The Breadwinner

by

Deborah Ellis

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Shauzia Character Analysis

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. The girls soon grow extremely close, as they both understand the toll that working as a boy takes on them—and they both see disturbing things in the course of their work. Shauzia is always the one to come up with new ideas, such as selling small items off of trays and digging up bones to sell. However, she’s just as disturbed by the moral implications of digging up graves as Parvana is. Shauzia is fiercely independent and since her father is dead, she doesn’t feel all that loyal to her family. She lives with her mother and her paternal grandparents, and her grandparents don’t believe women should be educated. Thus, if she remains with her family, Shauzia’s future will entail getting married in a year or two—and Shauzia wants to remain a boy for longer. She thrives on living independently and comes to believe that it’s her right to seek a better life for herself, which is why she hatches her plan to save money and run away to Paris before her family can marry her off. Her plan, however, is very simplistic and reveals her youth and her innocence. Regardless, she makes plans to leave with nomads not long after Parvana and Father leave for the refugee camp outside of Mazar.

Shauzia Quotes in The Breadwinner

The The Breadwinner quotes below are all either spoken by Shauzia or refer to Shauzia. 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 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:
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:
Get the entire The Breadwinner LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Breadwinner PDF

Shauzia Character Timeline in The Breadwinner

The timeline below shows where the character Shauzia appears in The Breadwinner. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
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 and Parvana says that she’s Kaseem. Shauzia says... (full context)
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Shauzia says she’d like to sell things off a tray instead of carry tea; it’s more... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Gender Relations Theme Icon
After Shauzia leaves, Mother says she’d like to visit Shauzia’s mother to get her story for her... (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 Shauzia to... (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 the market, Parvana worries that... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
...body. They spread out their blanket and stare nervously at each other and the grave. Shauzia announces that they’re here to make money and pulls out the bone sticking out of... (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 the skull “Mr. Skull” and prop him on the gravestone to... (full context)
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
...a girl. Her only option is to hope she doesn’t explode. Though Parvana jokes with Shauzia upon her return that she kicked the land mines away, she’s shaking. Once Shauzia uses... (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 white bones.... (full context)
Chapter 11
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
...digging up bones. Parvana tells Mother she’s going to keep digging so that she and Shauzia can purchase trays and things to sell. (full context)
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
...case, arguing with Nooria no longer makes sense. In the afternoon, Parvana meets up with Shauzia to wander the market. Selling off of the trays isn’t as lucrative as digging up... (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... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
...Others hold him down. A soldier 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... (full context)
Chapter 12
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... (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 will pay attention to a little orphan boy. Her only concern... (full context)
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
...She wants to go to school and not have to work for her own food. Shauzia insists she could never go back and asks if Parvana wants to come with. Parvana... (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 her cigarettes. The girls are shy, so they prefer... (full context)
Chapter 13
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
...but she also sulks that she doesn’t get to go. The next day, she tells Shauzia that nothing makes her happy anymore. Shauzia says that she feels the same way. She... (full context)
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
...babies at age 11. She tells Parvana to keep some pocket money, so Parvana treats Shauzia to lunch some days. They guard each other while they use the bathroom and work... (full context)
Chapter 14
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
...in Parvana’s family also get up and fight back. Finally, late on the second day, Shauzia appears. Mrs. Weera takes Shauzia onto the landing and then, Shauzia sits beside Parvana. After... (full context)
Chapter 15
Afghanistan, History, and Pride Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
...customers like the other boys and earns enough to purchase medicine for Father. She tells Shauzia one day that she feels like she’s working for her family now. (full context)
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
Shauzia says in reply that she’s working to get away from Afghanistan. She recently heard her... (full context)
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
...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 to abandon her family. Parvana half... (full context)
Gender Relations Theme Icon
Family and Friendship Theme Icon
Agency, Maturity, and Childhood Theme Icon
...all over the world. Parvana hugs Mrs. Weera and Homa and hops into the truck. Shauzia appears with apricots for Parvana. She announces that she met nomads who will take her... (full context)