The Breadwinner


Deborah Ellis

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The Breadwinner Characters


Parvana is the novel’s 11-year-old protagonist. She’s proud of being Afghan and adores Afghan history. She’s particularly fond of the historical figure Malali, who led Afghan troops to victory during the war with the… read analysis of Parvana


Nooria is Parvana’s 17-year-old sister. Nooria and Parvana’s relationship is strained because of their age difference and because Nooria seems, to Parvana, to be a fully-fledged adult—and a beautiful one at that. The girls… read analysis of Nooria


During the bombing in Kabul, Parvana’s father lost one of his legs and suffered internal damage that Parvana doesn’t entirely understand, so he is often tired. Because he sold his prosthesis, he relies on… read analysis of Father

Mrs. Weera

Mrs. Weera, an older woman, is a friend of Parvana’s family. A former gym teacher, Mrs. Weera is tall and athletic, and she insists that she’s not afraid of the Taliban because she could… read analysis of Mrs. Weera


Shauzia is an old school acquaintance of Parvana’s. She quickly becomes a close friend when Parvana discovers that Shauzia is working as a tea boy in the market, disguised as a boy named Shafiq… read analysis of Shauzia
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Parvana’s mother used to write for a local Kabul radio station, but since the Taliban took over, she hasn’t been able to work. Even though Father encourages her to work secretly and to get… read analysis of Mother

Homa / The Woman

Homa is a teenager a little younger than Nooria whom Parvana finds in a bombed-out building in the Kabul marketplace. When Parvana meets Homa, the girl is too afraid, exhausted, and hungry to speak, so… read analysis of Homa / The Woman

The Window Woman

The window woman is a mysterious woman who lives in an apartment right above where Parvana sits in the market. Parvana only sees the woman once and never learns her name, but they form a… read analysis of The Window Woman


Hossain is Parvana’s deceased older brother who died at age 14 when he stepped on a land mine. Parvana was still a toddler at the time, so she has no memory of him. He… read analysis of Hossain
Minor Characters
Maryam is Parvana’s five-year-old little sister. She’s a sweet and happy child, and she and Parvana have a good relationship.
Ali is Parvana’s toddler brother. The Taliban took over when he was only a few months old, so he’s never been outside.
Mrs. Weera’s Granddaughter
Mrs. Weera’s granddaughter is toddler about Ali’s age. She is the last surviving member of Mrs. Weera’s family.