A pair of Jeans
A pair of Jeans
A pair of Jeans
Informationen zur Short Story “A Pair of Jeans“ (Qaisra Shahraz, 1988) : General info, Background, Content, Character
A 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...
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made Content Miriam, the protagonist, lives in the UK in a big Pakistani community à family are Muslims ✓ wants to marry Farook ✓ she comes back from a hiking trip with 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