night into shards" (93). The next day, he sets out in the canoe and tries to do what he can for animals and people trapped by the flood. How does Zeitoun feel about what he is doing? How does he think about these days after he has been imprisoned?
Zeitoun a New Orleanian for over a decade stays behind in the after math of Hurricane Katrina. He stays at home while his wife and four children leave and flee for safety. Underestimating the hurricanes greatness he assumes he will be fine and help prevent severe damage to his many properties. After the hurricane hits Zeitoun is fine, and he does help the city but he realizes that the city is now out of control and what he is trying to nurture is far beyond his control and a threat to his individual safety.
Zeitoun ventures out into the atlantis like environment and takes in what has became of his home and what he can do to help.His property was mostly lost but he did make a difference about saving many precious objects, including photographs. :) He asks for help from military personal and barely receives any, it is he and his neighbors, some new acquaintances, that help save peoples lives. It is the quitness of his canoe and the slim sleek craft that allows him to go where he went and help who he did. It is the irony of the random purchase of the canoe and the internal appreciation of his well being that makes Zeitoun a man close to God feel he had purpose and work to do there.
He helped answer calls that others couldn't hear or ignored. He helped the abandoned dogs whose cries he could hear in the night, he allowed the crisis to seep into his heart and inspire his actions. He fed them his food, his meat of all things. He offered his time and life to aid in the destruction. He saved peoples lives who could not swim. He brought his friends to evacuation landings and to see what had became of their material lives that meant so much to them and that they had spent so much time gaining. Zeitoun felt good about what he was doing, he was enjoying it, he never dismissed the obvious threat to his safety but he did admit to himself it was fun canoeing around an abandoned city but never was he immature in his decisions I feel. He worried his family but he felt they need not be worried and that he was helping others, he felt he was not losing anything or risking anything that was not in his preferable chances at winning, to give. Technically he never gained from it at the time, but to him giving meant gaining.
After he was incarcerated Zeitoun second guessed his decision to stay behind and to continue to do so even after he could have been evacuated numerous times. But he felt he could choose when he could leave, that it wasn't a big deal to stay nor was it to get out when he chose to. After he saw the robbers at the gas station, and the helicopter that had failed, and the water turning a health-hazardous black, he had started to think it best to leave. In his cell he could not contact his wife, this of all things was the hardest on him. He felt selfish for staying and not leaving afterwards. This though was out of his hands, he should not have got arrested, he should of got a phone call after he was arrested. Zeitoun started putting his priorities into perspective his family was the most important, not his properties, or helping save others. He realized he had people to take care of mentally, physically, and financially. That if he was lost he would end up stranding five other people, his family people he loved more than life.
He realized he should have not stayed and regretted not going. Though he knew he could not change what he already chose to do, could not change the predicament he got himself into he accepted that. Therefore still felt he had done some good.
What I think...
Zeitoun staying I think was a bit of an arrogant choice, the city had a mandatory evacuation, he chose to ignore professionals and city personnels credible and knowledgable opinions. It was not worth the risks that were involved but I feel he truly felt it was going to not be a big deal so I think he made the decision in pure and understandable ignorance. After the storm not leaving that is a bit understandable as well , he was not hurt and there were others who needed help. But I think he should have went to his family, there were people there to help, that was their jobs, despite if they were executing it well, it was not Zeitoun's responsibility.