Pride of Baghdad

By Jacky Chau


Freedom: the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint.

Allegory: a representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning through concrete or material forms.

Symbol: something used for or regarded as representing something else.



Pride of Baghdad is an allegory because it represents the Iraqi citizens through the animals and it also show events like the bombing and the American soldiers going on Iraq soil.

Character analysis


ZIll is the male loin in the group and he is always trying to protect the other lions. This protective trait makes him more of the father figure and because he's the only real male role model to Ali. For Zill freedom is just where he is able to live his life as shown as he is okay with both living in the zoo and outside of it. A quote from Zill is "Only captivity has to be learned" this means that Zill didn't feel like a captive in the zoo which helps with the point that he feel free in both in the zoo and outside.
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Safa is the oldest lioness of the group who is dealing with a rough past and she is also stubborn when she interacting with the rest of the group. She represents the Sunni Iraqi because similar to Fajer she believes that freedom comes at a price. The quote for Safa is "I want die of old age Zill. If the zoo is the price I have to pay for that, then so be it" this shows that Safa believes freedom is where she is able to be safe and secured and that freedom does come at a price.
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Noor is Ali mother and like Safa she can be stubborn but not as much as Safa. She is shown to be slightly more adventurous than the others as she was already planning to escape from the zoo even though the zoo helps and cares for both her and her son. She represents the Shia Iraqi because in the beginning see often opposes the decisions of Safa since she thinks of freedom as being free to do as you wish without depending on others. A quote from her is "Freedom can't be given, only earned" this seems to mean that she want achieve her own freedom on her own terms or that you have to do something to get your freedom.

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Ali is the youngest one in the group and the son of Noor. He is often cheerful and clueless throughout the book as can be seen when the bombs were dropped in zoo. He represents the young Iraqi because throughout the book he shows that he doesn't understand what's going on. Also his views on freedom is heavily influenced by everything he's ever been told by the other lions. This can also be seen in the quote "Mom says it's a jungle out there. We're gonna be kings."
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Fajer is a large black bear, which the lions have a rough encounter with. He is shown with a take what want attitude and is shown to be a dangerous character. Fajer represents Sadaam Hussein because he was the defeated by his "own people," being the other animals of Baghdad. He believes that freedom always comes at a price as can be seen when he offers to let only one of the lions go at the cost of the other one submitting to him. This can also be seen in his quote "If either of you willingly submits herself to my jaws, I'll let the other go. Fight me and I destroy you both." this shows that the freedom of other doesn't concern him unless he get a benefit out of it.
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The antelope was shown as a prey to the lions and because of this she represents the terrified Iraqi since she is shown to be defenseless and her only way of survival is to be in a herd or running away from predators. Her idea of freedom is where she can live being safe from predators. A quote from her is "We either live apart, or die together, lion" this show that the only way that she can live with the lions is by being apart from them.
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The turtle is shown to explain some the events that going on to Safa and Ali. The turtle represents the wise old man because of his age and his knowledge and experience with the Iraq war. His idea of freedom is to be with his love ones and since they're gone, due to the black stuff drowning them, he is shown to have lost his freedom. A quote from him is " Keepers, two-leggers, man ... don't matter what you call'em, they're all the same" this shows that because of what happened with his love ones he no longer trust humans.
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a) Freedom to me means to be able to live my life while also enjoying the company of friends and family. I am not free in the ways that I still have a curfew and that there are places that I can't visit. Also I can't drive yet.

b) I think that the author chose to tell the story form the animals because it's easier to show the idea of freedom and it's easier to show the horrors that war can bring.

c) I believe that yes it is more effective than us human character because the idea of freedom is easier to understand and also some of the content can be really morbid if humans were used like when the Americans shot Ali, a child, or when the turtle's family was drowning in oil, or just the bombing. So not only is this effective but it's also easier for the reader to understand.