Brick Lane

by

Monica Ali

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Razia Iqbal Character Analysis

With her mannish hands and long, bony limbs, Razia, Nazneen’s closest friend in London, looks out of place in a sari. She is much more at home in her Union Jack sweatshirt. Razia is a talented mimic with a wicked sense of humor but is kind at heart. Mother to Tariq and Shefali, she goes to school to learn English so that, if her children tell dirty jokes behind her back, she can spank them. When her abusive husband dies, she supports her children as a freelance seamstress. Later, she helps Tariq kick his heroin addiction and builds a successful sewing business for herself and Nazneen.

Razia Iqbal Quotes in Brick Lane

The Brick Lane quotes below are all either spoken by Razia Iqbal or refer to Razia Iqbal. 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:
Displacement and Dissociation Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribner edition of Brick Lane published in 2003.
Chapter 21 Quotes

Jorina said, “But that is our problem—making lives for our children. They want to make them for themselves.”

“Yes,” said Razia. “They will do that. Even if it kills them.”

Related Characters: Razia Iqbal (speaker), Jorina (speaker), Tariq
Page Number: 406
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 1 Quotes

“Mixing with all sorts: Turkish, English, Jewish. All sorts. I am not old-fashioned,” said Mrs. Islam. “I don't wear burkha. I keep purdah in my mind, which is the most important thing. Plus, I have cardigans and anoraks and a scarf for my head. But if you mix with all these people, even if they are good people, you have to give up your culture to accept theirs. That’s how it is.”

Related Characters: Mrs. Islam (speaker), Nazneen, Razia Iqbal, Jorina
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Brick Lane LitChart as a printable PDF.
Brick Lane PDF

Razia Iqbal Character Timeline in Brick Lane

The timeline below shows where the character Razia Iqbal appears in Brick Lane. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Displacement and Dissociation Theme Icon
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
When Razia moves to a different block of the Tower Hamlets, Nazneen has more reason to leave... (full context)
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
Razia’s irreverent sense of humor and talent for mimicry takes Nazneen’s mind off her sister. Together,... (full context)
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
Nazneen looks around Razia’s apartment, taking note of the clutter but seeing that Razia has arranged things so that... (full context)
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
Nazneen tells Razia that her sister made a love marriage. Nazneen then recounts her sister’s story, beginning with... (full context)
Displacement and Dissociation Theme Icon
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Nazneen depends on regular prayer, housework, and visits with Razia to remain content in her marriage and life in London. She tells her heart not... (full context)
Chapter 3
Displacement and Dissociation Theme Icon
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
...one knows them or cares about their suffering. Maybe she should go to a store. Razia has told her to stick to the English stores where no one will give her... (full context)
...if this is how she knows everyone’s deepest, darkest secrets, although she supposes it was Razia who told her about Nazneen’s troubles with Chanu and Hasina, and the thought amuses her. (full context)
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Razia knocks on the door, interrupting Nazneen at prayer. She has medicine she says will help... (full context)
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
...furniture in her apartment. She grows and so do the chairs and stools, it seems. Razia begins to gossip to Nazneen about other women on the estate, including one who recently... (full context)
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
Razia asks Nazneen about Chanu’s prospects for promotion, and Nazneen tells her that Chanu thinks he... (full context)
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
Nazneen is shocked and asks Razia if her husband will be angry with her. To Nazneen, Razia’s husband, a large man... (full context)
Displacement and Dissociation Theme Icon
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
Nazneen mentions to Chanu that Razia is learning English, and she asks him if she might be able to start taking... (full context)
Chapter 4
Displacement and Dissociation Theme Icon
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
...her own self, but Chanu remains in the room, talking endlessly about his disapproval of Razia. He is not yet forbidding Nazneen to see her, but he would like her to... (full context)
Displacement and Dissociation Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
...the windows that gleamed at first but are now dull like everything else. She sees Razia’s children playing behind a shade and the tattoo woman at her table, drinking. Nazneen wonders... (full context)
Displacement and Dissociation Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
Nazneen pays a visit to Razia, who is, as usual, out of temper with her children. Tariq, who has grown silent... (full context)
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
Razia sends both kids outside and begins to tell Nazneen about her husband’s frustrating approach to... (full context)
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Razia could not care less what the community says, especially since “the community” usually means Mrs.... (full context)
Chapter 6
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
...and Raqib in the hospital. Jorina comes, too. All three women mean well, but it’s Razia who really comforts Nazneen. After Nazneen has asked the medical machines to look after her... (full context)
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
Razia wants very much to work, but her husband has said he will slit her throat... (full context)
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Razia’s husband’s coworker is always giving them things they don’t need, usually cans of paint. Razia... (full context)
Displacement and Dissociation Theme Icon
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Razia takes advantage of their time alone to tell Nazneen something she has learned about Mrs.... (full context)
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
Nazneen wakes to the beep and glow of the hospital machines. Razia is there, biting her knuckles. Her hair is in disarray and she looks deeply disturbed.... (full context)
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
...occurs to her that by willing her son back to health she might have doomed Razia’s husband. Death needed another target and took him. A jinni, or ghost, dances before her... (full context)
Chapter 8
Displacement and Dissociation Theme Icon
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
...herself busy, tidying and straightening. She would have liked to begin sewing from home like Razia as a way to make a little money, but Chanu disapproves and she lets the... (full context)
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
Razia has come to visit. She complains of arthritis in her hands and aches in her... (full context)
Chapter 11
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
Nazneen finishes reading Hasina’s letter and puts it away. Razia, dressed in a Union Jack sweatshirt despite the hot weather, has come to visit. Neighbors... (full context)
Chapter 14
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
Nazneen and Razia are out shopping. Razia is looking for cloth for Shefali, who just finished her exams... (full context)
Displacement and Dissociation Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
In the store with Razia, Nazneen finds herself wanting to tell her friend all her secrets. She tells her only... (full context)
Chapter 15
Displacement and Dissociation Theme Icon
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
...hovers around Nazneen, fussing and telling her not to overdo it. He tells her that Razia came to see her during her illness, which Chanu is calling “nervous prostration.” Nazneen does... (full context)
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
Nazneen returns home from her visit with Hanufa to find Razia standing in front of her apartment, looking tortured and frazzled. When Nazneen asks her what... (full context)
Chapter 16
Displacement and Dissociation Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
Nazneen is with Razia and Shefali in their apartment. The place is bare, stripped clean except for a couple... (full context)
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
Razia and Nazneen are in Dr. Azad’s office. Razia wants his help getting Tariq off drugs.... (full context)
Displacement and Dissociation Theme Icon
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
...that everything she has saved for Hasina is now going to Mrs. Islam. One day, Razia visits. Tariq has not stopped using drugs. Razia mentions that she saw Karim on the... (full context)
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
...start to experience a backlash from September 11. Girls have their head scarves pulled off. Razia is spit on. Chanu gathers his family into the living room and tells them the... (full context)
Chapter 17
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
...outside a grocery store, listening to people gossip. Nazma seems intent, especially in front of Razia, on blaming the boy’s death on drugs. It’s too bad that so many young men... (full context)
Displacement and Dissociation Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
Nazneen and Razia are walking home from the grocery store, and they see a funeral procession pass by.... (full context)
Chapter 18
Displacement and Dissociation Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
Later Nazneen is in Razia’s apartment, visiting with her friend. She has three days before she is supposed to get... (full context)
Displacement and Dissociation Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
Nazneen and Razia move to her kitchen. Razia asks Nazneen about Karim. Nazneen tells her that being with... (full context)
Chapter 20
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
...around the estate and runs into Dr. Azad, who has just been to see Tariq. Razia’s son is coming along well in his fight against addiction. Nazneen begins to wonder why... (full context)
Chapter 21
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
It is March 2002 now, and Razia has built a small sewing business for herself and Nazneen. Razia approached the Brick Lane... (full context)
Displacement and Dissociation Theme Icon
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
...is doing some shopping before going home. She thinks about how grateful she is for Razia. Karim has disappeared, and she has work only thanks to her friend. She sees men... (full context)
Displacement and Dissociation Theme Icon
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
Nazneen is back home. She thinks about what she will do with the money Razia pays her the next day. She will put it in the bank and then she... (full context)
Displacement and Dissociation Theme Icon
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
Razia and the girls are taking Nazneen somewhere as a surprise. On the bus, Nazneen tries... (full context)
Chapter 1
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
Nazneen goes to answer a knock at the door. Mrs. Islam and Razia Iqbal are there, gossiping about a man whose wife has just committed suicide by throwing... (full context)
Displacement and Dissociation Theme Icon
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Nazneen cannot imagine Jorina’s predicament. She serves more tea, asking Razia about her children and Mrs. Islam about her arthritic hip, nervous about having the necessary... (full context)