Islamic Culture Essay Example

Parvana is a twelve year old girl, who is travelling across Afghanistan to find her family. She had started the journey with her father, after he dies, twelve- year- old Parvana is left to fend for herself. So dressed as a boy and accompanied by other children on the run, they must find a way to locate her remaining family inside war torn Afghanistan. In the text “Parvana’s Journey” the middle eastern Islamic culture affects the character negatively, one can see this by gender roles, education, and landscape/community. 

Negative Effects on Gender Roles

As one can see, the Islamic culture negatively affects the gender roles by restricting what each gender can do and holds them back in various different ways. For instance, the Islamic culture and the Taliban express that all men have to grow a beard. This can be seen in the novel, “When the Taliban first came and ordered all men to grow beards, Parvana had a hard time getting used to her father's face. He had never worn a beard before. Father had a hard time getting used to it, too. It itched a lot at first.”(p.g 57,Deborah Elis) This indicates that men have to look a certain way, they have to cover up their skin and wear a beard.

This is because the Taliban and the culture are very restrictive on how people look. If you don't follow these rules you would get beaten or even killed. So it's just better off to follow the rules like Parvana’s father. This is also demonstrated in real life too. In the article “Tracking Islamic State”, it states that every man in Mosul is ordered to grow a beard. There is also another example of this in the article “Deseret News.” This article says that, “In Afghanistan, beards are the rule.” These are real life examples just like the book. This research also shows men have to grow beards, just like Parvana’s father. After all, the Islamic culture affected Parvana negatively. In addition, the Taliban forbid women from going into shops or doing any shopping, men are supposed to do everything, women can’t even go outside without a man.

The novel shows this when Parvana has to dress a boy to do the shopping for the family. “Women were not allowed to go into the shops. Men were supposed to do all the shopping, but if women did it, they had to stand outside and call in for what they needed. Parvana had seen shopkeepers beaten for serving women inside their shops.”(P.g 123, Deborah Elis) this quote shows that women have no rights compared to men. This can be emphasized in the article “Women's Rights In Afghanistan” and “Women's Rights In Afghanistan-Violence On The Rise.” These articles explain that women have no rights and are just used, just like Parvana and her family. This influences Parvana negatively because she has to dress as a boy to go do all of the shopping for her family. By doing this Parvana puts herself at risk of getting killed or beaten, so she thinks of that everytime she does something outside. In conclusion the culture affects the gender roles negatively.

Impact on Education

The Islamic culture resentfully affects the education and learning abilities of the people. In the Islamic culture, you are forbidden from getting any kind of foreign education. This is expressed in the novel when, “The two soldiers grabbed her father. The other two began searching the apartment, kicking the remains of dinner all over the mat."Leave him alone!" Mother screamed. "He has done nothing wrong!""Why did you go to England for your education? the soldier yelled at Father. "Afghanistan doesn't need your foreign ideas!" They yanked him toward the door.``Afghanistan needs more illiterate thugs like you, said father.”(P.g 180,Deborah Elis) This shows that the Islamic culture and the Taliban do not like foreign education. Which this means education should only come from the Karam and no other culture or country. If you do not follow the rules the Taliban will raid your house and beat you, because you got education. This is emphasised in the article “The Taliban's War On Education'' also “Education In Afghanistan” same as “Why The Taliban Targets School.” All of this research shows that the culture and the Taliban does not want forgein education or people that have education. This affects Parvana negatively because she knows that she can not get educated, if she does the people that taught her will get beat. So Parvana has to hide her education. 

Another example is the Taliban does not like books they do not approve even though Parvana's father only has books they do not like. This is shown in the novel from this quote. “Inside the room, the other two soldiers were ripping open the toshaks with knives and tossing things out of the cupboard.Father's books! At the bottom of the cupboard was a secret compartment her father had built to hide the few books that had not been destroyed in one of the bombings. Some were English books about history and literature. They were kept hidden because the Taliban burned books they didn't like.”(P.g,114,Deborah Elis)The education expectation is that you cannot read or do anything that the Taliban does not advise, anything they dont like they will burn. A Lot of books also get burned or ruined because of the bombing. If you wanted something like a book you would need to hide it.The taliban will raid your house and burn all the books they don't advise, they will also beat you if you have them. This is happening in real life also shown by the articles “Afghanistan's War On Books” and “Why The Taliban Doesn't Like Books.” This research shows that the Taliban burns and destroys books, just like Parvana. This affects Parvana in a horrible way because she knows that if she learns and reads books, something bad will always happen. In conclusion the culture and the Taliban affect education in a negative way. 

Affecting Parvana

One can see the Islamic culture unsympathetically affects Parvana and the landscape/community. In the novel a man had to rebuild his house five times because the bombs kept destroying his house. The quote for this example is “ I asked the man why his house looked like it was beaten down, he said to me , I have rebuilt my house 5 times because of all the bombing, but nothing will hold me back from living, and rebuilding my house.”(P.g 210, Deborah Elis) This quote explains that the bombs from the war destroyed most of the landscape and housing, of the people so they keep rebuilding them, to keep their pride not give up. In Afghanistan there has been a war against the Taliban for a long time so they keep fighting and destroying the landscape.

This is shown in real life from the articles “The US Has Been Dropping Bombs Like Crazy Lately”and “The Taliban Kill 95 People With An Ambulance bomb” These articles show that there are many bombing that ruin the landscape like the guys house in the novel. This affects the character badly because everything she sees gets destroyed so she can not  get connected to something because it will end up getting destroyed. This shows how the landscape and community affects Parvana and the other character negatively. Another example from the novel is when Parvana sees and watches the little kids play on a rusted soviet tank.

The quote for this is “when I went outside I saw a bunch of little kids swinging and playing on an old rusted soviet tank having fun, this is what kids did on their past time.”(P.g 36,Deborah Elis) from this you can see that the landscape expectation is that kids will find a way to have fun in afghan even though there is nothing to play on, they will have fun on anything because they don't know any better.The culture is reinforcing it because the war is still going on so anything they build will just get destroyed so there is no point, so they will just play on non broken things. You can see this in real life from the articles “Tanks In Afghanistan” and “Soviet-Afghan War Tanks,Vehicles, And Artillery” This research shows that when the Russians lost the war they just got up and left everything there to rust. This affects Parvana and the other characters negatively because they cannot have a fun childhood, all they know is war, war, war ,war. Even though it's just war, they still need to have fun. In conclusion the culture and the Taliban affect the landscape and community resentfully. 

In summary the Middle Eastern Islamcic culture affects the gender roles, education, and landscape/community in a negative way.

Works Cited

“Education in Afghanistan.” Razia's Ray of Hope,

“In Afghanistan, Beards Are the Rule.”, Deseret News, 1 Dec. 1998,

“Kabul Attack: Taliban Kill 95 with Ambulance Bomb in Afghan Capital.” BBC News, BBC, 28 Jan. 2018,

McCarthy, Niall. “The U.S. Never Dropped As Many Bombs On Afghanistan As It Did In 2018 [Infographic].” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 13 Nov. 2018,

Mohammadi, Reza. “Afghanistan's War on Books | Reza Mohammadi.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 8 June 2009,

Rfe/rl. “Every Man In Mosul Ordered To Grow A Beard.” RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty, RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty, 29 Apr. 2015,

“Soviet-Afghan War Tanks, Vehicles, and Artillery (1979 - 1989).” Military Weapons,

“The Taliban's War on Education.” Human Rights Watch, 28 June 2010,

“The Taliban's War on Education.” Human Rights Watch, 28 June 2010,

“Tanks in Afghanistan.” Army Tanks,

“A Timeline of the U.S. War in Afghanistan.” Council on Foreign Relations, Council on Foreign Relations,

“Where We Work: Afghanistan.” Womens Rights in Afghanistan,

“Why the Taliban Targets Schools - BBC Newsbeat.” BBC News, BBC, 17 Dec. 2014,

“Why the Taliban Targets Schools - BBC Newsbeat.” BBC News, BBC, 17 Dec. 2014,

“Why the Taliban Targets Schools - BBC Newsbeat.” BBC News, BBC, 17 Dec. 2014,



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