Brick Lane

by

Monica Ali

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Rupban Character Analysis

Mother to Nazneen and Hasina and wife to Hamid, Rupban believes she was born to suffer. Famous in the village of Gouripur for the time she spends weeping, Rupban is, in the words of her philandering husband, “a saint.” Religious, superstitious, and plagued by Hamid’s countless affairs, Rupban dies when she falls on a spear while wearing her best sari. Rupban’s sister-in-law, Mumtaz, tells Nazneen and Hasina the death is an accident, but Hasina knows the truth: their “saintly” mother actually committed suicide.

Rupban Quotes in Brick Lane

The Brick Lane quotes below are all either spoken by Rupban or refer to Rupban. 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 4 Quotes

Nazneen listened, breathing quietly and hoping that if they forgot about her they might reveal the source of their woes. It was something to do with being a woman, of that much she was sure. When she was a woman she would find out. She looked forward to that day. She longed to be enriched by this hardship, to cast off her childish baggy pants and long shirt and begin to wear this suffering that was as rich and layered and deeply colored as the saris that enfolded Amma's troubled bones.

Related Characters: Nazneen (speaker), Rupban, Auntie
Related Symbols: Clothes and Textiles
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 1 Quotes

“No,” she said, “we must not stand in the way of Fate. Whatever happens, I accept it. And my child must not waste any energy fighting against Fate. That way, she will be stronger.”

Related Characters: Rupban (speaker), Nazneen, Mumtaz, Banesa
Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:

“A girl,” said Rupban.

“I know. Never mind,” said Hamid. “What can you do?” And he went away again.

Related Characters: Rupban (speaker), Hamid (speaker), Nazneen
Page Number: 4
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Brick Lane LitChart as a printable PDF.
Brick Lane PDF

Rupban Character Timeline in Brick Lane

The timeline below shows where the character Rupban 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
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
...protest her near confinement. She accepts her fate and waits for time to pass. Like Rupban, she adopts an air of saintly patience, and while she waits, she thinks of how... (full context)
Chapter 3
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
...decomposed body is brought up and laid on the ground, missing flesh and one arm. Rupban spends the day crying and Hamid, having declared her a saint, leaves the village and... (full context)
Chapter 4
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
...truth, she did weep on her wedding day—the weeping came naturally to her. After all, Rupban was a champion weeper. The summer when Nazneen turned ten, Auntie, Rupban’s sister, came to... (full context)
Chapter 6
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
...should live and God who gave health to Raqib. But then she becomes furious with Rupban. If Nazneen had trusted Raqib’s health to fate, he would have died. How could Rupban... (full context)
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
...she understands why Hamid would leave for days on end. He needed to be spared Rupban’s misguided saintliness. (full context)
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
This realization brings to mind the days just after Rupban’s death, when Mumtaz asked Nazneen to help her wash her mother’s dead body. Mumtaz wonders... (full context)
Chapter 7
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
...she was born to suffer. Hasina feels for her, but sometimes Renu reminds her of Rupban and at those times Hasina can’t be near her. Hasina signs off by saying she... (full context)
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
Hasina writes again in August, telling Nazneen that she, too, thinks of Rupban sometimes but she does not dream of her like her sister does. She wonders why,... (full context)
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
It is now September, and Hasina writes to ask Nazneen to burn her last letter. Rupban would never have threatened to kill herself—that would have been blasphemy. It is another hartal,... (full context)
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
...it. They also ate her chickens, which had stopped laying eggs. Hasina thinks often of Rupban and Mumtaz and life in Gouripur. She thinks of the second wife Hamid brought home... (full context)
Chapter 10
Displacement and Dissociation Theme Icon
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
Assimilation and Immigrant Life Theme Icon
...only comes back in dreams. One night she dreams of Mumtaz and her mynah bird. Rupban tells Mumtaz she is foolish to waste her affection on a bird that will someday... (full context)
Chapter 14
Displacement and Dissociation Theme Icon
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
...and how God will judge her. She vomits on the newly clean clothes and then Rupban appears in the corner, wailing and blowing her nose on her sari. She tells Nazneen... (full context)
Chapter 17
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
...Mumtaz for advice and Mumtaz obliged them, asking the jinni and often speaking in tongues. Rupban was the only skeptic. She thought Mumtaz’s jinni act was a complete fraud. (full context)
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
...jinni tale she had never told them. When Nazneen was eight or nine years old, Rupban became possessed by an evil jinni. The jinni made her sharpen sticks and try to... (full context)
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
...man called on a volunteer from the crowd to help with the exorcism. One of Rupban’s servant boys raised his hand. He was a moody boy who kept a mongoose on... (full context)
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
Rupban eventually got better, and even though Nazneen overheard the servant boy bragging that he’d humiliated... (full context)
Chapter 18
Displacement and Dissociation Theme Icon
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
Nazneen dreams of being home in Gouripur with Rupban, who is braiding her hair and telling her stories about how when Nazneen was an... (full context)
Chapter 19
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
...satisfied. Nothing that she sees or touches or cares for is hers. She knows what Rupban would say— we are women, what can we do? But, Hasina writes, Rupban was wrong... (full context)
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
...to say that she has a horrible secret she must confess. She was there when Rupban fell upon the spear, and it was not an accident. On that day, Hasina had... (full context)
Chapter 1
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
Rupban, seven months pregnant with her daughter, Nazneen, goes into labor while plucking a chicken to... (full context)
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
...weak. Banesa says that God has called the girl back to earth. She then informs Rupban that she has a choice to make: she can either take her daughter to the... (full context)
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
Hamid returns to inspect his child, who lies sleeping on the bedroll. Rupban gives him the bad news: the baby is a girl. Hamid shrugs and leaves again.... (full context)
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
Meanwhile, the entire village comes to visit the baby. Banesa suggests that Rupban try finding a goat for Nazneen to suckle. Rupban waits, helpless, wishing fate would make... (full context)
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
...Nazneen has been told that fighting against one’s fate can be deadly, so she accepts Rupban’s wisdom and life philosophy, which insists on trusting completely in God’s will. Rupban, Hamid tells... (full context)
Cultural and Religious Sexism Theme Icon
Luck, Class, and Fate Theme Icon
Hasina, Rubpan and Hamid’s second child, is born three days after Banesa’s death. She is beautiful and... (full context)