The Breadwinner

The Breadwinner Imagery

Bombed-Out Buildings (Visual Imagery)

To emphasize how war has ravaged Kabul, Ellis uses visual imagery, describing Parvana's environment as full of bombed-out buildings. Once-vibrant and brightly lit neighborhoods "had turned from homes and businesses into bricks and dust."

Sandals slapping (Auditory Imagery)

When Parvana first tries to purchase food before being disguised as a boy, a Talib soldier questions and begins to hit her. She talks back to him and then takes off through the market: "Clutching the still-warm nan to her chest, Parvana kept running, her sandals slapping against the pavement." In this example of auditory imagery, Ellis emphasizes the desperate movement of Parvana's feet by describing the sound of her sandals slapping the ground.

White Bones in Rusty-Brown Earth (Visual Imagery)

When Parvana and Shauzia arrive at the graveyard, where the graves have been loosened by bombs, Parvana sees "white bones stick[ing] out of the rusty-brown earth." In this visual image, the ghostly sight of the white bones is emphasized by its contrast against the dark dirt.

Thwack of Sticks (Auditory Imagery)

When Parvana and her mother demand Father's release from prison, Talib soldiers beat them and tell them to go away. Parvana hears rather than feels the thwack of their sticks on her back. In this auditory image, Ellis demonstrates the sudden eruption of the Talib's violence, writing how Parvana perceives the sticks as sound before feeling.