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Shadow Spinner

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by

Ana Mal

on 19 November 2013

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Transcript of Shadow Spinner

Shadow Spinner
presented by Ananya Mallik

The Setting

Shadow Spinner
takes place in the Middle East. Or more specifically, medieval Persia. It is during a time where filthy rich Sultans reign and the poorest of the poor beggars flock the streets and the bazaars. The women wear veils and do the household chores. Most of the story took place in the palace harem and the city bazaar. The Sultan, Shahrazad, Dunyazad, Khatun, Marjan, and many other important people live in the palace. The city bazaar is where Marjan, and once Dunyazad, sneak out to find the story for Shahrazad to tell the Sultan. Those are the two main places where the story takes place.
Introduction
I read the book
Shadow Spinner
by Susan Fletcher. This book was about a young girl named Marjan who helps the queen, Shahrazad, find new stories to tell the Sultan. She sneaks out to the city getting tales so Shahrazad can live. For Shahrazad is only allowed to live because she tells a story every night to amuse the king. Come and join Marjan on an adventure filled with dangers and many surprises.
Marjan
Marjan is the main character of the story. She is also the narrator. She is a Muslim girl with a crippled foot. Marjan is very good at storytelling and one day when she and Auntie Chava went to the palace to sell goods, Marjan told a tale to the kids. Dunyazad overheard her and took her to Shahrazad to tell her that tale. That is how Marjan's adventure to help Shahrazad live begins.
Shahrazad
Dunyazad
Dunyazad is Shahrazad's younger sister. On the day Shahrazad became the Sultan's wife, she asked him to let her tell her sister a story before she died. So, they invited Dunyazad in and Shahrazad started telling her story. she ended at the exciting part and the Sultan let Shahrazad live. Everynight, Dunyazad comes to the Sultan's chambers and Shahrazad tells her story and lives another day. Without Dunyazad, Shahrazad wouldn't have been able to tell her story and wouldn't be alive.
Sultan
Khatun
The Khatun Sultana is the Sultan's mother. She is also known as the Crown of Veiled Heads. She is the most powerful woman in the harem and she despises Shahrazad. She had three sons. The eldest was killed by a jealous co-wife, the Sultan is the middle son, and the youngest is the Sultan in some faraway kingdom.
Blind Storyteller/Abu Muslem/Old Vizier
The Blind Storyteller/Abu Muslem/Old Vizier are all the same person. The Old Vizier used to be the vizier for the old Sultan and was the current Sultan's friend. He was the one to first tell the story to the Sultan. The Blind Storyteller was the beggar who Marjan heard telling the story in the bazaar. And finally, Abu Muslem is the man who smuggles girls out so they won't be the Sultan's wives and killed.
Characters
Sultan
The Sultan rules all of the land. His name is Shahryar. He is the king and also Sharazad's husband. He is the middle son (his older brother was killed). He had a first wife who deceived him so he killed her. After that, he started taking a new wife every night and killing them every morning because he didn't trust them. Finally, Shahrazad became his wife and he stopped the killings. The story happens because Shahrazad ran out of stories to tell the Sultan.
Shahrazad is the Sultan's wife. She has long hair, clear, glowing skin, full lips, pleasingly arched eyebrows, and a thick, dark fringe of eyelashes. She has three sons.
Shahrazad stepped up when the Sultan was going through his purge and killing a wife every night. She became his new wife and told a story, but stopped it at the middle, so the Sultan let her live another day so he would hear more. She continued that for about two and a half years.
She told the Sultan the story Marjan told her and she led the Sultan to believe that she knew the rest of a story and she didn't, which led to Marjan sneaking out to the bazaar to get her the story and the whole adventure starting.
The Middle East
I learned many things about the Middle East by reading this book. The Middle East has a rich and intoxicating culture. They are mostly Muslim, but Jews and others live there too. Since, the book took place in the medieval times, women had a more traditional role. They all had veils and wore them in public. I also got to know more about the kingdoms there. The Sultan was the ruler and they could often have more than one wife, and that goes for any Muslim. They all visited the bazaar to get goods or any merchandise. Many beggars lived there and sometimes they told stories to get coins so they could eat as shown in the story. It also shows that harem and palace life are very different than life in outside places like the bazaar.
Book Evaluation

Shadow Spinner
by Susan Fletcher was an very interesting story. This book helped enhance my understanding of the Middle East by showing me days in the life of someone living there. I didn't relate to anyone in the book because my life is very different. The book was realistic in that there could have possibly been kings in medieval Persia that killed wives everyday. Someone could have stopped that, but later ran out of stories and had to get someone to sneak out and get them. The book kept my attention because it was suspenseful. There were always exciting points like "Is she going to find him?" or "Will he kill her?" etc. What I didn't like about the book is that Marjan keeps a grudge against her mother for so long. I would recommend this book to a friend because this book was good. It entertained me and provided me with an insight to life in the Middle East.
Exposition

Shadow Spinner
begins with Marjan and Auntie Chava going to sell goods at the palace. The palace is home to the Sultan and his wife Shahrazad and many other people. Marjan then meets the children and tell them a story. Dunyazad overhears her and then takes her to Shahrazad. After telling her many stories, Marjan finally tells a story Shahrazad hasn't heard before. Shahrazad then memorizes it and tells it to the king that night. The next morning, Marjan is summoned to live at the place with Shahrazad.
Resolution
On the seventh day, Dunyazad appeared at their cell all dressed up and she told them about Soraya who had accidentally drowned, but everyone believed that the Khatun had someone kill her. She also told them that they would now go to the Sultan's brother's kingdom. Dunyazad would marry him and the old vizier would become his new vizier and the eunuch would be the new head eunuch for the harem. Zaynab would be the governor of messenger pigeons and Marjan would be her helper and the storyteller in the harem. They all left towards a new life in a faraway land.
Rising Action
After Marjan is summoned to the palace to live there, she is taken to see the Khatun after the baths. The Khatun suspects her, but she is okay. Soon, she is called to see Shahrazad, but she doesn't know the rest of the tale. She meets Zaynab, the bird-keeper, the next day. Soon, Shahrazad and Dunyazad form a plan to get Marjan out to the bazaar so she can find the story. When Marjan finally arrives at the bazaar, she searches, but cannot find the blind storyteller she heard the story from. She finally finds a boy who says he knows who he is and he leads her to him. The storyteller who turns out can see, tells her the story about Badar Basim, but she soon has to leave without hearing the full story. She tells the story to Shahrazad and later she and Dunyazad have to sneak out again in empty olive oil jars. They find the storyteller again with the help of the boy. However, on their way back, when they were hidden in carpets, they weren't allowed into the harem. So, they had to go back to the storyteller and while they waited, he told them the rest of the story. Finally, they figure out a way to get back by dressing up as men and joining a band of entertainers. When they get back and change, Marjan is summoned to see the Khatun. The Khatun believed that Shahrazad has a lover and when Marjan said no, she beat Marjan. Then, she had Marjan locked up. Surprisingly, it was Soraya who helped her and gave her food. She told Dunyazad and Shahrazad of Marjan's plight and Shahrazad visited Marjan and also brought her more food. She also told her that she arranged for Marjan to escape and that she would be in a safe place.
Climax
Soon, Mitra comes and helps Marjan get out of prison. She then goes to Zaynab and Zaynab puts her in a basket and tells her to go to the storyteller. However, the palace guards spot her and she has to jump out of the basket and run. She runs and runs through the streets. Finally she found her way to the bazaar and from there to the storyteller's house. She then finds out that the storyteller, old vizier, and Abu Muslem (a man who smuggles girls out of the city to escape the Sultan) are the same person. A woman then comes and gets her and she recognizes her as Farah, her mother's old serving girl. Farah makes Marjan realize how much her mother cared for her. The next night, Marjan hears Farah and her husband arguing so she sneaks out, leaving all the coins to Farah and her family. Marjan returns to the palace and tells the Sultan a tale. The tale is about a boy who tells a story to a landlord. Marjan puts truth in the tale and by telling the tale, she tells everything that happened.
Falling Action
After telling the tale, the king dismisses Marjan, the storyteller, and the eunuch to the dungeons. There, Marjan meets Zaynab again. In the cell, the next morning they hear the bells and a crier announcing that there will be a celebration for the Sultan and Shahrazad's marriage.
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