Going Deeper Into the Book


Symbolism is a narrative technique used by many authors. A symbol is a thing that signifies something else. This narrative technique is used in the novel “Shahana” by Rosanne Hawke. To find the symbols you have to think critically about the book and it was not an easy job to find them, but I found some. There are two symbols in the book and they are Rani, the goat and Neelum river.

The first symbol I found in the book was Rani, the goat. This goat symbolises hope because Shahana feels that with it she can survive and that is the most valuable thing she has. Without it, she could not have taken care of her brother as she does. Since her brother, Tanveer is allergic to buffalo milk, he has to drink the goat milk because that is what she has. Rani is also important for other characters in the book such as the boy that they found at the river, Zahid. When Rani is with him, he feels that he get stronger and that it is his friend. Hope is an ability to see an opportunity in the challenges and therefore is hope crucial in life. That is why this symbol is very important in the story, especially for Shahana, because the hope for that she can get a better life one day is what that makes her able to get through all of the different obstacles. The author uses this symbol very often, but it takes some time to realise that it is a symbol. Rani, the goat is crucial for the story and for all the characters, because it symbolises for something so significant as hope.  Continue reading “Going Deeper Into the Book”

Going to the Core of the Book

Almost everything has a message, and the same rule applies to literature. In literature, it is called theme and that is the moral of the story that anyone can be taken into anyone’s lives. To be able to find the theme we have to go deep into the book and try to find it. The novel I am reading is called “Shahana” and it has several themes that can be meaningful for all human beings.

Firstly, forgiveness and letting go are one of the main themes in the book. In the start, Shahana
 hated militants, especially Indian militants because they had killed her family members and that is why she has to live independently and take care of her younger sibling. If the Indian militants did not kill her family she could maybe go to school and not work. All these thoughts are in Shahana´s mind and she wants to take revenge on the opponents. Then she meets Armaan, an Indian militant that helps her out when she needs it the most. She learns that she can´t hate someone throughout her life and that forgiveness is the key to success.

Another theme in this book is that we can´t paint everybody with the same brush. Armaan is an Indian militant, but he has a good heart and that is the most important. He is a good person even though he is a part of the Indian army.  Every individual is different you can´t judge the book by its cover, you have to look at each individual. Everybody is different and you have to treat them as the person they are not as a group or race they belong to.

Themes are important because they are subjective and can apply to anyone. “Shahana” has two important themes, such as forgiveness is essential in order to live a good life. As well as, that we cannot treat everybody the same because everybody is unique.


Through Shahana’s Eyes


In the novel “Shahana”, the author Rosanne Hawke used the third person limited and this will allow readers to concentrate on the storyline and travel along with Shahana for more suspense.

Shahana is not a normal child who gets everything she wants and her childhood is very different than what we believe as normal. The best thing about the novel is story narration from Shahana’s point of view, maybe the caption of the series “Through my eyes” suits amazingly because we see a war from a child´s perspective. As a kid, taking family’s responsibility is not a simple task. We believe that the world is peaceful and our generation children all are getting what they need, in terms of education and family life, but this novel will break all of our beliefs and show you the other dimension of the world. It might be difficult to digest but the novel set the path for you to verify and explore further. The best example from the novel is when the author tries to show that Shahana pretends to be brave in front of her brother, but in her mind, she doubts that she is brave enough to survive such a situation. For instance, in this excerpt we understand Shahana better: “Shahana tries to sound brave for her brother. “I will repair it,” she says.” While reading this we get to know that she wants to be caring for her brother even though they are in such a difficult situation.

Shahana still a child but her situation and neighbourhood forces her to be mature enough and strong enough to face the world. Although the society treats her like a child, Shahana feels like she needs someone that can take care of her. It is difficult to accept the sudden transformation as an adult in your childhood. This is the reason novel travels with Shahana’s point of view and its make easier for readers to understand the thinking of Shahana.

To make the novel more interesting, I think author purposely used the third-person limited in the novel and did not explain all others perspective. This style is good and it gives us focus on the storyline. To give some more interest to the storyline the author creates some suspense in between. For instance when her brother Tanveer disappeared and she does not know where he is. If the readers knew it already then it would not be as interesting.

In my opinion, the third person limited point of view that is used in the story is essential for the novel. If this was different, then the story would not be as thrilling and would not give the same reading experience.

Around Shahana


The setting of a story takes the reader into the place of the story. The book “Shahana” written by Hawke is a fictional novel, but it takes place in a true setting. The situation around the protagonist Shahana is very close to the reality. This novel explains how it is for a teenage girl to live close to the border and a war. The setting is crucial for the story in this novel.

The novel is set in Azad Kashmir on the Pakistan side of the “Line of control”, also called LoC. She is living in a conflict zone, where she can see soldiers frequently. The Kashmir conflict started in 1942 and is still ongoing. Kashmir is a dangerous place to live and especially on the line of control. Former president of United States, Bill Clinton said in March 2000 to BBC:

“The most dangerous place in the world today, I think you could argue, is the Indian subcontinent and the line of control in Kashmir”  -Bill Clinton

Shahana is a teenage girl which is living in a conflict zone. This novel tells us how a commoner is living in Pakistan where norms, customs and traditions are very important.

The social environment is fundamental to the story because the cultural aspect is important in the community she lives in. For example, Shahana saves Zahid a boy from India.  In a Muslim home, you cannot let unrelated males live in your home, but Shahana breaks the norms. She is also having an Indian in her residence who is a person from “the enemy´s side”.

My life is completely different from Shahana´s. because I have, education and I am living a peaceful life. I am so privileged to go to school every day, whereas Shahana has lost this opportunity. I live in a place where it is very peaceful and there is no war, but Shahana is living close to the border and she is living a dangerous life. Since I live in Norway I have the freedom to do as I want and I have equal opportunities. On the other hand, Shahana does not have this freedom because she lives in a place where the culture decides what she can do and not do.

The plot takes place in the present because this is how it is in Pakistan today. For instance, this book tells us about half-widows. They are women who had lost their husbands, but they are not sure if he is dead. These women are treated unethically by the society because they do not have legal entitlements for being a widow so their rights are compromised. Since the book tells us about the present we know that this is the life of many children on the India-Pakistan border and this is also the lives of many children that are living in conflict zones such as Syria and Yemen.

The setting of the story is essential for the plot because without the setting that is featured in this story the story would not make any sense. This book is an eye-opener for different global issues such as child labour, poverty, child marriage and orphans. This book is not just an entertainment novel, because this novel is describing how children are suffering in wars.


https://snl.no/Kashmir-konflikten 29.01.18

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/687021.stm, 29.01.18



Skimming Through the First Few Pages


I recently started to read the book “Shahana” written by Rosanne Hawke. In the first few pages, we get to know Shahana and about the circumstances around her. Shahana is a girl living in a small village in Pakistan during the Kashmir war. She is living with her sick brother Tanveer and has to take care of her family. In the meantime, she is supposed to take care of a new boy called Zahid who has been found nearby the river. She is an interesting character with a lot of valuable qualities.

Shahana is a character who admires me because she is strong and independent. She is caring for her brother Tanveer who has breathing problems. She is the breadwinner of her family and she needs to earn enough to support her brother’s medical expenses. The best characteristic about Shahana is her helping nature, even in a poor condition that she already is in. I am absolutely in love with the character Shahana.

After reading the first chapter I was totally fascinated by the book and it did make an impression on me. I learnt about the seriousness and difficulty that is connected to living in a war zone. I have never lived in a such situation, but it does still affect me. When I am reading the first few pages I was drowned into the circumstances around Shahana. I feel like I am her and that I can feel her pain in her tough condition.

This girl meets a few obstacles through her journey. For instance, Shahana is working with a greedy employer called Mr. Nadir who is also utilizing children as labours. Unsurprisingly she has to face a lot of challenges from her employer, because he has some cunning suggestions.  He suggests that Shahana should get married and by that her brother can be employed, but Shahana, she knows that she is too young for marriage and her brother’s abduction will happen only over her dead body. So, she is so stubborn on her decisions and refuses to accept all of her employer’s suggestion. The key point of this story is that she is strong in her opinion and none can change her mind.

All in all, I am falling in love with this character. I absolutely admire her confidence, courage, brilliance and her kind heart.