What is Malala's relationship with her brothers like?

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erinbranham eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Malala is from a small, lower middle-class family, with two parents and two younger siblings, both boys (Khushal and Atal). A small family is unusual at the time, with most families in this area consisting of 7-8 children. In fact, Malala’s family structure is different in several ways from the average family of Mingora at the time. Her parents married for love, and her father valued his daughter and her access to education, an extremely controversial opinion in their country.

When it comes to her younger brothers, Malala does not particularly get along with Khushal, as they have differing opinions on the importance of education, with Khushal not wanting to continue his own and Malala chastising him for his lack of desire to learn. However, this small disagreement does not summarize their relationship. She has pure love and affection for her brothers, with or without the small quarrels that she remembers almost fondly. Each brother deeply respects and looks up to Malala, and they feel deeply hurt when she is shot, frightened over the thought of losing the sister they love so dearly.

During her absence and recovery, Khushal and Atal admit to having missed their sister dearly but quickly go back to bickering like the “normal siblings” they are. While Malala has an extraordinary story, in a lot of ways her relationships with her brothers are quite average, with little fights and quarrels like one might find in any other family. She feels like her brothers help balance her during her wild journey and that they remind her of the importance of family.

Read the study guide:
I Am Malala

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