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Transcript of The Breadwinner
The Taliban ("Students of Islamic Knowledge Movement") ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001. They came to power during Afghanistan's long civil war. Although they managed to hold 90% of the country's territory, their policies—including their treatment of women and support of terrorists—ostracized them from the world community. The Taliban was ousted from power in December 2001 by the U.S. military and Afghani opposition forces in response to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the U.S.
Read more: The Taliban | Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/spot/taliban.html#ixzz2x9C8OcJS
The Breadwinner is a children's novel by Deborah Ellis, first published in 2000. As of October 2013, the English-language edition of the book has had a run of 39 editions. The title of the book refers to the role of the protagonist, 11-year-old Parvana, who is forced by circumstances to be the breadwinner for her family in a war-torn Taliban-era in Afghanista
Taliban and Breadwinner
Life in Afghanistan is really difficult for Parvana. Ever since the Taliban have taken control of Afghanistan they’ve made some rules that Parvana is not happy about like the rule of girls can’t go outside the house without a male with them or the girls can not get education. Before the Taliban took control Parvana used to school but after the Taliban took control she had to leave school but she was not very upset because the next day she had a test and she hadn’t studied for the test and there would be a letter sent home to her parents. Parvana could only go out with her father to help him walk (her father was hurt in a war on his leg). Parvana’s parents were one of the people who could read and write properly so her father would sit in the market and help the people who didn’t get education. He would first read the letter and then answer it if it was needed. Afghanistan has been part of 6-7 wars with the Greeks, Arabs, Turks, British and finally the Soviets (Russia). All the girls in Afghanistan including Parvana had to wear a Burqa or a chador .Parvana used to wear a chador. Parvana’s family had a big house with a courtyard but because the bombs their beautiful house had been destroyed so now Parvana’s whole family is living in just one small room(smaller than the classroom) in Kabul. Parvana has an elder sister Nooria along with five-year-old Maryam and two- year- old Ali. Parvana hated Nooria the most.
Parvana has to go fill a water tank for her family everyday, and she hates this chore. She is jealous of how Nooria and the others didn't have to fill the water bucket. Then, Parvana sat beside Maryam, and compliments on her drawings. Parvana explains how she'll make lots of money by selling her drawings when she grows up. Since they didn't have anything to do, they cleaned the cupboard again even though it was still clean. Because of the bombings, their family lost all their furnitures, and the house was very small. However, there is still lots of chores for the girls to do. They have to sell precious things to make money, and the family got poorer with each bomb. As they are cleaning up, mother found some clothes of Hossain, who was their first son. He has died in a land mine when he was 14 years old. Sometimes Nooria told stories about Hossain to Parvana. Father told the story of Malali who led a army to victory. He explains how the young girl was courageous, and that all Afghanistan women are brave. Suddenly, the Talibans come in and capture their father. They yell that they didn't need foreign ideas, and they took him away. Even though the family tried to pull father away from the Talibans, they are helpless. As the Talibans searched their house, Parvana noticed that they were about to find out where her father kept all his precious books. She yells at the soldiers and throws herself towards the soldiers. The soldiers leave after they hit Parvana and leaves the girls hugging each other.
After the Talibans leave, mother, Nooria, Parvana, Maryam cleans up the house. Parvana can't go to sleep that day because she doesn't hear the normal snores of her father and is worried about him. During the night, Parvana has an idea that they should put a lamp so father could follow the light home, but gives up because they remember that the Talibans said that they should keep their windows painted black. The next morning, they stop acting like they were sleeping and gets ready for breakfast. Then, mother tells Parvana that they were going to take father out of jail. After Nooria secretly writes a note for them, mother and Parvana goes out and walks quickly towards the jail. When they arrive, Parvana's legs and feet are sore and she is scared. Mother walks right up to the guards and demands that she came for her husband. Her voice gets louder, and Parvana wanted to stop her, but when she hears her father's voice in her mind, she joined. As more guards came, they start hitting Mother and Parvana. At last, Parvana pulled mother up, and leaves the prison, failing the mission
When Parvana and her mother gets back home from the prison, their feet are bloody and torn up. Mother's feet are worse. It was covered with blisters that were already broken, and they are almost raw. Since it was a long time since her mother has been outside, they think it was worse. They barely get into the room. Nooria tries to help, but mother just waves her away. Mother lies down on the place that father was napping a day before and cries for a long time. Nooria tries to look after Mother and Maryam helps Parvana get cleaned. That night, Parvana has a dream that she was screaming and the soldiers are hitting her when she was trying to save her father. Nooria helps Parvana up, but mother doesn't wake up. The next day, mother still doesn't wake up. The room begins to smell and on the fourth day, food runs out. Parvana tries to wake mother up, but after some shaking, Nooria stopped her and told Parvana to go buy some food. Even though Parvana's feet are still sore, she asked what to buy
Without father, it is weird for Parvana to be in the marketplace. Since women aren't allowed go into shop, she has to stand outside. She gets some bread, and finds a Talib glaring at her. When the Talib starts hitting her, she yells to stop hitting her and makes the Taliban shock. She starts to run when the Taliban hit her more and she accidentally bumps into a woman carrying a child, and notices that it was Mrs. Weera. Mrs. Weera follows Parvana home and gets the rest of the family to do work. Parvana got buckets full of water, and when Parvana tries to drink, Nooria scolds her for not trying to boil it first.
In the morning, mother, Mrs. Weera and Nooria says that they were going to turn her into a boy. They say that that was a perfect solution, and that Parvana is going to act as if she was their cousin from Jalalabad. Parvana will wear Hossain's clothes and they would cut her hair. She collects the money, and goes out the door. She goes to the market revealing her face, but gets all of what she needed without getting caught. She completes her shopping and returns home, thrilled. However, mother is still kind of depressed seeing Parvana in Hossain's clothes.
What freedoms does Parvana have as a boy that she does not have as a girl?
She can go out without a burqa and since she is a boy, she doesn't have to go out of the house with an accompaniment of a male citizen. She can go into the shops in markets instead of just stand outside and wait for them to take the orders.
The next morning, Parvana goes to the market again in Hossain's clothes. Mother says that Parvana should go earn money like her father. Parvana likes the idea because she loves reading and writing. Soon enough, a Taliban with a gun comes to her and asked if she was a letter reader. Parvana is nervous but she helps the Talib read his letter. It was for a woman named Fatima Azima, and the Talib explains that she was his wife, but she was dead. Since it was one of her belongings, he wanted to know what it said. She reads the letter two times, and the Talib pays. Then, another customer comes to buy a shalwar kameez. She names a price until they both agrees on the same price. When Parvana feels as if she wanted to go to the restroom, she packs up and goes back home.
Why is Pavana confused after she reads the Taliban’s letter?
Parvana is confuse after she reads the Talibans' letter because she thought that all Talibans were mean and didn't care about their family, but the Taliban showed a lot of care towards the family, and was sad.
Mrs. Weera says that she is going to move into this house this afternoon, and she wants help. Mother is happy when Parvana shows her the money that she had earned. Mrs. Weera then tells a story about how she was strong and that she could beat the Talibans up. She had medals that she won, and explains that she was the only one left of the Weeras. Then, Parvana asks if she could take Maryam out to get some water. The adults agrees because Parvana was a boy, so they go out. Since Maryam wasn't outside for a long time, her skin was tender and her muscles were weak. When they get to the tap, Parvana showed Maryam how to wash her face. Parvana is beginning to get used to the daily routine. She goes out in the morning, comes home for lunch, then goes back in the afternoon. One day, Parvana suggests taking mother and Nooria out. Mother said that Ali should get some exercise, but Parvana cannot take care of Ali, so Nooria should go. Mrs. Weera suggests mother to go out with them, but Mother disagrees, and Parvana only takes Ali and Nooria out. They walk around the neighborhood and sit in the sunshine. The kids are beginning to get livelier and more energetic. On one day, Parvana is in the market when she thought she saw her father! She follows him and yells at him, but finds out that he wasn't her father. Then, something mysterious happens. Everyday, there was a piece of cloth or bracelet. When Parvana looks out the window, there was a woman smiling at her. A few days later, Parvana is watching the tea boys run when she saw one boy bump into a donkey. She was laughing when another tea boy accidentally spilled tea on her. Parvana and the tea boy tries to clean the mess when Parvana notices that the tea boy is a girl from her class.
It was Shauzia, but she says to call her Shafiq. Parvana tells her to call her Kaseem. Quickly, Shauzia picks up her tea stuff and runs to the shop. Relieved that Parvana wasn't the only girl who is dressed up like a girl, she brings Shauzia home. Mrs. Weera asks if Shauzia was keeping up with her education, Shauzia says no. After that, mom, Mrs. Weera and Nooria says that they were going to set up a school for girls. For the days after that, Parvana and Shauzia meet in the market everyday. Then, Shauzia says that there was an another way to make a lot of money.
The another way is to dig up bones. Parvana didn't like the new way and she wants to go to her father's shack. However, they go to the place where they are going to dig up bones. Parvana doesn't tell her mother about this though. When they reach the field of bones, there are only piles of bricks, dust and rubble because of the bombs' destruction. Since the bombs fell in the cemetery, there are bones everywhere. In a minute, they find a lot of bones. They dig them up and pile them up on a blanket. When they want to go to the restroom they cover each other and did their job.
How do the girls cope with the horror of digging in the graveyard?
They cope with the horror of digging in the graveyard by putting a skull beside them and act as if it was their boss.
When Parvana gets home, Maryam notices that Parvana is all wet. Mother runs to her, and worries about where she has been. She tells Parvana about how she thought that she was arrested because she didn't come for lunch. Parvana told mother about where she was and told her what she was doing. When mother hears that, she yells at her, and exclaims that she has to go back to reading her letters from tomorrow even though she got more money. However, Parvana disagreed. Mother is surprised and tries to rebel, but Nooria agrees with Parvana because they didn't have anything to sell anymore. At the end, Mother relents and agrees with the idea. At the end of two weeks Parvana and Shauzia has enough money to buy the trays with straps to go carry them around. The next day, Parvana gets hit by a gift. One Friday, Shauzia and Parvana spot a crowd of people in a sports stadium and they go in to sell their goods. The atmosphere of the soccer game isn't fun and nobody is cheering. Suddenly, the Talibans come out with prisoners and they cut the prisoners' arms. They do that to give a punishment for stealing stuff. They run out after seeing the horrible scene.
Parvana stays home for a few days because she doesn't want to see anything more ugly for awhile. Mom and Ms. Weera tells Parvana that this event takes place every Friday. When the breads run out, Parvana goes out to work again. She meets Shauzia again. At the market Shauzia tells Parvana that she'll tell her a secret. When they go to the corner, Shauzia tells Parvana that she will be going out of Afghanistan and go to France alone when she has enough money. Shauzia suggests that Parvana should come along, but Shauzia doesn't think it's right because she has a family to take care of. Parvana then shows the gifts that she was getting from the mystery woman. Then, they go back to work, and when Parvana buys a few pounds of dried fruit and nuts, they go back home. For Parvana, the market becomes boring now because she is seeing things more than people bumping into cars but poor people hungry and sick. When Parvana gets back to home from home, mother says that Nooria's getting married.
What does Parvana gain from her conversations with the traders?
Parvana lights up her matches and looks for where te noise is coming from. After minutes of searching, she finds a woman crouched in the corner of a building. The woman doesn't have a burqa, so Parvana decides to go get Mrs. Weera's burqa, but the woman grabs Parvana as if she doesn't want Parvana to go, so Parvana decides that they should go home when it is dark, and the Talibans aren't around. The woman nods, so they wait until it is very dark. When it gets dark and very quiet, they stand up and head back home. Parvana leads the woman home, and when they get back to their house, Mrs. Weera takes care of the woman. The woman falls asleep when she got washed and got some food and drinks. The next day, the woman is able to talk, so she explains about how she ran away from Mazar-e-Sharif when the Talibans capture the city. Parvana is shocked because she knows that her family went the Mazar for Nooria's wedding ceremony. Homa says that the Talibans came to her house, grabbed father and her brother, and took them outside. She said that they shot them right in the street, and mother started hitting them, so the Talibans shot her, too. Homa hid in the closet and was there for a long time, and went downstairs when there was less of a commotion. When Homa went out into the street, she saw dead bodies all over the street, and some soldiers said that everyone should stay inside. Homa ran away when it was dark and ran for a long time, and that was when Parvana found her. Shauzia comes over to her house the next morning, and she asks if Parvana could come to the market with her. Parvana agrees and goes out to the market. Then, on a late afternoon, she sees two men helping her father up the steps of the apartment towards the door.
After father gets home, they all discuss about how mother and the rest of the family went to Mazar to celebrate Nooria's wedding ceremony. Even though Parvana is worried, she is still relieved because father is home. After a several days, the people in the house decide that Mrs. Weera, her nephew and Homa will go out of Afghanistan together, and Parvana and her father will go to the camp where the rest of the family was staying at. Now, everyone leaves the house and Parvana gets on the truck to go to the camp.
Why do the men take Father home?
They take Father home because he was freed from jail, but couldn't go back home because he had no power.
A long, tent like garment, which the Taliban have ordered women must wear whenever they go out doors.
A piece of cloth worn by women and girls to cover their hair and shoulders.
One of the two main languages that people speak in Afghanistan.
A Moslem festival coming at the end of Ramadan, which is the month of fasting.
A cart on wheels that is pushed by hand, used to sell things in the market.
Pieces of meat on a skewer, that gets cooked over a fire.
A bomb planted into the ground, which explodes if you step on it.
Afghan bread-flat, sometimes its long and sometimes its round.
A gray or brown woolen blanket shawl that is worn by Afghan men and boys.
One of the two main languages that is spoken in Afghanistan.
Long loose shirt and trousers worn by both men and women.
The Soviet Union before its break-up, including Russia and other Communist countries in the world.
Members of the ruling party in the country of Afghanistan.
A narrow mattress used in many Afghan homes instead of chairs or beds.
A country under rule by the Taliban.
About Mrs. Weera
Mrs Weera is a former physical education teacher who comes to stay with Parvana's family. Parvana's mother became very depressed over the loss of her husband so Mrs Weera took charge of the household.
Parvana is shocked and exclaims that Nooria shouldn't marry him. Nooria says that she will be going to school when she marries and go to Mazar. Mother says that they will all be going to Mazar to watch Nooria's wedding ceremony. Parvana doesn't like the idea, and refuses in going to Mazar with Nooria. She says that father will get lost when he gets out of jail, so with days of begging, mother decides to leave Parvana with Mrs. Weera to wait for father to come back home. Mother, Nooria and the little ones get on the truck early in the morning. After that, Parvana has more free time since there is less chores and less people in the apartment. One day in August, she was selling her things from the tray when she gets caught in the rain. She decides to stay covered under the tray until the rain stops. When she wakes up, she finds herself under a dark sky but it wasn't raining. Then, she hears the sound of a woman crying.
Discuss Nooria’s reasons for marrying her future husband.
Nooria's reasons for marrying her future husband is because she can get education and doesn't have to be ruled by the Talibans. She can also have freedom.