I Am Malala

I Am Malala Summary and Analysis of Parts Four and Five: Chapters 21-24, Epilogue


When the bus driver realized what had happened, he drove the bus straight to the hospital. Someone notified Malala's father, and he rushed to the hospital after delivering a speech. He had always believed the Taliban would come for him, but he realized that they had gone after Malala because they knew that if they targeted her, they would break him too. Many other people, including Madam Maryam, showed up to the hospital as well. The other two girls who had been injured by bullets in the shooting were also in the hospital.

A helicopter came to airlift her to a military hospital in Peshawar, and her father and Madam Maryam came with her. CT scans revealed that the bullet had gone very close to her brain. Her mother and brother Atal arrived in Peshawar by road, and many politicians and government officials came to see her as well. Because Malala's brain started swelling, doctors had to remove a piece of her skull to allow it space. While Malala was recovering, the Taliban issued a statement claiming responsibility for her shooting. They claimed she was promoting Western ideas in Swat.

Two British doctors arrived in Peshawar from Rawalpindi to assess Malala: Dr. Javid Kayani and Dr. Fiona Reynolds. They determined that the hospital's conditions were not ideal for her recovery, and worried she would die if she remained here; so, Dr. Fiona arranged to have her moved to Rawalpindi to an army hospital with better intensive care. The hospital was put on lockdown with a battalion of soldiers guarding it. They all feared the Taliban would attack the hospital. Here, Malala's father read the newspapers and heard about the huge international reaction to Malala's shooting, with statements from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and USA President Obama.

Dr. Fiona stayed with Malala and the family and kept them optimistic, but told them that if they wanted the best treatment for her, they should send her abroad. She was given the go-ahead to be moved to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, UK. The ruling family of the United Arab Emirates offered their private jet to move her. They told Malala's father that only he would be able to accompany her because they were missing travel documents for her mother and brothers, but he decided he could not leave them alone in Pakistan because he had a responsibility to them as well; thus, he trusted the doctors with Malala's care. He and the rest of the family would follow to the UK as soon as they had the documents. The next day, Malala left Pakistan for the first time in her life.

Malala woke up in Birmingham a week after the shooting. She did not know where she was or what had happened, but the nurses tried to make her comfortable, even though she constantly worried about how her family would be paying for this expensive treatment. They finally allowed her to speak with her parents over the phone, and her father kept promising they would be there as soon as they could. Meanwhile in Pakistan, the army was conducting door-to-door searches in Swat seeking out the people who had shot Malala.

Malala was recovering, though most of her hair had been cut off and one side of her face was distorted. The nurses revealed to Malala exactly what happened to her at last, and her one regret was that she did not get to speak to her attackers before they shot her. Rehenna, the hospital's Muslim chaplain, helped her understand the shooting from an Islamic perspective. Her family was still stuck in Pakistan, being shifted around and misled by multiple officials, unsure when they would actually be able to leave the country. Malala kept asking her parents to bring her school bag so she could study, believing that she would be home by November.

After ten days, Malala’s family finally made it to her in Birmingham. By this time, Malala had befriended the hospital staff, remaining particularly close to Dr. Fiona, but the days felt long as she waited for her parents. The staff all told Malala how she had inspired people around the world to pray for her, and admirers had sent her all kinds of gifts to the hospital. When Malala's family arrived, she wept; they had few possessions with them because no one realized at that time that they would not be going back home. They worried about Malala's face, as a damaged facial nerve had changed her famous smile.

It was revealed that Malala's attacker had been a man named Ataullah Khan, who had been arrested in 2009. Pakistani officials promised they would find him, but Malala doubted they would ever follow through on this promise. Malala had another operation to try to correct the nerve in her face, but it still took months before the nerve slowly started functioning again and she could smile. Her headaches stopped and she was able to read again. Her first trip out of the hospital was to the Botanical Gardens with her mother. The president of Pakistan, Asif Zardari, came to visit her soon after, and informed them that the government of Pakistan would be paying Malala's medical bills. He also gave Malala's father a post as a Pakistani diplomat for education, so he would be able to remain in the UK. Back in Pakistan, there was a rumor going around that Malala had not been shot at all, or that her father had shot her, in order to achieve international fame and live a life of luxury abroad.

Malala finally moved out of the hospital to live with her family in a Birmingham apartment, and Malala and her family had trouble adjusting to this completely different culture. Malala Skyped her friends back home in Mingora, talking about how they had a spot saved for her at school. She continued to undergo operations to fix her eardrum and replace the portion of her skull that had been removed. Malala ends her memoir by thanking God for everything he has done for her, and by recounting what happened to the other girls who had been shot: one of them, Shazia, was offered a scholarship to a university in Wales. Malala believes she was spared for a reason, so that she could continue helping people.

The epilogue briefly covers what happened after these events. The family moved from their apartment to a house, but it was difficult for all of them to adjust. Malala's mother missed the women from back home, and still did not speak English. Malala began going to school in Birmingham, and her father spent most of his time going to conferences on education. Malala occasionally had flashbacks of the shooting, one in particular when she went to Mecca, Islam's most holy city, and prayed at the Kaaba. On her sixteenth birthday in 2013 she spoke at the United Nations.

She said she knows she will go back to Pakistan sometime, but that her father continues to make excuses for why she cannot. The situation in Pakistan worsens each day, with more and more schools being blown up. Drone attacks and wars have also taken their toll. For Malala, though, her valley is still the most beautiful place in the world. She ends the epilogue with the line, "I am Malala. My world has changed but I have not."


Up until this point, Malala has narrated her memoir based on her own firsthand observations and experiences, save for the brief time she spent talking about her parents' childhood. In the aftermath of her shooting, however, she was either unconscious or had no memory of the events. Thus, for the first time she is narrating her own life based on what other people have told her happened. Readers have to place a lot of trust in the people who fed her this information, because Malala did not see any of this with her own eyes.

As previously discussed, Malala has a support network of strong women around her, and these women are essential in the aftermath of her shooting. There is of course her mother, a nurturing figure who allows her faith to guide her and believes strongly that God will provide for Malala's recovery. There is Madam Maryam, a woman who has always had Malala's best interests in mind and who embodies the ideal of education that Malala has always fought for, who remains by her side as she is moved from hospital to hospital, going above and beyond the expectations for a school principal. Finally, Dr. Fiona comes into the picture, easing Malala's transition into an entirely new world. While her father has always been a wonderful role model, it is important for Malala, a young woman, to have these female role models as well.

Pakistan's reaction to Malala's shooting is interestingly split, and it confirms much of the suspicion that Malala has had about her country over the years. On the one hand, the government shows support for her—not because they want to, but because they feel they have to in order to maintain their international image. On the other hand, individual people of Pakistan—even many from her home, Swat—are suspicious of her because they have been trained to expect conspiracies and subterfuge, believing that she staged her shooting just so she could move abroad and live in luxury. Malala's home is sending her mixed messages, and though she longs to return, she is intelligent enough to understand the many layers of trouble she would face if she did.

But regardless of the corruption, rumors, and conspiracies, and regardless of the fact that Pakistan did nothing to protect her from being attacked from the Taliban, Malala still harbors a deep love for her home. Though she has left, Swat Valley is a part of her, and she will always be able to hold on to the way it was before the Taliban. The Taliban's wrath did not spoil her perception of her valley, and this is a shining example of the way the places we grew up stay with us forever, even if we move along to different places in life.

By the end of the memoir, it is clear that Malala has achieved exactly what she wanted, despite the unconventional circumstances for doing so: she has achieved the sort of international fame that amplifies her voice and ensures that people all over the world will hear her loud and clear when she calls for universal education for all children. She has been given audiences with some of the most important officials in the world, people who can ensure that her goals become reality. And she has become a role model for many children, paving the way for them to similarly speak out for the values they cherish. Though something terrible happened to her, Malala Yousafzai used this experience to effect good in the world, which truly sets her apart from so many others.