The Breadwinner

by

Deborah Ellis

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Breadwinner can help.

Mrs. Weera Character Analysis

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 outrun the soldiers—and outfight them if necessary. In her youth she was a runner and earned medals for her speed, though she lost most of them in Kabul’s many bombings over the last decade. When Parvana runs into her in the market, Mrs. Weera and her toddler granddaughter are the last Weeras left. Mrs. Weera doesn’t let the Taliban’s oppressive rule make her sad or despondent, so she throws herself into getting Mother back up and feeling strong again. She’s a welcome presence in Parvana’s home, as she’s another adult who can relieve Nooria of some of her duties and inspires Mother to work on a magazine with her. Mrs. Weera is part of a secret women’s group and takes pride in being able to resist the Taliban in these underground, quiet ways. She’s also very respectful of Parvana and her budding maturity, making it clear that she wants Parvana to forge her own path, but that she’ll always be around if Parvana needs or wants support. Despite this seeming support for young girls’ independence, Mrs. Weera does take offense when she learns that Shauzia wants to run away from her family. As far as Mrs. Weera is concerned, people have a responsibility to care for their families, even when it’s hard or means making sacrifices. At the end of the novel, Mrs. Weera is prepared to take Homa with her to a refugee camp in Pakistan, where she plans to start a school and work on more resistance efforts with her women’s group.

Mrs. Weera Quotes in The Breadwinner

The The Breadwinner quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Weera or refer to Mrs. Weera. 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:
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Oxford University Press edition of The Breadwinner published in 2014.
Chapter 5 Quotes

“Mrs. Weera!” Nooria exclaimed. Relief washed over her face. Here was someone who could take charge, who could take some of the responsibility off of her shoulders.

Related Characters: Nooria (speaker), Mrs. Weera, Parvana, Mother
Page Number: 56-57
Explanation and Analysis:

She kept hauling water. Her arms were sore, and the blisters on her feet started to bleed again, but she didn’t think about that. She fetched water because her family needed it, because her father would have expected her to. Now that Mrs. Weera was there and her mother was up, things were going to get easier, and she would do her part.

Related Characters: Parvana, Mrs. Weera, Mother, Father
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

“You’re not cutting my hair!” Parvana’s hands flew up to her head.

“How else will you look like a boy?” Mother asked.

“Cut Nooria’s hair! She’s the oldest! It’s her responsibility to look after me, not my responsibility to look after her!”

“No one would believe me to be a boy,” Nooria said calmly, looking down at her body.

Related Characters: Parvana (speaker), Mother (speaker), Nooria (speaker), Mrs. Weera
Related Symbols: Hair
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:

“It has to be your decision,” Mrs. Weera said. “We can force you to cut off your hair, but you’re still the one who has to go outside and act the part. We know this is a big thing we’re asking, but I think you can do it. How about it?”

Parvana realized Mrs. Weera was right. They could hold her down and cut off her hair, but for anything more, they needed her cooperation. In the end, it really was her decision.

Somehow, knowing that made it easier to agree.

Related Characters: Mrs. Weera (speaker), Parvana, Mother, Nooria
Related Symbols: Hair
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

“I need a break,” she told her mother. “I don’t want to see anything ugly for a little while.”

Mother and Mrs. Weera had heard about the events at the stadium from other women’s group mothers. Some had husbands or brothers who had been there. “This goes on every Friday,” Mother said. “What century are we living in?”

Related Characters: Parvana (speaker), Mother (speaker), Mrs. Weera, Shauzia
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15 Quotes

“Shauzia has family here. Do you mean to say she would just leave her family? Desert the team just because the game is rough?”

Parvana said no more. In a way, Mrs. Weera was right. That was what Shauzia was doing. But Shauzia was also right. Didn’t she have a right to seek out a better life? Parvana couldn’t decide who was more right.

Related Characters: Mrs. Weera (speaker), Parvana, Shauzia
Page Number: 141
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Breadwinner LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Breadwinner PDF

Mrs. Weera Character Timeline in The Breadwinner

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Weera appears in The Breadwinner. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
...catches her arm and asks if she’s Parvana. The voice is familiar; Parvana realizes it’s Mrs. Weera . Mrs. Weera grouses that she keeps forgetting that her face is covered and then... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
Nooria takes the nan and asks why Parvana didn’t buy anything else, but Mrs. Weera throws off her burqa and tells Nooria that the Taliban chased Parvana out of the... (full context)
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
Mrs. Weera takes the first two buckets and washes Mother. Parvana ignores her bleeding, blistered feet, thinking... (full context)
Chapter 6
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
The next day, Mrs. Weera , Mother, and Nooria tell Parvana their plan: they’ll turn Parvana into a boy. Posing... (full context)
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
...now, the fact remains that Parvana is the only one who can play the part. Mrs. Weera says that this has to be Parvana’s decision. They can force her to cut her... (full context)
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
...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 in her boys’ clothes in... (full context)
Chapter 8
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
When Parvana gets home, Mrs. Weera is there and announces that she’s moving in this afternoon. Parvana wants to return to... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
In her basement apartment, Mrs. Weera explains that she and her granddaughter are the last of the Weeras. Everyone else died... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
Mrs. Weera warns Parvana to be careful, since Maryam’s feet will be tender. Before Mother can object,... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
...suggests that she could escort Mother and Nooria so they can get fresh air, too. Mrs. Weera insists this is a grand idea, but Nooria snaps that she doesn’t want Parvana to... (full context)
Chapter 9
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
...though they’ve never met before. Mother assures Shauzia that she can visit any time, and Mrs. Weera wants to know if Shauzia has been keeping up with her studies. Unfortunately, the relatives... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Gender Relations Theme Icon
...like to visit Shauzia’s mother to get her story for her magazine. When Parvana asks, Mrs. Weera says that they’re going to smuggle their stories to Pakistan, print the magazine there, and... (full context)
Chapter 11
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
...She tells them everything. Mother is disgusted that Afghanistan has come to this point, but Mrs. Weera notes that she’s heard of people using bones for chicken feed, soap, buttons, and cooking... (full context)
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
...the lamps. Mother snaps that she’s glad Father isn’t here to witness this disrespect, but Mrs. Weera points out that Father isn’t here—and people have to do “unusual things” to get by... (full context)
Chapter 12
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
...tells Mother that she doesn’t want to see anything ugly for a while. Mother and Mrs. Weera already know about what goes on at the stadium on Fridays from other people in... (full context)
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Mother and Mrs. Weera start their school and are very careful to avoid the Taliban. Nooria teaches five girls... (full context)
Chapter 13
Gender Relations Theme Icon
...The letter detailing all of this was passed from woman to woman through Mother and Mrs. Weera ’s women’s group, but Parvana is still skeptical. Nooria notes that she hates living under... (full context)
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
...Nooria with her husband. Parvana insists that they have to be home for Father, but Mrs. Weera assures Parvana that she’ll stay and look after Father if he comes home. Unconvinced, Parvana... (full context)
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
...food for her family’s journey and buys a fancy pen as a gift for Nooria. Mrs. Weera soothes Mother and assures her that she and Parvana will be fine in Kabul—and by... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
...and more free time. Parvana begins taking Father’s secret books out so she can read. Mrs. Weera believes it’s important to trust Parvana and give her agency. She points out that in... (full context)
Chapter 14
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
...arm. The woman doesn’t let go, even when Parvana says she must go home so Mrs. Weera doesn’t worry. Finally, Parvana offers the woman a snack and sits down to think. (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Mrs. Weera hugs Parvana and the woman. Parvana quickly explains the situation and Mrs. Weera takes the... (full context)
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
Mrs. Weera assures Parvana that Mother and Nooria are safe, but Parvana feels hopeless. She crawls onto... (full context)
Chapter 15
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
Father is barely recognizable, but he’s still Father. Parvana clings to him tightly. Mrs. Weera helps Father lie down and the two men who helped Father say that they found... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
A few days later, a woman from the women’s group visits Mrs. Weera with news that many people have fled Mazar and are living in refugee camps. Father... (full context)
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
Mrs. Weera , meanwhile, makes plans to go to Pakistan with Homa. She has a cousin in... (full context)
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
...she chooses to travel as a boy or a girl, she’s still his “little Malali.” Mrs. Weera shows Parvana Mother’s magazine and asks Parvana to tell Mother that copies are headed all... (full context)