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Parvana - Deborah Ellis

Reading comprehension unit for Parvana - Deborah Ellis

Luke Arrandale

on 13 January 2014

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Transcript of Parvana - Deborah Ellis

The next few slides are dedicated to providing you with a basic idea of the setting of Parvana and the struggles faced by those living in Afghanistan. Some of the concepts will be confronting and make you think about the world around you and the way Australia deals with immigrants. immerse yourself in the story to get the most out of it, ask questions and explore the ideas that relate to you. The story is one of my favourite, enjoy!
Mr Arrandale
Discuss the issues raised in the light of your research into the context of 'Parvana'.

The author uses third-person narrator to tell the story but has used Parvana to focalize the story, so that we see things through her eyes.

Imagine you are Parvana. Write a diary entry after this day in the marketplace.
Would Parvana be allowed to keep a diary in real world Afghanistan.
Create a T-Chart. On one side write quotes and statements from the text that represents normalcy (a life similar to your own. On the opposing side write quotes that represent the threatening side of life in Afghanistan. Where would you place each of the following quotes:
“her superior big-sister smile” p.22
“The Taliban encourage neighbour to spy on neighbour” p.25
Chapter Three
Examine the photograph - photographs were illegal pg. 42 - and the way the author uses the photograph to highlight the issues in this chapter.

How does the image of the photograph help to develop the main issues the author is raising?
Chapter One
Chapter Two
PARVANA - Deborah Ellis
Year 6 Reading Groups 2014

What message is father giving the family about their situation? What is his intent behind telling the story?

Why does father call Parvana 'my Malali' as he is dragged out by the Taliban? Predict what the importance of this event might be for the remainder of the story.
Small vs Big
Make a mindmap of stories you know that depict small overcoming big. Add an extra branch to each point on your mindmap and write what the resolution was in each story.

Example: Jack and the Beanstalk (Jack cut down the beanstalk to stop the Giant from coming down).
Afghanistan is a country that has been wracked by war at several periods throughout its long history and continually since 1978 when the Soviets invaded from the north. The Author’s Note (p.169) briefly outlines some of the more recent conflicts and their consequences.

Expert Study Points:
Research the British and Soviet invasions of Afghanistan. Why do you think such a country would be targeted? Research Lord Tennyson's poem: 'The Charge of the Light Brigade'.
This book raises issues of concern to the contemporary world and particularly to Australia’s response to refugees from Afghanistan. It will be important to guide students’ exploration of these issues both in the novel and in the wider context.

Expert Study Points:
Collect newspaper articles and other information about refugees in the context of Australia's recent Border Protection Legislation. Examine the Author’s Note (p. 171) about Afghans in Australia. What do you think the author's perspective on Afghans in Australia is?
Status of Women
The novel also raises important issues about the status and rights of females.

Expert Study Points:
Discuss the women’s status and rights today in Australia and in other western societies. How would you respond to a world in which women (or men) were denied these rights. How would you feel if you were denied the freedom to move around the world unless accompanied by a person of the opposite sex?
Feminist Movements
The First Wave of Feminism in the late nineteenth century (the Suffragette Movement) worked to change the status of western women, giving them a legal status that allowed them some independence from males. The Second Wave of Feminism in the middle of the twentieth century extended this work to include issues such as equal pay for men and women doing the same work.

Expert Study Points:
Use the library and the internet to research the issues that underpinned these two waves of feminism. Why were these two movements necessary for women? Who were the main people involved in each? How did they mobilize support for the movement? What has changed for women as a result of these movements? Are there aspects that have not changed women’s lives?
Afghanistan is one of many Muslim countries in the world. The religion of Muslims is known as Islam, and is based on the teachings of the prophet Mohammed as they are laid down in the Koran. Central to this religion is the fundamental principle of submission to a unique and personal god called Allah. Just as there are different branches of Buddhism, Judaism and Christianity there are also different branches of Islam. In all religions, some branches tend to take an extreme and literal view of the beliefs as they are recorded in the “holy” text.
While the Taliban purport to be followers of Islam, their interpretation of the faith is a very narrow and intolerant one. Introduce the notion of theocracy or a theocratic society – that is, a society where the government recognizes a god or deity as the supreme civil ruler and all laws are interpreted by the ecclesiastical authorities or priests who claim to have a divine commission that cannot be questioned.

Expert Study Points:
Contemplate living in a country ruled by a theocracy. What would be the everyday things you would miss?
Chapter Four
Examine the section that describes Parvana's dream (pg.49-50) and discuss the significance of the dream.

Imagine the “dreams” that the mother might be having as she lies on the toshak?
Reorganise the perspective and write a paragraph telling the story through the eyes of Parvana's mother. You can use
the dream idea as a guide.
Chapter Five
Examine the way that Mrs Weera takes charge of the situation. Her use of phrases such as “Do your bit for the team” (p.61) and “That’s no way to keep up team spirit” (p.63) present a very clear message of her character and the impact she has on the situation. What issues are highlighted through this language?
Chapter Six
Imagine that you are Parvana after the first day disguised as Hossain and write a diary entry that reflects on the experience and her feelings and hopes for the future.
Chapter Seven
Examine the incident (pg. 78-82) and discuss why you think it was so 'confusing' (pg. 82) for Parvana.

Write what you think Ellis is suggesting about the Taliban militia.
Chapter Eight
Make a list of the differences Mrs Weera has brought to the daily lives of Parvana's family.

What issues are highlighted in this chapter?
Chapter Nine
In this chapter Parvana discovers that she is not alone – “there were other girls like her in Kabul” (p.98) and the “Window Woman” (p.104) continues to communicate secretly with her.

Why do you think the women engage in the dangerous activities? What is the author suggesting by including this as part of the story?
Chapter Ten
Identify the way Deborah Ellis uses humour to lighten the mood of the terrible situation.
How does this use of humour help to change the readers impression of the chapter? Does it make you believe what the children are doing is wrong or does it help justify their reasons?
Chapter Eleven
This chapter highlights the “unusual times” that “call for ordinary people to do unusual things, just to get by” (p.118). Parvana and Shauzia certainly see something of the “unusual times” in their visit to the soccer stadium.
“There will be time enough when you are old to see such things” (p.123), and “go home and remember better things” (p.124)
What does the effect of these statements have on your view of the Taliban and their actions?
Chapter Twelve
A juxtaposition is a comparison where contrasting events, items or descriptions are placed right beside each other.
Can you identify a juxtaposition in this chapter?

What is the impact of the description of summer in Kabul?

Draw an image in your book. Split it in half and complete each side to demonstrate a juxtaposition. Think carefully about the colours and images you add.
Chapter Thirteen
Examine Parvana's rebellion from having to marry someone she has never met. Do you know of any cultures that still practice arranged marriages? Imagine Parvana had to persuade her mother to stop her arranged marriage, create a brainstorm outlining the reasons
she should use.
Chapter Fourteen
Imagine you are Parvana. Write a diary entry in which you look back on her activities in the marketplace and the effect of the Taliban on her life and her family. Share your diary entry with the rest of the group.
Chapter Fifteen
This chapter highlights the sense of hope that still flickers amongst some of the Afghan people. It also raises the key question as to whether one should stay and hope that the oppression will end, or seek to flee from the country to try and make a new start.

Is it wrong to flee? Consider why so many Afghans have fled from their own country in dangerous situations including leaking boats across perilous seas. Why does Shauzia decide to go as a shepherd to Pakistan? What would you do if you were in this situation?
Examine the image of the flowers that Parvana plants to say goodbye to the Window Woman. It is an old man who points the moral of this moment – “we have seen so much ugliness, we sometimes forget how wonderful a thing like a flower is” (p.165). Why do they think the author has chosen a man to make this comment?

Literary Description
Deborah Ellis needs a new blurb for the novel. You have been given the role of writing this. Good luck!
Final Tasks
Final Tasks
Book Report
Write a clear report on the key events of the story. Identify the purpose of the story and use quotes to support your statements. Write in third person e.g. Ellis' effective use of humour helps the reader...
The main character, Parvana is challenged...
Created by Luke Arrandale 2013
Full transcript