external image nlc004553-v5.jpg
Discussion about characterization in The Breadwinner will go here.
Characterization (how a character's personality traits are revealed).

While I was reading the book I Thought about Shauzia and how she wanted to leave, even if it meant abandoning her family. I figured that she was afraid of herself in Pakistan and if she could get away then she would no longer be afraid. She might have been afraid to dig up the bones, but she didn’t show it. But when she told Parvana that she was going to leave she let the fear escape her.
I think that Parvana was very brave and strong. She was very brave standing up to those soldiers while she was looking for her dad at the jail.
I think that Parvana was very brave to fight the soldiers. She was trying to save her father’s books since that was all he had left that reminded him of their past life and the Talban would burn them. It would be terrible to live in a world where soldiers could show up at your house and take your family members and your belongings. She proved that she can now be the protector of the family since her father is now gone.

I think one of Parvana's character traits is independent because even though she has a family that technically is in charge of her, she is the one doing most of the work for her family and takes care of herself and her family.

Parvana's mother is brave, but in one of the chapters she was very depressed. She probably was staying in her room to be sad for her husband. Like Parvana, she was very good at standing up to the soldiers.

I think two of Parana’s most important characteristics are bravery and maturity. She shows both of these when she chose to cut her hair and pretend to be a boy. She knew that she could be punished by the Taliban if she got caught. But she did it anyway to help her family.


Parvana’s two characteristics that stood out to me were bravery and intelligence. She was brave for fighting the Taliban when they broke in and she was intelligent for writing the litter.

In the beginning of the book Nooria, Parvana's sister, was a little mean to her older sister. She was making fun of Parvana and bragging that she got to keep her dress and her little sister didnt because Norria would soon be married. I think she needs to be a better example since she is the oldest and when times are tough she needs to have a positive attitude.









Is it common in this culture for a female to assume this role? Can you think of some examples in American history where women/girls have become the protectors of their families?


I read another book like this, and it was also called The Breadwinner, by Arvella Whitmore. In this story, the main character, Sarah Ann Pucket, is living with her mother during the Great Depression. Her father is away in the West, looking for a job, and sending money to the family when he can. Her mom does have a job, but she doesn’t make enough money to pay the rent and the electricity bills. When this happens, Sarah tries to help out by selling bread. Before she knows it, she has enough money to pay the bills, like when Parvana starts making money, pretending to be a boy.

I also think that Parvana was very brave to fight the soldiers, she was a distraction from the cupboard and the secret hiding spot in the cupboard. The Taliban didn't even check the cupboard after beating Parvana.

I think that Parvana would do anything to save her dad or her dads last belongings.


Parvana showed extreme courage when she was fighting the soliders, she also was a distraction to them from the cupboard. I am surprised the Taliban didn't even check the cupboard.

I think that Mother and Nooria started out to be very bosie and mean. I think they are like that because they are jealous of Parvana. While thsi is happening Parvana seems like she feels very jealous of Mother and Nooria for being able to stay home and relax everyday. Mother and Nooria seem to start relaxing with how their life style is. Parvana is still in her little shell of helping out with the family but not ever taking a break.

I think that Parvana is a strong girl. Her family is not always the most loving family, but in a time when the Taliban is so strict and cruel she needs a family that will support her. Sometimes, Parvana has to stay strong because her mom is used to things happening, like her father being taken away by the Taliban.

I think that Nooria is a typical older sister. She tries to make Parvana jealous. I think that Nooria is secretly wanting to be Parvana. Parvana is able to go outside, but Nooria is not. If I were in Nooria's situation, I would want to be able to go outside without a man or a burqa like Parvana.

I agree with Megan and I think that Nooria really doesn't hate Parvana, but she always tries to provoke Parvana in to making a bad decision and getting into trouble. She also seems very depressed once her mother goes into her "slumber."

It is common for a female to assume this role. The movie we watched in English was an example of a girl pretending to be a boy, "Osama."



During this snowstorm, some of you are probably feeling like Nooria; no electricity, can't go anywhere you can't walk, can't walk far because it's so cold. Does it make you feel sympathy for her situation? How would you feel if you could never leave your house? Might you be crabby and short-tempered? Or, read on page 12: "One of the difficulties of living with your whole family in one room was that it was impossible to really leave anyone alone." Is it important to you to be alone? Why or why not?
I do feel sympathy for Nooria, because it is annoying if I'm not able to leave our house for more than a day, but for her whole life, that must be hard. I also believe it is important to be left alone, so you can take the time you need not to see anyone and to relax.

I feel sympathy for Nooria because almost everything I do involves being outside. I were her, I would feel claustrophobic and would have hard time breathing. I would also feel dry from not getting the outside air. In the summer I lie in the grass and enjoy the nature. Everyone needs to go outside just to breathe some air every day. I also think it is good to be alone sometimes. I sometimes just go to my room listen to music and think. It helps me to feel better. Sometimes, you don’t need to be around people and you can be away from life’s worries.


I also feel sympathy for Nooria, because I often get crabby when I can't leave the house or get away from people for one day. It must be ten times worst because she couldn't get away from her family or outside for about a year, or more. It is important for me to be alone sometimes because

I would feel very isolated and would be worried because I would not know what is going on in our town.

On page 14, it says, "Bombs had been part of Parvana's whole life." How do you think that affected her?

I think Parvana feels scared because her family has been bombed many times and has lost many of its valuables. She could be scared that she and her family could be bombed again.

Before the Taliban took over Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, Parvana lived in a nicer house. Nooria had her own room and Parvana shared a room with Maryam. Every time Kabul was bombed and the house she lived in was damaged, she ended up moving to a smaller house. Eventually after more bombings, the only place they could live was the one room section of a deserted apartment building. I think the several bombings that Parvana has been through have made her a less confident person, always having to worry about the Taliban's strict rules about girls. Although, I think she is more confident than the rest of the girls in her family because she is still able to go outside.

I agree with the statement above this. I also think Parvana is feeling loss and sad because her and her family has been going through a lot. First, they have gotten bombed several times. Second, women aren't allowed to do many things because of the Taliban. Third, and finally her father had been taken by the Taliban. This is maybe how a lot of people in Afghanistan feel.
I do feel sympathy for Nooria because i know i would go crazy if i was in a house for so many years. Parvana even gets to go outside with her father and Nooria doesnt.

  • ----


On page 35, the narrator says, "As soon as she heard her father's snoring, she knew she was safe." Tell us about something that makes you feel safe and/or protected.
When my parents are home and lots of lights are on, I feel protected. It is because I can see everything, and my parents are stronger and bigger than me. I also feel protected when I can always see someone or something living, even if it is just my cats. Blankets are protective for me because it is like security wrapped around me.

When my dog comes up to me and jumps on the couch to lay down with me it makes me feel very calm. My dog also is very protective and barks when she thinks she hears danger so she always comes to me so that she can gard me. She also is very loving to me so I know that she will be with me always.

I feel protected when I'm with someone else. Not just my parents, but friends or other family. I feel this way because if something was to happen, you would have someone else to be with, to help you and for you to help them.

I feel protected when there are a lot of lights on so I can see everything. I also feel protected when I'm not alone, having someone else with me makes me feel more protected, because then there is someone there I can talk to and I don't have to worry as much about being lost if something were to happen.

I feel very safe when anyone is around including friends and family.



On page 27, Parvana's father said, "We are the most welcoming, hospitable people on earth. A guest to us is a king." Have you ever visited a country or a family that treated you like a king? Do you treat your guests like kings?

I went to the Dominican Republic, and when I was there, everyone gave us many things that they could have made us pay for, but they gave them to us for free.

When I went to Hawaii, everyone was extremely welcoming. As soon as we stepped into the hotel, people handed us many things, such as drinks and leis.
My cousin lives in china and the first week he was there all of the people there where asking for a picture of him because he has read hear and all the people there have dark hair and was treated very wellc . He also was a model for the 2008 olympic games.

I have never been out of the country but I have gotten treated like a king at a person's house. When people come to my house, my parents except me to treat then like a king.


When I visited Florida, everyone was very welcoming. They gave us drinks when we checked into the hotel.
On page 44, Parvana realizes that her mother hadn't left the house for more than a year. How might you behave if you hadn't left your house for a whole year? How do you think an adult would behave?

If I hadn't left my house for a year, I would be very grumpy. The outside world would seem completely new. It would take an extended amount of time to become used to being outside again.

I think that I would go crazy because I would not be able to do most of the things that I normally do.

I feel that if an adult hadn't left their house for over a year they would feel like they aren't doing their job to be a parent. I think they would feel that
they need to go out to buy the food that the children to eat, or to go out buy the clothes that the children need to wear. I also asked my mom how she would feel and she said sad that she didn't get out of the house to feel the grase of he feet, the sunshine on her face, seeing all of her family and friends, and the change in scenery.

I would feel curious because one year has gone by and a lot of things could go by like people could move,people coming in and bringing new ideas with them. An adult needs to have a job to keep up his or her family.

If I had not seen the world for a year I would feel mad if something new came into town and I would be happy too because I wouldn't have to do work outside of my house. I think I would alsos be bored, grumpy, and tired.

If I had not left my house for a whole year I would probably be very tired and grumpy. If an adult hadn't left the house for a year I would think they would be tired and grumpy too. It would also take some time to get used to walking around more outside and getting used to more light that a house would probably limit.

I would be filled with grief and anger because of the Taliban's strict rules. It would be hard for me to always look at the same setting and not be able to walk around outside. I would also feel sad because when you are a girl in Afghanistan, you don't get treated very well at all, and if there is a boy in your family I would feel like the boy has all the responsibilities and all the girl does is sit and do housework.

I would hate that, and feel so isolated. I would just want to go outside. I would feel stuffy and feel like I was cramped into a small place. Without fresh air, I would feel dirty and tired, I feel terible for the women who could not go outside in Afghanistan when the Taliban took control.





Page 66: "They could hold her (Parvana) down and cut off her hair, but for anything more, they needed her cooperation. In the end, it really was her decision." Did she really have a decision about this? What would your decision have been? What would have happened if Parvana had said, "No."


Yes, she did have a decision. They could have shoved her out the door, but she could have hidden in an ally or went to some one's house. I would have tried to help my family and gone out to get food. I think that the family would have tried to persuade her but, if she was persistent, then they would try and find another way to help the family.

Parvana had to make a decision. If my family members were asking this of me I would feel very pressured. The positive outcomes of it are that the family won't starve to death and I wouldn't have to be the one that has to be escorted my a male. The negative outcomes of it are that every time I went outside, I still wouldn't feel as safe as a real boy feels, I'd be afraid the Taliban would become suspicious of me and eventually kill me. SIf IF If Parvana had said no, the whole family would be disappointed in her, yet be understanding. The family would have to come up with a plan B, which wouldn't be so easy.




On page 80: "Up until then, she (Parvana) had seen Talibs only as men who beat women and arrested her father. Could they have feelings of sorrow, like other human beings?" What do you think? Can you think of examples from history?


I feel that the Talibs are human beings that have feelings and consideration for people around them, but they know if they don't do their job they will be punished. I also think that most of the Talibs don't like the Taliban, they just need a job, and they have higher power over the regular people who live in poverty.

From a discussion in history class, some innocent people join the Taliban because they will be safe from them. If they do this, they give up their freedom and must follow the strict Islamic rules of the Taliban. I think Parvana only sees the Taliban as mean people because they took away her father for no good reason. The Taliban is also the reason she must pretend to be a boy and work to support her whole family.

From watching the movie in class, Osama, I understood that this Talib may have been forced to become part of the Taliban. In the movie, Osama was forced to go to a school to become a Talib. Even though she was a girl, some of the boys may have not been willing to become a Talib.


An excerpt from Talib's wife's letter: "Once you leave Pakistan and return to Afghanistan with your new husband, I will likely lose track of you." Could you leave all of your friends and family when you marry and never see them again? Why do you think women married under these circumstances?

I would not have been able to leave my friends and family just to marry some one. I think that the women do this because they have to. People used to have an arranged marriage by their father and maybe some women had to have an arranged marriage.

If I were Nooria this would be a very hard decision for me to make, but under the circumstances that the Afghans are living in, I would choose marriage. It would be very hard to leave all my friends and family, knowing that I would probably never see them again, but I would have a much better life getting married. I think women get married under these circumstances because their life is unlikely to get better when they are living with there friends and family, especially if they are poor.


I wouldn't be able to leave everything I had for marriage. I think that in Afghanistan many people would choose marriage because they have so little. Most of them don't have very much, so they would want to get more and be able to go outside with a husband.



On page 89: "If Nooria got some exercise, maybe she wouldn't be so grumpy." Does exercise, or the lack of exercise, affect your moods or performance in school?


Yes, also if I have exercised I can concentrate much easier in school.

Yes, it will make you feel not as tired and you will concentrate better in school.

Yes in school because you cant stay focused on what ever you are doing.

If I’m grumpy, I usually don’t want to exercise, but when I do I feel better. I feel more energetic and like I accomplished something.


Yes I do feel a little bit calmer and more focoused.
Well, not exercising can make you lazy and you'll start getting so lazy, you don't want to do schoolwork any more and that can affect your grades.


On page 118: "Or maybe it's me who's changed, Parvana thought. Arguing with Nooria simply didn't make sense any more." Why not?

I think so because it wastes so much of her energy that she can't do it any more. Also with Parvana's father gone, and Mrs. Weera moving in for the new magazine, it was so unpleassant. The family is just now getting used to having father not around, and why mess that up.



Is Greg someone you'd like to get to know? Is he someone you'd like to work with? Is he someone you'd like to have as a neighbor or friend?

Yes, he seems like a very efficiant worker and very kind.

Have you ever known someone like Greg? Have you ever been able to maek a difference in someone's life the way he did?

No but I would like to make a big difference like him because he didn't make a difference in just one child he made a difference in millions of childrens lives


Greg would be someone I would like to get to know. I would, also like to work with him because he is very interested in other places and is willing to help and improve them. He would be a good neighbor or friend since he seems like a person who would always have your back.