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Chapter Eight

Chapter Eight

When Shireen finally comes back it is weeks later. Shireen arrives in geography, and Roya hopes she will write something in the diary, but she just puts it away. At recess in the prayer hall Shireen reveals to Roya that her parents locked her up for three weeks. Her mother called her into the kitchen one day to help her prepare dinner, because Ali was home from the Army, and so was Eemon. Her mother warned her not to do anything, and Shireen swore, but called Eemon anyway and told him to meet her at the mosque. They met and talked for hours. After dinner, Ali came into the room and said she had spent the day with Eemon, and her father slapped her. She said with that single slap it was enough to make her lose all respect for her father. Later her brother told her he had done it for her own protection and because he loved her. After that slap, her brother had lost respect as well, and was starting to question their father. She said she eventually apologized to her father, although she did not mean it. She had learned a lesson, that in the pursuit of freedom she would have to lie, even to her father.

Before she leaves for lunch, Shireen gives Roya something wrapped that feels like a little notebook. On her way home Roya peeks and is shocked to find a copy of The Little Black Fish. She hides the book under her mattress and hurriedly goes to eat. After excusing herself to go study, she reads the book.

The story begins with baby fish listening to a bedtime story about the ocean. They go to sleep, but one little black fish stays up all night thinking about it and decides to find it. He has adventures that are funny, challenging, and scary, but she does not think the story is extraordinary, nor does she see the hidden message. That afternoon, Roya returns the book to Shireen. Roya tells her she does not get the message, and Shireen suggests she is looking for the wrong message. Shireen points out the underlined passages. “Death can come at any moment, but what matters is that my life, or death, should have a profound effect on the lives of others.” And the line at the end when the story is told to another group of fish “All the baby fish went to sleep, except for one little goldfish who stayed up. All night long, he thought of the vast sea.” Roya still does not understand how this makes the story taboo. Shireen is frustrated, and explains that had he been clearer, the book would have never gone to print.

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