Brick Lane Chapters 4-6 Summary & Analysis

Monica Ali

Brick Lane

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Brick Lane Chapters 4-6 Summary & Analysis

Chapter 4 Summary

A letter from Hasina indicates troubles brewing in her marriage. Nazneen is alarmed when she receives no responses to her three subsequent letters. She finds joy, however, in her new friend, Razia. Nazneen indulges her friend in Hasina’s romantic image of her love marriage, causing Razia to vow that her daughter will only have one “over my dead body”.

Nazneen’s life settles into a regular pattern where she calms her frantically beating heart by shutting herself off from the erotic desire possessing her only sister. As she stoically sinks into her new life, she becomes pregnant. Her reaction is to bust out of confinement. She leaves the carefully drawn boundaries of her daily existence and walks to the end of a deserted brick lane, surpassing another boundary in venturing beyond the narrow confines of her immigrant neighborhood. Then, she enters the larger city on her own for first time, with its gleaming glass buildings and the world of the business of men in suits and women with strange hair.  She walks until she is lost.  Seated alone on a bench, she recalls the letter from her sister revealing why she hadn’t responded to her three letters: she ran away from her husband, who was beating her.  Hasina describes a beggar woman, a metaphor revealing the place to which she has fallen, begging to be lifted out of her state of homelessness.

Nazneen`s unconscious desire to become lost is a means of identifying with her sister’s experience of being lost in the indifference of the big city.Now, she can grieve for her sister`s lost innocence and the courage she will need to endure the societal branding as a “fallen woman.” Yet, in attempting to mirror her sister`s fate, she is forced to realize how very opposite their conditions have become. Her own struggle to create an identity isn’t helped by relating to her sister’s suffering. Instead, the running away serves as a type of initiation rite and in finding her way back home, she uses one of the few words she knows in English and is acknowledged in return. Nazneen…

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