Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Character-Sketch of Feroza in American Brat by Sidhwa


Feroza is the heroine of the novel. She is the female protagonist of the novel. The title of the novel is also related to her character. She is called, “An American Brat” in the closing chapters. The whole story revolves around this single character. All other characters whether they are the major or minor incidents are related to her character.
She is the daughter of Zareen and Cyrus. She is the student of 10th class. She has an attractive and charming personality.

Feroza fiddled with the shawl covering her chest and shoulders. Twisting on the balls of her feet, she finally looked up at die hand­some youth. Her eyes unnaturally bright, her face abnormally red, she said, "I'm sorry, I don't think I'll be able to act in die play. You know how it is — my father won't like it. Please don't come again. Don't phone, please."

Family Background and Physical Appearance

She belongs to a Parsee family. Her parents are of modern time and they are broad-minded. Feroza is a religious girl when we have a first look at her character. She is very conservative. Her mother comments about her:

"She won't even answer the phone anymore! 'What if it's some­one I don't know?' " Zareen mimicked her daughter in English. "I told her — don't be silly. No one's going to jump out of the phone to bite you!"

She is five feet and four inches with a fair complexion. She is a beautiful girl. She is 16 years old. She has daring and dashing personality.


She was a girl of sky-nature in her childhood. She had a very serious and mature nature. She was an anti-social child as:

“By this time Feroza was being invited to an increasing number of birthday parties, and Zareen discovered that she was also antisocial. Invariably the anxious hostess called die next day to inquire if she or someone else had offended die child? Feroza had stayed in her cor­ner with her ayah and couldn't be coaxed to play games. She had not come to the table, even when the candles were blown out and the cake cut. No matter how hard they all tried, Feroza did not smile or say a single word all evening. At the end of this litany, the caller invariably sounded more aggrieved than anxious.”

Feroza was a very stubborn nature. Feroza had been a stubborn child — with a streak of pride bor­dering on arrogance that compelled consideration not always due a child. Awed, Zareen often wondered where she got her pride.

Sensitive Girl

She is a sensible girl. She is not attracted towards the Youngman. She is not slap of emotions. She has self-controlled contours and she knows what is right and what is wrong. The following lines amply show this:

She said, "I'm sorry, I don't think I'll be able to act in die play. You know how it is — my father won't like it. Please don't come again. Don't phone, please."

Backward and Narrow-minded

She is backward and narrow-minded. Her mother is worried about her attitude and behavior. She tells Cyrus that she is really worried about Feroza and says that:
"What's wrong?" Cyrus inquired cautiously, his voice conveying just the right tinge of mild concern. "She's becoming more and more backward every day." Set in tight-lipped censure, Zareen's face betrayed the hours spent in solitary brooding and the dark anxieties her brooding had spawned. Cyrus, who thought his daughter was if anything too for­ward, maintained his guard. .

And these lines show her narrow-mindedness when Zareen goes to her school to bring her back. In the car, she said:

"In the car she said: 'Mummy, please don't come to school dressed like that.' She objected to my sleeveless sari-blouse! Really, this narrow-minded attitude touted by General Zia is infecting her, too. I told her: 'Look, we're Parsee, everybody knows we dress differently.'

Under the above lines, we can say that she is also religious-minded. She is a brilliant student and with this she takes apart in the games and sports.

Relation with her Mother

Zareen Ginwala is her mother. She is a modern lady who wears blouses. But Feroza has contrast with her mother’s character. She wears scarves and is religious-minded.  She has rejected the offer of acting in a play she criticizes her mother’s dress. In the car, she said that mummy should not wear that dress. There are also a clear difference between these two characters and their thinking. Zareen is broad-minded enough to wear sleeveless dresses and she is social woman and attends many parties. But on the other hand, Feroza is of a conservative nature. She is not even ready to attend a phone call. Zareen wanted her daughter to be modern, that’s why she is sending Feroza to America. Zareen says:

"I think Feroza must get away," Zareen continued. "Just for three or four months. Manek can look after her. Travel will broaden her outlook; get this puritanical rubbish out of her head."
Relation with her Father

Cyrus is the name of her father. He is a broad-minded and a person of balanced personality. He is normally a correct person. We come to know about his habit of drinking when Zareen says:

"It's okay for you to run around getting drunk every evening, but I must stop wearing sleeveless blouses."

At another place, Zareen says that it all might do him all good to drinkless. Cyrus is happy when he sees that. As we have already discussed that Feroza is a stubborn child. She was beaten by her father, when she was four but she spoke not a single word till her lips started bleeding.

Relation with her Uncle

Manek is Feroza’s uncle who is only six years older than Feroza. Their relation is shown by these lines:

With only six years between them, Manek and Feroza grew up more as siblings than as uncle and niece. Their hos­tilities often assumed epic proportions.

They are jealous of each other but later on we see that when Feroza goes to America, they become very good friends of each other. They called each other ‘boochinai’ and his nick-name is guardian in the USA.

Her relation with Friends

David has a dancing and dashing personally. He is a beautiful Youngman. Feroza is much impressed by his personality. She falls in love with him. So, with the passage of time, she becomes morally corrupt. She has illicit relationship with David. These lines show her illegal relations with David:

And after this, it was natural for them to be physically close, to tenderly touch each other, to abandon themselves to the ardent intoxication of their youthful hormones. Feroza was as "swept off her feet" as she could wish, as David wished her to be. And the instinct that had guarded her before, now let her go as David released her from the baffling sexual limbo in which Shashi's cooler rhythm and the restraints of their common culture had set her adrift.


So, Feroza is a round as well as dynamic character. We can conclude it in such a way that it is not the fault of Feroza but the fault of her family who gave her so much independence. She was innocent and did not agree to go to America, but she was sent by her family. Just a sixteen years old girl and such a corrupt and destructive world of America proved horrible. So, the result had to be necessarily as that of Feroza.

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Anonymous said...

hmmmm nyc

Anonymous said...

bt make it lil valid

Zammad Aslam said...

Very well and comprehensive...

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