Excerpt analysis: dinner with Dr Azad

The excerpt “Dinner with Dr Azad” from Monica Ali’s novel Brick Lane is one of the first scenes that show Nazneen’s life in London following her arranged marriage with Chanu. 

The setting is clearly marked at the beginning of the scene as “Tower Hamlets, London, 1985” which makes Nazneen eighteen years old. She has been living in London for only six months. The description of the block opposite Nazneen's flat presents a grim and mundane environment, with net curtains, broken paving stones, and overflowing communal bins. The atmosphere is characterized by a sense of remoteness and detachment, which reflects Nazneen’s isolation and highlights the unfamiliar environment she now finds herself in. 

The description of Chanu's unnecessary furniture and possessions in their flat highlights his desire for social status and recognition. Nazneen feels a sense of pride in having such an extravagant home, because it is a jarring change to what life was like for her in Bangladesh, but she also questions the purpose of hoarding material possessions and wonders how it aligns with her religious beliefs.

The tattooed woman becomes a prominent figure in this scene, representing an intriguing contrast to the closed and anonymous lives of the other neighbors, who are mostly Bengali. She is depicted as a heavy-set, tattoo-covered woman who seems to lead a carefree and rebellious existence. Nazneen is curious about her but hesitant to int...

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