The Breadwinner

by

Deborah Ellis

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Parvana Character Analysis

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 British. Thinking of Malali often reminds Parvana to be brave. In many ways, Parvana is still a child, even though she has a lot of responsibility. Since she’s a young girl and not yet a woman, she can still go to the market to help Father walk (he lost a leg in a bombing and has since sold his prothesis). It’s also Parvana’s sole responsibility to carry water for the family, as she’s the only one in the family who can go to the tap alone without attracting unwanted attention from the Taliban. At times, Parvana resents this, but she also cares deeply for her family, so sometimes she’s proud. When the Taliban arrest Father, Parvana must draw on all of these qualities to survive in the difficult situation she finds herself in. She accepts Mother and Mrs. Weera’s plan to cut her hair and make her look like a boy so she can go out and earn money for the family and buy them food. She accepts grudgingly at first, but she soon discovers that life as a boy gives her a sense of invisibility that she craved as a girl. It also gives her more agency, as she spends her days alone in the market and has to make choices for herself. Best of all, while working in the market, Parvana stumbles upon an old school friend, Shauzia, who is able to provide Parvana support and camaraderie, as she’s also masquerading as a boy to feed her family. As Parvana grows up over the course of the novel, her childish bickering with her older sister, Nooria, gradually stops, and Parvana becomes more confident and secure in her own choices. However, she never stops being a child and regularly stumbles into situations that betray her youth and her emotional immaturity, as when she and Shauzia find themselves in a stadium where the Taliban cut off prisoners’ hands. However, by the end of the novel, Parvana stands firm in her belief that it’s her duty to care for her family to the best of her ability, no matter what that entails.

Parvana Quotes in The Breadwinner

The The Breadwinner quotes below are all either spoken by Parvana or refer to Parvana. 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 1 Quotes

History was her favorite subject, especially Afghan history. Everybody had come to Afghanistan. The Persians came four thousand years ago. Alexander the Great came too, followed by the Greeks, Arabs, Turks, British, and finally the Soviets. One of the conquerors, Tamerlane from Samarkand, cut off the heads of his enemies and stacked them in huge piles, like melons at a fruit stand. All these people had come to Parvana’s beautiful country to try to take it over, and the Afghans had kicked them all out again!

Related Characters: Parvana, Father
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:

There were a lot of false legs for sale in the market now. Since the Taliban decreed that women must stay inside, many husbands took their wives’ false legs away. “You’re not going anywhere, so why do you need a leg?” they asked.

Related Characters: Parvana, Father
Page Number: 22
Explanation and Analysis:

For most of Parvana’s life, the city had been in ruins, and it was hard for her to imagine it another way. It hurt her to hear stories of old Kabul before the bombing. She didn’t want to think about everything the bombs had taken away, including her father’s health and their beautiful home. It made her angry, and since she could do nothing with her anger, it made her sad.

Related Characters: Parvana, Father
Page Number: 22-23
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

Parvana knew she had to fetch the water because there was nobody else in the family who could do it. Sometimes this made her resentful. Sometimes it made her proud. One thing she knew—it didn’t matter how she felt. Good mood or bad, the water had to be fetched, and she had to fetch it.

Related Characters: Parvana, Mother, Nooria, Maryam
Page Number: 26
Explanation and Analysis:

Other people lived in the part of the building that was still standing. Parvana saw them as she went to fetch water or went out with her father to the marketplace. “We must keep our distance,” Father told her. “The Taliban encourage neighbor to spy on neighbor. It is safer to keep to ourselves.”

Related Characters: Father (speaker), Parvana, Mother, Nooria, Maryam
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:

“How can we be brave?” Nooria asked. “We can’t even go outside. How can we lead men into battle? I’ve seen enough war. I don’t want to see any more.”

“There are many types of battles,” Father said quietly.

Related Characters: Nooria (speaker), Father (speaker), Parvana
Related Symbols: Malali
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

“You are a writer. You must do your work.”

“If we had left Afghanistan when we had the chance, I could be doing my work!”

“We are Afghans. This is our home. If all the educated people leave, who will rebuild the country?”

Related Characters: Father (speaker), Mother (speaker), Parvana
Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:

Nooria looked terrified. If Parvana didn’t obey her, she would have to go for food herself.

Now I’ve got her, Parvana thought. I can make her as miserable as she makes me. But she was surprised to find that this thought gave her no pleasure. Maybe she was too tired and too hungry. Instead of turning her back, she took the money from her sister’s hand.

Related Characters: Parvana, Nooria, Mother
Page Number: 52
Explanation and Analysis:
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:

When she had gone into the market with her father, she had kept silent and covered up her face as much as possible. She had tried her best to be invisible. Now, with her face open to the sunshine, she was invisible in another way. She was just one more boy on the street. She was nothing worth paying attention to.

Related Characters: Parvana, Father
Related Symbols: Hair
Page Number: 67
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

Parvana took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Up until then, she had seen Talibs only as men who beat women and arrested her father. Could they have feelings of sorrow, like other human beings?

Parvana found it all very confusing. [...] All day long, though, her thoughts kept floating back to the Talib who missed his wife.

Related Characters: Parvana, Father
Page Number: 74
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

“Do you think they’d mind us doing this?” Parvana asked.

“Who?”

“The people who are buried here. Do you think they’d mind us digging them up?”

Shauzia leaned on her board. “Depends on the type of people they were. If they were nasty, stingy people, they wouldn’t like it. If they were kind and generous people, they wouldn’t mind.”

“Would you mind?”

Shauzia looked at her, opened her mouth to speak, then closed it again and returned to her digging. Parvana didn’t ask her again.

Related Characters: Parvana (speaker), Shauzia (speaker)
Page Number: 96-97
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

“No,” Parvana told her mother.

“I beg your pardon?”

“I don’t want to quit yet. Shauzia and I want to buy trays, and things to sell from the trays. I can follow the crowd that way, instead of waiting for the crowd to come to me. I can make more money.”

“We are managing fine on what you earn reading letters.”

“No, Mother, we’re not,” Nooria said.

Mother spun around to scold Nooria for talking back, but Nooria kept talking.

Related Characters: Parvana (speaker), Mother (speaker), Nooria (speaker), Shauzia
Page Number: 103-104
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:

“Do you think we’ll still have to be boys in the spring? That’s a long time from now.”

“I want to still be a boy then,” Shauzia insisted. “If I turn back into a girl, I’ll be stuck at home. I couldn’t stand that.”

“Where will you go?”

“France. I’ll get on a boat and go to France.”

Related Characters: Parvana (speaker), Shauzia (speaker)
Page Number: 111
Explanation and Analysis:

Parvana remembered arguments between her father and mother—her mother insisting they leave Afghanistan, her father insisting they stay. For the first time, Parvana wondered why her mother didn’t just leave. In an instant, she answered her own question. She couldn’t sneak away with four children to take care of.

Related Characters: Parvana, Shauzia, Mother, Father
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:

Parvana was tired. She wanted to sit in a classroom and be bored by a geography lesson. She wanted to be with her friends and talk about homework and games and what to do on school holidays. She didn’t want to know any more about death or blood or pain.

Related Characters: Parvana
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:

The little gifts from the window kept landing on Parvana’s blanket every couple of weeks. Sometimes it was a piece of embroidery. Sometimes it was a piece of candy or a single bead.

It was as if the Window Woman was saying, “I’m still here,” in the only way she could.

Related Characters: Parvana, The Window Woman
Page Number: 117
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

“Do you really want to do this?”

Nooria nodded. “Look at my life here, Parvana. I hate living under the Taliban. I’m tired of looking after the little ones. My school classes happen so seldom, they’re of almost no value. There’s no future for me here. At least in Mazar I can go to school, walk the streets without having to wear a burqa, and get a job when I’ve completed school. Maybe in Mazar I can have some kind of life. Yes, I want to do this.”

Related Characters: Parvana (speaker), Nooria (speaker), Shauzia
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14 Quotes

“I don’t like working alone. The marketplace isn’t the same when you’re not there. Won’t you come back?”

Put to her like that, Parvana knew she could not refuse. [...] Part of her wanted to slip away from everything, but another part wanted to get up and stay alive and continue to be Shauzia’s friend. With a little prodding from Shauzia, that was the part that won.

Related Characters: Shauzia (speaker), Parvana, Mother, Nooria, Homa / The Woman
Page Number: 135
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:

“Do none of you appreciate nature? This boy has undertaken to bring a bit of beauty into our gray marketplace, and do you thank him? Do you help him?” An old man pushed his way to the front of the little gathering. With difficulty, he knelt down to help Parvana plant the flowers. “Afghans love beautiful things,” he said, “but we have seen so much ugliness, we sometimes forget how wonderful a thing like a flower is.”

Related Characters: Parvana, The Window Woman
Page Number: 141
Explanation and Analysis:
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Parvana Character Timeline in The Breadwinner

The timeline below shows where the character Parvana appears in The Breadwinner. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Under her breath, Parvana whispers that she can read the letter almost as well as Father can. She says... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Gender Relations Theme Icon
The customer asks Father to read his letter one more time. Parvana muses that she’d love to receive a letter. There’s mail service in Afghanistan again, but... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
In the market, men shop and vendors sell their wares and services. Parvana pays special attention to the tea shop. It employs boys to run through the marketplace... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
When the Taliban first took Kabul, they shut down the schools. Parvana wasn’t sad then, because she didn’t want to take a math test she hadn’t prepared... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
...has been in wars for over 20 years. The Soviets came first to drop bombs. Parvana was born a month before the Soviets withdrew; according to Nooria, they couldn’t stand to... (full context)
Gender Relations Theme Icon
When Father suggests they end their day, Parvana gathers up the small household items and ornaments they’re trying to sell. Mother and Nooria... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
Parvana and Father wander through Kabul. Many buildings have been bombed, though the city was once... (full context)
Chapter 2
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
Mother and Nooria are immersed in cleaning projects. Parvana begins to take off her chador, but Nooria and Mother tell her to fetch water... (full context)
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
When Parvana is done, she joins Maryam on the floor and compliments Maryam’s drawing. Mother and Nooria... (full context)
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
Mother and Nooria begin to put things back in the cupboard, and Mother hands Parvana new items to sell. Parvana is enraged that Mother is selling Parvana’s good shalwar kameez,... (full context)
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... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Parvana makes a face that causes the whole family to laugh. Suddenly, four Taliban soldiers burst... (full context)
Chapter 3
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
...Ali and Maryam fall asleep, Mother settles them on the floor. Quietly, Mother, Nooria, and Parvana clean up and lie down to sleep. Parvana can’t sleep. To her, every noise is... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Parvana stays awake all night, staring at the one small window. It’s high on the wall,... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Parvana wraps her chador around her head and follows Mother outside. She helps Mother down the... (full context)
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Finally, after a long walk, Mother and Parvana reach Pul-i-Charkhi Prison. It’s a scary place. Parvana reminds herself that Malali wouldn’t be afraid... (full context)
Chapter 4
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Parvana and Mother get home late. Parvana is exhausted and in excruciating pain. When she takes... (full context)
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
Nooria offers to help Parvana to the washroom. Parvana accepts when she discovers how much her feet hurt. Parvana comments... (full context)
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
On the third day, Parvana considers doing housework, but she doesn’t want to disturb Mother. She and Nooria discuss that... (full context)
Chapter 5
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
...but if women shop, they’re supposed to stand outside and yell for what they need. Parvana isn’t sure if she’s considered a woman or not. If she stands outside, she might... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Parvana holds the nan to her chest and runs as fast as she can. She runs... (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... (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 that she has to help her family. She believes... (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 as their male cousin from Jalalabad,... (full context)
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
Parvana snaps that she’ll be curvy soon, but Mother heads off the fight by saying they’ll... (full context)
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
Mother continues to cut. Parvana starts to feel like a different person as her forehead gets bigger and her ears... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
Mother hands Parvana a white cap with beautiful embroidery, gives Parvana money and a scarf, and then sends... (full context)
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
Parvana boldly purchases tea and rice from a grocer who’s grumpy, but not because Parvana is... (full context)
Chapter 7
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
After breakfast the next morning, Mother sends Parvana back to the market with Father’s writing things. Parvana is excited; if she can make... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
No one stops for the first hour. Men walk by and look at Parvana, and she fears someone will realize she’s a girl. When someone finally stops, Parvana trembles... (full context)
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
The soldier is silent. Parvana asks if she should read the letter again, but the soldier shakes his head and... (full context)
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
...a man stops and asks the price for the red shalwar kameez. Mother didn’t tell Parvana what to ask, but Parvana remembers how Mother used to argue with vendors to get... (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... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
...granddaughter are the last of the Weeras. Everyone else died from bombs, war, or pneumonia. Parvana helps Mrs. Weera load her few items onto a loaned cart. Mrs. Weera shows Parvana... (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, Maryam and... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
A week after she begins working, Parvana suggests that she could escort Mother and Nooria so they can get fresh air, too.... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
Parvana makes less money than Father did, but she’s able to feed the family. The younger... (full context)
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Another afternoon, Parvana stands up to pack up and notices a small square of embroidered wool. She looks... (full context)
Chapter 9
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
Parvana whispers and confirms that the girl is Shauzia. Shauzia says her name now is Shafiq... (full context)
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
...she’d like to sell things off a tray instead of carry tea; it’s more lucrative. Parvana is intrigued, since her family seldom has money for kerosene and thus spends evenings in... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Gender Relations Theme Icon
...says she’d 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... (full context)
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
Parvana and Shauzia see each other nearly every day in the market. Parvana always waits for... (full context)
Chapter 10
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
Parvana doesn’t tell Mother that Shauzia wants to go dig up bones. The next day at... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
...they’re here to make money and pulls out the bone sticking out of the ground. Parvana digs with a bit of board and starts pulling bones out too. She wonders aloud... (full context)
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
A minute later, Parvana digs up the skull and proudly holds it out to Shauzia. Shauzia and Parvana name... (full context)
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
Parvana nervously peers in the doorway and wonders if a land mine destroyed the building. She... (full context)
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
A few hours later, the cloud cover clears and sunlight illuminates the graveyard. Parvana nudges Shauzia and they look out over the scene of dirty boys digging up gleaming... (full context)
Chapter 11
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
Mother rushes to Parvana as soon as Parvana gets home. She’s very concerned. Suddenly, Parvana feels overwhelmed by her... (full context)
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
Surprisingly, Nooria backs Parvana up. She points out that they can afford nan, rice, and tea, but they can’t... (full context)
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
Parvana spends her first morning back in the market writing letters. The Window Woman drops a... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
One Friday afternoon, Shauzia points to a crowd of people entering a sports stadium. Parvana is elated; they can make a fortune selling to people who will want to smoke... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
...raises a sword and cuts off the prisoner’s arm. Shauzia and the prisoner both scream. Parvana puts a hand over Shauzia’s mouth and drags her to the floor. A kind voice... (full context)
Chapter 12
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
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For the next few days, Parvana stays home from the market. She takes Nooria and the little ones outside, but she... (full context)
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
Shauzia is happy to see Parvana again and wishes she could get a few quiet days for herself—her grandparents don’t like... (full context)
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
Parvana can’t imagine going on a journey like this alone, but Shauzia insists that no one... (full context)
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Parvana laments that they can’t be normal kids anymore. She wants to go to school and... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
As summer arrives, Parvana spends her days running through the market with Shauzia, selling dried fruit and nuts alongside... (full context)
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
...and such limited supplies. Every few weeks, another gift from the Window Woman lands on Parvana’s blanket. It’s like she’s telling Parvana that she’s there in the only way she can.... (full context)
Chapter 13
Gender Relations Theme Icon
The next afternoon, while Parvana and Nooria are out on a walk, Parvana points out that Nooria has never met... (full context)
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
Over the next few days while Parvana is out, the adults make plans. Parvana is indignant when Mother announces that they’ll all... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Parvana’s glad to stay, but she also sulks that she doesn’t get to go. The next... (full context)
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
...Mother, Nooria, and the younger children to Mazar. Nooria is nervous, but she happily tells Parvana that she’s going to tear up her burqa as soon as she’s out of Taliban... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
With most of the family gone, there are fewer chores and more free time. Parvana begins taking Father’s secret books out so she can read. Mrs. Weera believes it’s important... (full context)
Chapter 14
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Parvana cautiously calls out, but she can’t see anything in the darkness. She lights three of... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Parvana decides that they should wait until dark and then head to her apartment together. The... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
When it’s dark, Parvana leads the woman out onto the street. She tells herself that she’s Malali, though it’s... (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 woman to... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
...a truck among bundles. It stopped in Kabul, and she hid in the building where Parvana found her. Homa starts to sob and gasps that she left her family for 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 the toshak... (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... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
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Parvana is elated to have Father back. Homa has had some education, so one day, Parvana... (full context)
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
...can do. Marriage will end her life, while getting out will give her a chance. Parvana doesn’t know how to comfort Shauzia. (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
...They’ll go as soon as he comes up with a way to travel. Father asks Parvana to carry a message to the men who helped him get home from prison. Parvana... (full context)
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...they’ll meet up with other women’s group members. If there’s no school, they’ll start one. Parvana suggests that Mrs. Weera take Shauzia, but Mrs. Weera is incredulous that Shauzia is going... (full context)
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Several days before she and Father leave, Parvana feels something hit her head. It’s a tiny camel made of beads. Parvana is relieved... (full context)
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Two days later, Parvana and Father are ready to leave. Father tells Parvana that whether she chooses to travel... (full context)