A Pair of Jeans Summary | Qaisra Shahraz

The story discovers the subject matter of clothing, female modesty, multiple identities, and cultural clashes. The main character moves between the cultures of Pakistan and England. So let’s discuss the summary of A Pair of Jeans by Qaisra Shahraz.

Summary of A Pair of Jeans

The story starts with a girl named Mirriam. She is the central character in the story. She visits Peak District in the northwest of England. Mirriam is with her university friends. She is wearing tight jeans, a short vest, and a jacket. She says goodbye to her friends. The shirt had shrunk in the wash. All day, she kept pulling it down to cover her midriff. She looks at her watch and thinks that the people might have come. She holds her jacket with her hand because there are no buttons on her jacket’s front.

As she reaches her doorstep, she hears the sound of a car behind her. She turns nervously to see who it was. On spotting the person behind the steering wheel, color cabbed from her face. A man and a woman stepped out of the car. They were surveying her. Mirriam feels embarrassed due to her Western dress. She greets the people and she doesn’t realize that she had let go of her jacket front. Their eyes fell straight to the inch of her bare waist flesh. Mirriam’s father-in-law knocks on the door and Mirriam’s mother Fatima opens the door.

She gets shocked as she was not expecting Mirriam to arrive with them. She feels embarrassed. Mirriam goes to her room to change her dress. She worries because her in-laws have never seen her in Western dress. Her mind shouts that I’m still that Mirriam. Now they have seen the Western version of Mirraim. They saw Mirriam for the first time in a chiffon sari and later in Muslim traditional dress shalwar kameez. She wears a blue crepe shalwar kameez and goes to the living room. She sits with her mother. Her in-laws compare her dress.

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Summary of A Pair of Jeans

She notices that something is wrong because her in-laws have not made direct eye contact with her. Thinking this she goes to the kitchen. She calls “Aunt you haven’t eaten anything”. Aunt replies that they are in a hurry. They will come again. Mirriam thinks “This is a lousy excuse”. What a waste of time! Ayub (Mirriam’s father-in-law) turns on the T.V. His wife talks about their neighbor Mrs. Williams.

Ayub says to his wife that Begum you told me Mirriam is very sharif, a very modest girl. Begum advocates “Yes she is very sharif”. Ayub grunts, “Huh, sharif! Dressed like that, God knows who has seen her bare flesh. Ayub says, “Would you like to have a daughter-in-law of Western culture?” What if she had already a boyfriend? What if she takes our son away from us? If it happens, the whole life of our son Farooq will be ruined. Thank God, that you selected Mirriam for our son instead of him.

Summary of A Pair of Jeans

Fatima and Begum met at a mehndi party and they became fast friends. They fixed the marriage of their children. After the engagement, Farooq and Mirriam started to meet each other. Today, a year after, Farooq’s parents went to Mirriam’s house to fix the date for marriage. But, seeing Mirriam’s Western version, they didn’t talk about the matter instead they changed their mind.

Ayub says to his wife that he will not let a Western girl become his daughter-in-law. It’s known up to you how to manage all this. The next day, as Mirriam reaches home from university, she hears the phone ring. She picks up the phone and she came to know that her mother-in-law was on the phone.

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Marriam asked his mother to talk to Aunt Begum. Fatima talked to Begum. She was very worried. She was still reeling from the shock. Mirriam asked what did Aunt Begum say? Fatima replied that they said that your engagement had to be broken off! Fatima told that they came here yesterday to talk about this matter but they were not able to talk. Mirriam asked why Mother? What’s the reason?

Begum said that her sister was insisting that her daughter marry Farooq. Mirriam goes to her room. She weeps. Mirriam thinks that her friends will not believe that her engagement is no more.  She knows why her in-laws have done so, due to jeans and a short vest.

She pulled off the pair of jeans from the hangar and threw them on the floor. Mirriam, then, gave a vicious kick with her foot. The pair of jeans lay at the foot of the bed, unaware of the havoc it had created in the life of its wearer.


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