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Transcript of Forbidden Clothes
March 21, 2013 "They are taking her away... taking her away..." Themes Some of the main themes evident in this story are: Characters Nasreen Louise: Mrs. Khan: Mr. Khan: Margot: Conflict Setting Social Issues One of the social issues that Muslims have to deal with on a daily basis is prejudice from those around them. Ever since the 9/11 Twin Towers attack in the Unites States, all Muslims have been subjected to the bulling from Americans. The people of the United States were hurt so badly that they couldn't see past their hate for losing their loved ones, and believe that all Muslims had done wrong and do not deserve to be respected. It is unfair that all Muslims should be subjected to the torment that they endure daily, because of a few peoples choices. "You would walk down the street and you could be physically attacked," Says Nidal Ibrahim, an Executive Director of the Arab-American Institute in Washington. Mrs. Khan says this to
her English teacher, Margot.
She is scared that Nasreen's friends are
influencing her so much that they will
eventually take her away from her family
and that scares her greatly. Nasreen in a 15 year old girl from Pakistan. She lives with her mother and father in a very strict Pakistan home. She is forced to wear tradition, modest clothing, including a head scarf. She felt very different from her peers: her different coloured skin, her different clothes, voice and most of all her religion. She starts to defy the rules of her culture and wears revealing and skimpy clothing around town with her friends, unknown to her family. She eventually complies with her families wishes and goes back to her family to do what she is supposed to. Nasreen's best friend. "Louise was brash, Louise was loud, Louise was a leader." (Gavin, p.264) Louise befriended Nasreen when she needed help with her math homework. She cares enough about Nasreen to help her build her confidence about herself but also inflict her laid-back lifestyle on Nasreen. She encourages her to dress outside of her cultures "norm" and go out to parties and dances without parental approval because they knew they would never get it. Louise is carefree and takes life as it comes. Nasreen's mother is a very traditional Pakistani wife. She obeys her husband and has little control over her daughter. She allows both her husband and Nasreen to walk over her. She is very soft spoken and knows very little English. She is very distressed by her daughters irregular behaviour. She is used to walking to school with Nasreen and being best friends. She doesn't like Louise, and thinks she's a bad influence on her daughter. Nasreen's father is also a very tradition Pakistani man. He is the discipliner in the household. When he finds out that his daughter has been out in town parading around in short skirts and high heels. He is furious and beats his daughter, which doesn't seem out of the ordinary in their family and culture. Mrs. Khan's English teacher. She has very little patience for Mrs. Khan and her learning. She does not give her full attention to Mrs. Khan and shows very little interest in her. She looks forward to her hour to be finished with Mrs. Khan and doesn't put forth the proper effort and attentiveness she would for another student. Racism Nasreen and her family are Pakistani, and her parents speak little English, her mother especially. Mrs. Khan goes to see Margot, her English teacher, to learn English once a week. Margot shows little interest in actually putting forth the effort to make sure Mrs. Khan understands because she is a slower learner. This could be because of her religion and nationality. Margot likely labeled her as incapable of really learning the language and gave up on her before really giving her an honest chance to prove herself. Fitting In Nasreen is a young girl, and she and her family are the minority. Nasreen just wants to fit in and because of the colour of her skin and her religion it makes it very difficult for her to do. When Louise befriends her and asks her to go with her to a disco. She denies the request because she says she has nothing to wear. This is the beginning for Nasreen and Louise stashing clothing for Nasreen at Louise's house. She changes what she wears and how she does her makeup. Nasreen will do anything, even disobey her family and culture, to feel like she belongs. Prejudice Louise is the first person to befriend Nasreen in school. She was always kind to Nasreen and helped to build her confidence, even if it was to the chagrin of Nasreen's parents. They used to go to Nasreen's home to hangout in addition to Louise's but Mr. and Mrs. Khan do not like Louise, so they would only go over to Louise's. They believed that Louise was a bad influence on Nasreen and never gave her a chance to actually get to know her. They immediately assumed she was just like all the other English girls. Set in England
Nasreen's house, in a Muslim community
Louise's house Person (Family) vs. Person Nasreen has always been close to her mother, but as she grows older, she wants desperately to fit in with her peers. She is distant with her family, spending little time with them. This causes conflict with her parents. She spends much of her time with her friends and when she is home she's in her room. Her parents find out that she has been lying to them and sneaking out to be with her friends and dress out of culture. Her father takes this as an insult to himself. It created a great amount of tension in her family and she stays at Louise's house until her sixteenth birthday, where she returns to her family. Person vs. Self Nasreen has a great internal conflict of whether or not to stay at this "English girl" with her friends and having fun, or going back to her family and allowing her culture to dictate most aspects of her life. She loves the new attention she gets from boys and going out with friends, but she also loves her family and believes that she has a duty to fulfill in her family and culture. Once her parents find out about her double life, she remains with Louise until she turns sixteen. She made a pact to herself that once she was sixteen that she would return to her community. She was able to enjoy being an "English girl" but knew that being a Muslim and abiding by their rules was where she belonged. Before the attacks, Muslims in America were often very mainstream. After the attacks, many Muslims were shunned by their country. Author's Life Motivation for "Forbidden Clothes" Jamila Gavin was born in Mussoorie, India on August 9, 1941. Her father was an Indian and her mother was English. They later moved to England, where she grew up, but was continually immersed in both cultures. She had always felt like she belonged to both cultures. She completed her schooling for music and received a scholarship for piano. She was heavily involved with music for the next few years. She then had kids and began to write children's books and "felt a need to reflect the multi-cultural world in which she and her children now lived" (Friedmann, 2013). She also write for television and radio companies, including BBC. She has now lived in Gloucestershire for upwards of thirty years and continues to go into school and libraries to tutor and lecture. The author may has written this short story because of the experiences she had as a child. Jamila Gavin was born in India, to her Indian father and English mother. Later moving to England. Therefore she has two very rich cultures that she is introduced to at a very young age. Just like Nasreen, she is a Pakistan girl but lives in England, which have very conflicting cultures. Jamila seemed to have gone through opposite experiences to Nasreen. She could have wanted to explore side of her life, to see what it is like for people on the other end of the spectrum struggling with staying true to her roots or following the culture they are presently immersed in. I also chose to make a flag, I kept the flag white to symbolize surrender. Nasreen surrendered to her family and agreed to return to them. I put picture of traditional Muslim clothes and English clothes. I made the Muslim clothes black and white because they have such rigid rules that must be obeyed, as well it is easier to stay close to what you know and are comfortable with. I made the English clothes colourful to further depict the difference between the two styles and also to show the difficulty in Nasreen's choice between her culture and theirs. Thank-you!