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pair of Jeans
General information
by Qaisra Shahraz
published in 1988, revised 2005
short story
Town in northern England
urban area (semi-de
pair of Jeans
General information
by Qaisra Shahraz
published in 1988, revised 2005
short story
Town in northern England
urban area (semi-de

pair of Jeans General information by Qaisra Shahraz published in 1988, revised 2005 short story Town in northern England urban area (semi-detached houses, university) middle-class families from Pakistan - late 1980s Cultural & historical background MUSLIM WOMEN IN GREAT BRITAIN - the eldest male is head of the household, responsible for its image in society - female sphere of influence is confined to the home - feeling of isolation amongst Pakistani women (speak little english, „protected" from establishing contact with ,,hostile" British Christian environment) - keeping cultural traditions, religious rights and rules - stabilize their identities as members of the Pakistani Muslim community Marriage social and economic institution, guarantees continuity cultural/religious traditions, offers moral and economic support - M. More of an alliance between two families, than a union between two individuals ,,In England you marry the woman you love, in India we love the woman we marry" Arranged marriage = whole family clan is involved Forced marriages are violating British Law - therefore less frequent, arranged marriages are still popular. - Nowadays, most Muslim women feel that they are able to reject candidates who their parents consider suitable - good education - considered to increase the chances of a girl to make a good" marriage - tradition clothing still important, though adaptions are made Content Miriam, the protagonist, lives in the UK in a...

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big Pakistani community à family are Muslims ✓ wants to marry Farook ✓she comes back from a hiking trip her friends à still wears jeans & short t-shirt not only her parents are at home but also her future parents in law → are shocked about the way Miriam is dressed à very religious ✓ Miriam tries to save the situation by changing her clothes as soon as she comes in à Farook's parents still leave the house ✓ Ayub & Begum (Farook's parents) discuss about the occurrence àhave doubts that Miriam is the right woman for their son ✓ Ayub wants to cancel the wedding, Begum still believes in Miriam but cannot assert herself ✓ Begum doesn't want to tell Fatima (Miriam's mother) the truth about the reason for the wedding refusal à tells her that she promised her sister that Farook will marry her daughter 1: ✓ Miriam is disappointed & furious à throws away all her "western" clothes ✓ She cannot believe that Farook rejected her à has doubts that it was Farook's decision 2. ✓ Miriam is confident & calls Farook à asks him why he would cancel the wedding so sudden Characters Miriam - second generation immigrant- -adapted to western society (college, western friends, western clothing) - muslim - engaged to Farook - feels at ease in both cultures - when Pakistani: (clothing) - embraces a new set of values feels comfortable in clothing - confident, in full control of herself - feels Muslim Asian - acting out the role for other people to see - by other people: smart, modest, epitome of a perfect girl, educated, good behavior, not westernized) - cannot accept to be characterized simply by her outward appearance (rebellious) - attempts at combining both cultures and seeking acceptance for her deliberately chosen values - thinks she is the same inside no matter her appearance, hasn't found her tru identity and place within society and within her family yet - judged by Farook's parents for her western appearance - cannot accept her western lifestyle, her being westernized (cancel the wedding), ashamed - Fatima usually accepts her daughter lifestyle, but is ashamed when Farook's parents see her dressed like that, notices Miriam's split personality Fatima - mother of Miriam - married - accepts her daughter being westernized, liberal education - wants her daughter to have a good future, cares about Miriam's wellbeing good relationship with Begum (even close friends), trusted her, angry at Begum for disappointing her family - still influenced by her traditional culture but integrated herself to a certain degree - culture gap between her and Miriam (would have never done those things in her youth), intergenerational differences - cares about family honor (very angry at the cancelled wedding) Begum - wife of Ayub two sons (Farook and Usman) - dressed in Pakistani clothing, traditional women - inferior to her husband: walking silently behind her husband, smaller part in the conversation, husband decides, does not dare to disagree - rather keeps her opinion to herself to not disagree, husband leaves her to sort out uncomfortable things - nice, polite, clean, organized - wished for her son to have the perfect wife, for her to have the perfect daughter-in-law (perfect Pakistani girl) great affection towards Miriam, does not want to cancel the wedding but thinks the same as her husband, does not agree with Miriam's western lifestyle Ayub - represents the conservative and narrow-minded attitude of Muslim immigrants trying to protect their traditional patriarchal family pattern by rejecting any form of liberal Western lifestyle - dominating position makes an open minded exchange of opinions within the family impossible - willing to sacrifice the well-being of his son instead of tolerating "rebellious" Western attitudes