The Breadwinner

by

Deborah Ellis

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Hossain Character Analysis

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 and Nooria were close, though, and Nooria shares that Hossain adored baby Parvana. In the novel’s present, Mother and Father are still grieving his death and so still hold onto his belongings, almost a decade after his death. Mother has a hard time when Parvana has to wear Hossain’s old shalwar kameez to pass as a boy.
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Hossain Character Timeline in The Breadwinner

The timeline below shows where the character Hossain appears in The Breadwinner. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
Parvana’s anger disappears when Mother puts the parcel of Hossain’s clothes away in the cupboard. Hossain used to be the oldest child, but a land... (full context)
Chapter 6
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
...and her relatives are scattered. Mother’s voice catches as she says that Parvana will wear Hossain’s clothes. Parvana says this won’t work since she has long hair, but Nooria pulls out... (full context)
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
...it easier. Nooria announces that she’ll cut Parvana’s hair, but Mother takes the scissors and Hossain’s clothes and leads Parvana into the washroom. Parvana watches in the mirror as Mother cuts... (full context)
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
...Parvana rubs her hands over her head and decides she likes it. She pulls on Hossain’s pale green shalwar kameez. Though the trousers are too long, if she rolls them up... (full context)
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
...she has laundry to catch up on. She explains that Mother is sad after seeing Hossain’s clothes and because Mrs. Weera went home. When Parvana finishes, Nooria suggests that Parvana stay... (full context)