This thesis is about Monica Ali’s "Brick Lane" which appeared in 2003. Ali is half English and half Bangladeshi who grew up in England. "Brick Lane" is her first novel which unusually included in Granta’s list of the Best Young British Novelists when it was still a manuscript. The protagonist of the novel, Nazneen, is born in Bangladesh (the East Pakistan until 1971). The novel is the story of Nazneen who is married off to Chanu, twice her age, and comes to live in London. Through the protagonist many issues about Bangladeshi women are presented. We are introduced to Nazneen’s sister, Hasina, through her letters. Ali here shifts the narrative from the third-person perspective to the first one. These letters tell us of the situation of Bangladeshi women in postcolonial conditions. These important and serious issues are presented by Hasina, a naïve, flat character.
This thesis analyzes the women’s issues in the novel, and it also makes a criticism of Ali’s presentation of these issues. It examines how Nazneen stays indoors for many years in London. I question whether the main character becomes free from illusions of religion and fate at the end or remains subjected to them.
Islam is a part of the themes of the novel. It is shown as a constituent element of the history of the ethnic origin. While the female characters are crippled by the Islamic values, the novel tries to reconcile them with Islam. The thesis pays particular attention to the relation of Islam to the oppression of women. The aim is to unveil how the protagonist and the other female characters are victims of ethnic origin and Islam. Having said this, my thesis approaches to suggest a critical vision of how Islam is beautified in "Brick Lane".