The Breadwinner: Taking Responsibility For Your Life

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Parvana, the protagonist, an eleven year old, brave, kind, strong, caring, hopeful and confident girl. In the first chapters, before becoming the breadwinner Parvana is a young and naive girl “what she wanted most of all was to be invisible” (Ellis 5), but after becoming the breadwinner for her family she slowly develops into a courageous young adult in thought and taking responsibility, seeking to support her family but inside her she advocates just want to be an ordinary kid again,' Parvana said. 'I want to sit in a classroom and go home and eat food that someone else has worked for. I want my father to be around. I just want a normal, boring life.'”(Ellis 67)

The Taliban, the antagonist, wear dark turbans with a rifle was slung acrosstheir chests.(Ellis 1). “An Afghan army took over control of the capital city of Kabul in September, 1996. They imposed extremely restrictive laws on girls and women. Schools for girls were closed down, women were no longer allowed to hold jobs, and strict dress codes were enforced. Books were burned, televisions smashed, and music in any form was forbidden. In the fall of 2001, the Taliban were driven from most of Afghanistan, but the future of Afghanistan's women and girls remains uncertain.” (Ellis 88) By saying that, Ellis does not deny that the Taliban make the lives of the people in Afghanistan extremely difficult by enforcing many laws and limitations on Afghan people.

Shauzia (Shafiq), Parvana’s best friend, another brave little girl who dresses up as a boy to earn money for her family. She has saved some of her daily earnings so that she can escape the country and go to France. Before Taliban’s rule in Kabul, she was Parvana’s classmate in school. Shauzia becomes a source of encouragement to Parvana. She is loyal to Parvana and keeps their secrets. They become best friends and help each other to make the money they need and achieve their goals. Shauzia lives with her mother and grandparents, who are unsupportive, her home life isn't nearly as loving as Parvana's. She is the one who comes up with the idea of bone digging for money. She plans to leave Kabul, despite leaving her family behind.

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Parvana’s father, a kind, wise and loving man. He works as a history teacher and can speak English because he studied in a university in England. He lost his leg as a result of a bomb. He let his beard grow long just as Taliban wants. Ellis claims “When the Taliban first came and ordered all men to grow beards” (Ellis 15). He wears white shalwarkameez. He keeps telling stories for his daughters and respects women and encourages their education. He wants his daughters to succeed and become educated like their mother. 'The lesson here, my daughters,' he looked from one to the other, 'is that Afghanistan has always been the home of the bravest women in the world. You are all brave women. You are all inheritors of the courage of Malali.'(Ellis 16), he was imprisoned by the Taliban because of his foreign ideas and education. 'Afghanistan doesn't need your foreign ideas!' They yanked him toward the door” (Ellis 17) He clearly doesn’t like the Taliban “'Afghanistan needs more illiterate thugs like you,' Father said. One of the soldiers hit him in the face.“

Nooria, Parvana’s sister, 17 years old with beautiful tall hair. She likes to annoy her sister Parvana. She does not have to go outside and hates wearing burqa. 'As soon as I get out of Taliban territory, I'm going to throw off my burqa and tear it into a million pieces.'(Ellis 72). Nooria is banned from going to high school so she decides to get married and move from Kabul to Mazar Alsharif. She remained in the house for over a year, helping with the children and cleaning. Education is important for Nooria as she desires to become a teacher in the future.

Parvana’s Mother, Fatana, a sensitive woman who lost her son by a landmine. She became depressed after her husband was arrested. She is kicked out of her job as a writer in the radio station. With Mrs. Weera’s encouragement, she begins to write stories about life in Kabul under the Taliban. The stories are smuggled to Pakistan, where they are printed for distribution all over Afghanistan. She creates a private school with her friend Mrs.Weera. She stays in her home but later leaves Kabul with her daughter Nooria.

Ali and Maryam, Parvana’s youngest siblings. They are the two youngest children in the family. Ali is only two years old and Maryam is only five. Mrs.Weera, a tall woman with white hair but a strong body. She had been a physical education teacher before the Taliban made her leave her job” (Ellis 31). A friend of Parvana’s mother. She is unlike any other woman, Mrs. Weera isn't afraid of the Taliban. Her role is crucial to the family as she helped Parvana’s Mother when she was depressed after her husband was taken by the Taliban. The rest of her family died due to bombing. She is left with her grandchild.

Hussain, Parvana's older brother who died because of a landmine when he was only 14 years old. The window woman, who keeps throwing small gifts from her window to Paravana. Paravana plants flowers in front of her window at the end of the story when she decided to leave Kabul, In order to give her sense of hope. 'Something pretty to look at.' (Ellis 84) Moreover, Ellis narrates that Shauzia and Parvana dream is travelling to France and living there, and meet there after twenty years. “In every picture I've seen of France, the sun is shining, people are smiling, and flowers are blooming. France people must have bad days, too, but I don't think their bad days can be very bad, not bad like here.” Why Ellis has chosen France to be their country of dreams? Ellis argues that Kabul has to be left.” at least I'll get away from here. Everything will be easy once I get away from here.' (Ellis 66). At the end of the story, Ellis makes all the characters leave Kabul where the Taliban’s rule in. “The future stretched unknown down the road in front of her.”(Ellis 87)

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