This study guide will help you analyze the short story “A Pair of Jeans” (1998) by Qaisra Shahraz. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it and putting it into perspective.
Qaisra Shahraz (b.1958) is a British-Pakistani writer and journalist. She was born in Pakistan and lives in Manchester, England. She has written several novels and short stories. The short story “A Pair of Jeans” was her literary debut, originally published in 1998. It was later included in the short story collection of the same name, published in 2013.
Below, you can read an extract from our study guide:
The social setting explores cultural differences and the generation gap. This is explicitly mentioned by Fatima when she realizes that Miriam’s way of thinking is radically different from hers:
Never before had she felt the gulf between Miriam’s generation and her own so keenly. The generation and culture gap lay between them as wide as the ocean. She would have never have done this sort of thing in her youth. Unthinkable! No matter what happened, the parents saw to everything. It was they who resolved problems; children did not take things into their own hands.
The contrast between Miriam’s way of thinking and that of Fatima, becomes obvious when Miriam wants to solve the problem by herself, but Fatima thinks this is not proper. Fatima sides with Miriam, who feels humiliated and slighted, but she thinks it is her and Miriam’s father who should defend Miriam’s honor. However, Miriam shows her progressive views when she decides to take care of the matter herself: “ ‘You can sort that out with father, Farook and his parents, but I am going to see Farook personally and right now, mother!’ A defiant tilt arched her eyebrows above her flashing eyes.”