Shafana and Aunt Sarrinah


Alana Valentine

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Themes and Colors
Religious Faith and Devotion Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Presentation Theme Icon
Migration and Assimilation Theme Icon
Judgment and Prejudice  Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Shafana and Aunt Sarrinah, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Religious Faith and Devotion

Shafana & Aunt Sarrinah is a play about the different ways people conceive of their own religious faith. Both Shafana and Aunt Sarrinah are Muslim women, but they have very different ideas about what this identity means. For Aunt Sarrinah, Islam is a “fundamental” part of who she is, but it doesn’t inform every aspect of her life. Shafana, on the other hand, embraces a more all-encompassing form of religious devotion, as evidenced by the…

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Identity and Self-Presentation

One of the central issues at stake in Shafana & Aunt Sarrinah is the relationship between identity and self-presentation. Aunt Sarrinah worries about Shafana’s decision to wear a hijab because of the message she fears it will send to other people. Aunt Sarrinah is afraid that ignorant people who are prejudiced against Muslims will see her niece not as an individual human being, but as a representative of the entire Islamic faith—which unfortunately includes…

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Migration and Assimilation

Shafana & Aunt Sarrinah investigates what it’s like to migrate to a new country, spotlighting the many complexities of assimilating into a new culture. Both Aunt Sarrinah and Shafana fled Afghanistan during the Afghan Civil War, but they’ve had different experiences assimilating into Australian culture. Shafana was young at the time, so she quickly learned English and fit in rather easily. Aunt Sarrinah, on the other hand, had a thick accent, struggled to learn English…

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Judgment and Prejudice

Shafana & Aunt Sarrinah acknowledges the prejudices many Muslims face in Western societies. More specifically, the play looks at what it’s like for Muslim women to move through the world with the constant awareness that everyone around them is somehow judging or assessing them. Aunt Sarrinah has dealt with this ever since migrating to Australia, where she has always felt it necessary to keep relatively quiet about her religious beliefs. In fact, in the wake…

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