Shadow Spinner Essay

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“Often in the old tales, the humblest creatures turn out to be more powerful than you ever

would expect.” (pg.169) In the novel Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher, there are three

characters who are humble, unfavorable and weak in the beginning, yet develop into most

significant, favorable and powerful characters by facing hardships throughout the novel. Marjan

is a protagonist and crippled orphan storyteller. She evolves from feeble and unfavorable girl to

the most significant heroine of the story who faces her fears and challenges. Dunyazad is

another character who develops into brave and devoted person to save her sister, Shaharazad.

Lastly, Zaynab is a pigeon keeper who turns out to be cleaver and favorable character who helps

Marjan is portrayed as a poor orphan girl with maimed foot who is insignificant and

useless in the beginning of the story. “What’s wrong with your foot? They looked at me as if I

were some outlandish creature.” (Pg. 6) People often treated her differently and teased her as

she is nothing but a crippled person because of her outside appearance. She is also considered as

bad luck and useless due to her maimed foot. However, as she works with Shahrazad, she

becomes a courageous, and useful character who saves both of Shahrazad’s and her life. “Like

in stories, where you could set off on an adventure and come to a land where having a crippled

foot or being born poor or woman was so obstacle to living out your dreams.” (Pg. 217) At the

end of the novel, she overcomes her fear of Sultan and even faces him to tell him the story that

teaches him a lesson that saves her life. It clearly shows how she changed from being poor and

handicapped coward to a brave girl by learning to overcome her fear and adversities.

Like Marjan, Dunyazad also develops into a brave and loyal character throughout the

story to save her sister, Shahrazad ‘s life. She is portrayed as a sister who has no power to

help Shahrazad and always lives in fear of her sister getting killed. “She waited, then silent.

Dangerous. As if I would object to a thing because it was dangerous. As if she hadn’t faced

danger every night for nearly three years.” (Pg. 72) Dunyazad and Shahrazad are both living in

fear of getting killed every day. Each night Shahrazad tells a story to please the Sultan and if

the story is not entertaining, death awaits for her. After almost three years, Shahrazad is running

out of stories to tell Sultan and only thing Dunyazad can do to help her sister is to get more

stories. “And this time I am going too. Dunyazad was stubborn- even stubborner than Auntie

Chava sometimes gets.” (Pg. 113) She shows her faith and loyalty to her sister by risking her

life to go meet the storyteller. She knows how the trip will be dangerous, yet she is willing to go

to save her sister, Shahrazad.

Zaynab is depicted as a lunatic and odd character who is ignored by everyone, yet the

ignorance actually let her protect and help Marjan to be alive. “Talking to her birds again, I

heard someone say down below. Crazy old Zaynab.” (Pg. 59) Most people in the harem

believed that Zaynab is just a crazy old lady who only talks to birds. As a pigeon keeper,

Zaynab spends most of her time working with pigeons daily but she was clever. “Zaynab

handed me a rolled up piece of paper and a small heavy sack. The message is from me. I had

never imagined that she could write!” (Pg. 174) Zaynab plays an important role of saving

Marjan and Shahrazad’s lives by helping Marjan escape harem to meet the story teller. As story

continues, she is no longer a crazy old lady but an intelligent and witty lady.

Marjan, Dunyazad, and Zaynab are three characters who are portrayed as nothing but

insignificant cowards, yet transform into a significant and powerful characters who save each

others lives. Marjan who has maimed foot and treated as a crippled and...
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