84 pages 2 hours read

Hena Khan

Amina's Voice

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2017

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Character Analysis

Amina Khokar

Amina is the protagonist of the novel. Through her character, Hena Khan paints a portrait of an earnest, sensitive, talented, and resilient young Muslim girl. Amina struggles with fitting in at her majority white school. As a Pakistani-American Muslim girl, she is the target of bullying based upon her appearance, the aromas of her Pakistani cuisine, and the Urdu language. Through this struggle, Khan depicts the ways that the forces of bigotry and prejudice which proliferate within the cultural, social, and political landscape of America have everyday consequences on the lives of Muslim children. Khan’s portrayal of Amina puts a human face to the victims of Islamophobic prejudice and bigotry.

Amina, as a character, does not function merely as a victim; Khan portrays Amina as a young girl whose everyday life is not that different from that of other American children who are not Pakistani or Muslim: She is interested in pop culture and music, she struggles to adjust to the friendship and social changes that her entrance into middle school inaugurates, and she seeks solace and comfort in her family and surrounding community. She is also resolutely a Pakistani-American Muslim: Her parents are immigrants from Pakistan, she is a practicing Muslim, and her life is characterized by a hybridity of Pakistani and American cultures and beliefs.