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The Breadwinner

By Deborah Ellis (2)

Deborah Ellis’ The Breadwinner caused great international stir when it debuted, and this directly correlates to the novel’s timely subject matter – Afghanistan life under Taliban rule. Based on interviews Ellis conducted with Afghan women refugees, the story of Parvana, an eleven-year-old Afghan girl, comes to life with vivid and gritty authenticity. Parvana lives in relative seclusion, forced to be covered head to toe if she ever ventures outside due to Taliban restrictions. Her family relies heavily on their father, who is the only man of age in the family, and therefore the only person who can earn a living in this male-centric society. A learned university scholar, her father deciphers and composes letters for money, just enough to keep the family alive. However when the Taliban tears Parvana’s father from his family, it is up to Parvana’s courage and defiant spirit to keep food on the table. Thus, the new titular ‘breadwinner’ cuts her hair off, disguising herself as a boy, and begins to further navigate the dangerous society she lives in. Ellis’ novel, published in 2000, is critically acclaimed for its realistic portrayal of a Taliban ruled Afghanistan, and the stout valor of her main character, whose narrative style gives an intimate glimpse at a child’s view of totalitarianism.

Novel Study: The Breadwinner (eBook) cover

Novel Study: The Breadwinne...Teacher Tested Educational PublicationsTTEPN10356 Pages, Grades 4 - 8

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The Breadwinner: A Literature Guide for Classroom Use (eBook) cover

The Breadwinner: A Literatu...Teacher Created ResourcesTCR221648 Pages, Grades 5 - 8

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