Where do we see the themes of family and community in I Am Malala?

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The themes of family and community are clearly seen in I Am Malala in the way Malala describes her relationship with her parents and siblings as well as her love for her home in the Swat Valley.

Malala's family highly values education. Her father runs a school, where she and...

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The themes of family and community are clearly seen in I Am Malala in the way Malala describes her relationship with her parents and siblings as well as her love for her home in the Swat Valley.

Malala's family highly values education. Her father runs a school, where she and her siblings basically grow up. As a result, when the Taliban move in and ban girls from going to school, Malala's family is resistant. Malala herself ends up being shot by the Taliban for her disobedience in pursuing her education. Her bond with her family is emphasized during her recovery period. For much of that time, Malala is in a coma, so her "memory" of her recovery is really told from the perspective of her family. They stick by her side very closely and are incredibly anxious about the possibility of losing their daughter. Having to be separated from Malala at points during her recovery is nearly unbearable for them.

Further, Malala talks extensively about her love for her community and homeland in the Swat Valley. She is devastated to have to leave the valley for her safety when the Taliban take over. In the end, when she must go to England for college, she misses the Swat Valley immensely and vows she will return one day to improve her country. Her love for her people and her land is clear throughout the text.

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Themes of family and community in I Am Malala are apparent from the very beginning of the book. In the prologue, the reader learns that Malala's father founded Khushal School before she was even born. Malala's father believed strongly in the value of education for both boys and girls. Malala's family cared for others in their community on a regular basis. For example, Malala ran errands for her neighbors, and her dad was often asked to mediate feuds because he was so well-respected in the community. The community did many things together, such as celebrating Eid in the village. Malala advocated for the scavenger children by begging her dad to give these children free places at his school. Malala's mother filled their home with people and could often be found visiting someone in the hospital. After the earthquake on October 8, 2005, Malala and her family began raising money to help those people affected by the natural disaster.

When the Taliban taped a letter to Khushal School telling Malala's father to stop teaching girls and that the uniforms were un-Islamic, Malala's dad, Ziauddin, continued to educate the girls, but he did change the uniforms. Ziauddin's friend Hidayatullah told Malala's father,

Ziauddin, you have charisma; you can speak up and organize against them. Life isn't just about taking in the oxygen and leaving out carbon dioxide. You can stay there accepting everything from the Taliban or you can make a stand against them.

So, Ziauddin wrote a letter to the local newspaper, the Daily Azadi, saying, "Please don't harm my children, because the God you believe in is the same God they pray to every day. You can take my life but please don't kill my schoolchildren." Malala and her family loved their community so very much that they were willing to speak up and lose their lives if necessary. When Malala was shot, her community rallied around her and her family. Malala's family had a great love for their community, and the community had a great love for them.

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In I Am Malala, the theme of family or community is closely related to the theme of courage. For example, Ziauddin's courage to pursue his own path was inspired by his mother's faith in his abilities. Similarly, Malala's courage was buoyed by the support she received from Ziauddin, Toor Pekai, and Hidayatullah. In Pashtun culture, families and close friends constitute powerful support systems. Malala's happy descriptions of celebratory Eid festivals demonstrate the importance of social cohesion during times of peace. During times of tragedy, the support of family is even more crucial to survival. As IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons), Malala's family was fortunate to be taken in by relatives in Shangla. Other IDPs endured greater suffering; they were displaced to one of three IDP camps, where conditions were far worse. After Malala's shooting and during her convalescence, her close-knit Pashtun community came together to comfort her family and to provide much-needed emotional support. The theme of family reinforces the role support systems have played in Malala's life.

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