Malala Yousafzai & Christina Lamb

I Am Malala

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I Am Malala Major Character Analysis


Readers watch Malala grow throughout her narrative. From the beginning, readers understand Malala is different. She points out that her father put her name on a family tree normally reserved for males. She also notes her father calls her Jani Mun, or soulmate. Later, Malala’s cousins call her unconventionality “modern.” In many ways, Malala is the modern girl of Swat, though she realizes later she isn’t modern at all. Regardless, it is both what makes her different and the support of her family that makes Malala grow and evolve.

Many of Malala’s early stories are about her father and his activities. However, as time passes, the narrative shifts. The shift in narrative matches the end when Malala notes her father becomes known because of her, and not the other way around. Through her parents’ support, Malala succeeds in becoming her own, modern girl—one who can advocate for others, one who appears “dangerous” enough to be shot.

Ziauddin, Malala’s father

Malala’s father is a pillar of resilience for Malala. He, like Malala, pursued an education. Even without his parents’ support, Ziauddin carves out a place for himself in college—learning to debate and speak. As a child, a stutter plagues him, especially around his father, who sees it as a flaw. However, Ziauddin does not let his stutter define him. He learns to speak publically, much to the delight of others. His lifelong passion for learning translates in a battle for everyone’s right to education. He builds several schools until he finally finds success.

In Ziauddin are the greatest of Malala’s qualities. It is apparent he passes them on to her throughout the narrative. From him, she learns the importance of education, perseverance, and the importance of speaking out. Even in his darkest of hours, under threat, Ziauddin never quits fighting. He speaks out against the Taliban and he campaigns for local issues. He teaches Malala that persistence makes a difference.


Fazlullah becomes Malala’s motivator. He is the face of the Taliban in Swat. Although, at first, she sees him as a possible pillar of hope, she quickly sees his true intentions. When he orders girls…

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