Characters

The main characters in “She Shall Not Be Moved” by Shereen Pandit are the narrator, Mariam and the Somali woman. The white women on the bus and the bus driver are secondary characters, yet they are very important for the way in which they help the action develop and for their symbolism.

The narrator

The narrator of the story is also the protagonist.

Outer characterisation

In terms of outer characterisation, we find out that she is living in London and that she has a small daughter called Mariam whom she must take to her dance lessons.

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Inner characterisation

In terms of inner characterisation, the first lines of the short story indicate that the woman is consumed with regret. Note that, in the following fragment, the word “if” is repeated four times, indicating the woman’s regret of only being a bystander:

I swear, if it hadn’t been so late, I’d have done something about it. Or if the previous two number 201 buses hadn’t vanished into thin air. Or if it hadn’t been so cold. Or if I didn’t have Mariam with me, her almost turning blue with the cold. Yes, I would definitely have done something about it, there and then. I would have given him a piece of my mind. And them.

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Mariam

Mariam is the narrator’s daughter and a very important character in the story because she displays the way in which her mother was supposed to behave.

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Inner characterisation

Mariam’s inner characterisation reveals her innocence and immediate reaction when witnessing injustice. Her mother depicts her as being “a kid with attitude” (l. 105), which is revealed from her reaction while seeing what happens with the Somali woman:

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The Somali woman

The Somali woman is the one who triggers the action and the inner conflict in the mind of the narrator.

Outer characterisation

Her outer characterisation immediately makes her origin clear:

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Inner characterisation

In terms of inner characterisation, the Somali woman comes across as strong, fierce and stubborn. When the driver asks her to get off the bus,...

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The bus driver and the white women

Even though the bus driver is a black man, he is very violent and aggressive towards the black Somali woman. As she puts it, he is a “slave” – not an actual slave, but a man who lives under the domination of the whites,...

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