Shauzia Quotes in The Breadwinner
“Do you think they’d mind us doing this?” Parvana asked.
“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.
“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.
“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?”
“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.”
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.
“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.”
“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.
“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.