Shadow (Morpurgo Novel) Summary & Study Guide

Michael Morpurgo
This Study Guide consists of approximately 36 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Shadow.
This section contains 638 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Shadow (Morpurgo Novel) Summary & Study Guide Description

Shadow (Morpurgo Novel) Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Shadow (Morpurgo Novel) by Michael Morpurgo.

NOTE: This study guide refers to the 2014 First Square Fish Edition of Shadow by Michael Morpurgo.

Shadow is a young adult novel by Michael Morpurgo in which Matt and his Grandpa seek to have Afghan asylum seekers Aman Khan and his mother, known as Mum, freed from the British detention facility at Yarl’s Wood. The plot relies on Aman’s account of escaping Afghanistan with a stray dog that he named Shadow. When the novel begins, Matt has gone to visit Grandpa, who lives near the Yarl’s Wood detention facility. There, Aman and Mum, who have been in England for six years as asylum seekers, are being held until they will be returned to their native Afghanistan. Their return will be based on improved conditions in that country. Aman is Matt’s best friend. At Matt’s request, Grandpa agrees to go to Yarl’s Wood on visiting day to see about Aman and Mum.

Grandpa is angered that children are among those being kept in the detention facility, for it is surrounded by barbed wire and resembles a prison. Grandpa meets with Aman and Mum. He agrees to help their case however he can. But to do this, Grandpa will need better information. Aman then reveals the story of how he came to England, beginning with his home in Bamiyan Valley. The novel steps back in time. There, the evil ruling Taliban murder people, burn crops, and destroy towns of all those they do not like. Among them are Aman’s Hazara people. They take to living in the caves in fear of the Taliban. When the Americans come to fight the Taliban, things get better, but the Taliban still roam around. They kill Aman’s father for helping the Americans. During this time, a stray brown-and-white spaniel dog comes upon Aman. Aman and the dog become quick friends, even though such things are frowned upon because the Afghans consider dogs unclean.

When the Taliban later kill Aman’s grandmother for protesting a raid on their cave, Aman and Mum have had enough. Relying on contact information and financial help from Uncle Mir, who has lived in England for years, Aman and Mum decide to flee to England. They must travel by foot, bus, and truck across Afghanistan. All the while, they are followed by the dog. Even when corrupt Afghan police steal everything from Aman and Mum, the dog remains with them. After Mum calls the dog a shadow friend to them, Aman decides to name the dog Shadow.

At a crossroads near a British bomb patrol, Shadow points out a bomb. Sergeant Brodie and his fellow British soldiers are thrilled because Shadow has helped to save their lives. Shadow is actually a military bomb-sniffing dog named Polly, who ran away during a fight over a year before. Brodie and his men bring Aman and Mum to the safety of their base before the next step of the journey to England. Unfortunately, Shadow (Polly) must return to the soldiers. Aman is sad as he continues on with Mum.

At long last, Aman and Mum arrive in England where Uncle Mir meets them and takes them to the police station to claim asylum. Six years pass to the present time in the novel. At Matt’s urging, Grandpa –a journalist –writes an article about Aman’s situation. Matt and his entire family also stage a protest outside of Yarl’s Wood, which is attended by hundreds –including Sergeant Brodie, his daughter Jess, and Polly. Brodie, who arrives late, explains he has been to see a government minister about Aman’s case, and has ensured that Aman and Mum will be allowed to stay in England. Everyone is thrilled. Brodie then explains to Aman that he and Jess have renamed Polly, Shadow.

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