And the Mountains Echoed

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The second wife of Saboor, the sister of Masooma, and the mother of Iqbal, Parwana is the main character of the third chapter of And the Mountains Echoed. As a young woman, Parwana develops a rivalry with her sister, Masooma, whom Parwana considers to be prettier and more likeable than she. After Parwana learns that Masooma is preparing to marry Saboor—a man Parwana has liked for many years—Parwana spitefully causes her sister to fall out of a tree, injuring her and causing her to spend the rest of her life an invalid. Parwana spends many years caring for her sister, guilty but unwilling to admit what she’s done. In the end, Saboor begins to court Parwana, and—partly with Masooma’s encouragement—Parwana marries Saboor, leaving her sister to fend for herself.

Parwana Quotes in And the Mountains Echoed

The And the Mountains Echoed quotes below are all either spoken by Parwana or refer to Parwana . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Interconnectedness Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Riverhead Books edition of And the Mountains Echoed published in 2014.
Chapter 2 Quotes

He wished he could love his new mother in the same way. And perhaps Parwana, he thought, secretly wished the same, that she could love him. The way she did Iqbal, her one-year-old son, whose face she always kissed, whose every cough and sneeze she fretted over. Or the way she had loved her first baby, Omar. She had adored him.

Related Characters: Abdullah , Parwana , Iqbal , Omar
Page Number: 22
Explanation and Analysis:

In the second chapter of the book, we meet Abdullah, the son of the man who narrated the story from the previous chapter. Abdullah's biological mother has died recently, and following her death, Abdullah's father has married a new woman, Parwana. Parwana simply doesn't offer Abdullah the same affection that she gives her biological children from another marriage--Iqbal and Omar (who died young).

The passage brings up one of the recurring themes of the book--the importance of family and blood ties. The strongest families in the novel are usually literal, biological families--when an adult tries to adopt another child, or when a couple remarries, it's hard for them to muster genuine love for their adopted kids. (Of course this isn't always the case in life.)

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Chapter 3 Quotes

All her life, Parwana had made sure to avoid standing in front of a mirror with her sister. It robbed her of hope to see her face beside Masooma’s, to see so plainly what she had been denied. But in public, every stranger’s eye was a mirror. There was no escape.

Related Characters: Parwana , Masooma
Page Number: 67
Explanation and Analysis:

In this chapter, Parwana (later the stepmother of Abdullah and Pari) competes with Masooma, her beautiful, popular sister. Parwana is constantly reminded that Masooma is more attractive than she: everyone in the community can tell the difference between them.

Strangely, any love Parwana feels for her sister is outweighed by Parwana's obsession with public image. Parwana and Masooma's relationship contrasts markedly with the close, loving relationship between Pari and Abdullah: it's inconceivable that Abdullah and Pari could compete with one another as Parwana competes with Masooma (in no small part because Abdullah and Pari are of different genders). Clearly, there's no guarantee that bonds of blood always mean love.

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Parwana Character Timeline in And the Mountains Echoed

The timeline below shows where the character Parwana appears in And the Mountains Echoed. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Time, Memory, Forgetting, and Art Theme Icon
Compassion and Selfishness Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Abdullah turns to thinking about his stepmother, Parwana. She is a kind, wise woman, but he can’t force himself to love her. Abdullah’s... (full context)
Interconnectedness Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...Father, Abdullah, and Pari are riding out to perform. Uncle Nabi is actually Abdullah’ step-uncle, Parwana’s elder brother. The job, which will take a month to complete, involves building an extension... (full context)
Chapter 3
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Time, Memory, Forgetting, and Art Theme Icon
Compassion and Selfishness Theme Icon
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As the chapter begins, Parwana sees “it” smeared down Masooma’s buttocks and thighs. Parwana “wants to howl,” but she forces... (full context)
Time, Memory, Forgetting, and Art Theme Icon
Compassion and Selfishness Theme Icon
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As Parwana goes about her usual business, she sometimes sees Saboor. Saboor, as Parwana sees him, is... (full context)
Interconnectedness Theme Icon
Time, Memory, Forgetting, and Art Theme Icon
Compassion and Selfishness Theme Icon
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When Parwana was born, she was a surprise. She and Masooma are twin sisters, but their mother... (full context)
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By the time Masooma and Parwana are 11 years old, Masooma has begun to attract attention from the local boys. One... (full context)
Interconnectedness Theme Icon
Time, Memory, Forgetting, and Art Theme Icon
Compassion and Selfishness Theme Icon
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Power and Wealth Theme Icon
...Masooma asks Nabi if he’s found a wife yet, and he laughs off the question. Parwana remembers a recent trip that she and Masooma made with Nabi. On the trip, Nabi... (full context)
Time, Memory, Forgetting, and Art Theme Icon
Compassion and Selfishness Theme Icon
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During Nabi’s visit, he tells Parwana that the rumors are true: Saboor is looking for a new wife, following the death... (full context)
Time, Memory, Forgetting, and Art Theme Icon
Compassion and Selfishness Theme Icon
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When Masooma and Parwana were 13 years old, they used to enjoy going to bazaars to run errands for... (full context)
Compassion and Selfishness Theme Icon
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In 1949, Parwana carries Masooma outside for some fresh air. She is careful to take perfect care of... (full context)
Time, Memory, Forgetting, and Art Theme Icon
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When Parwana and Masooma are 17 years old, they sit in the branch of a tall tree... (full context)
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Back in 1949, Parwana and Masooma are talking. Masooma tells her sister, “You have to do it now. If... (full context)
Time, Memory, Forgetting, and Art Theme Icon
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After staring into Masooma’s eyes for a long time, Parwana decides to leave her sister and marry Saboor. She walks away from her home, in... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...to make pleasant conversation, and praises a large rug in Saboor’s house. She also asks Parwana how far along she is: at the time, Parwana is pregnant with Iqbal. (full context)