“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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