Malala Yousafzai: A Normal Yet Powerful Girl Commonlit Answers

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  • 6th Grade
  • Lexile: 820

Source: Malala Yousafzai: A Normal Yet Powerful Girl by NPR Staff

Assessment Answers

QuestionAnswer
According to Malala, how did the shooting affect her? Cite evidence in your answers.According to Malala Yousafzai, the shooting affected her by eradicating her fear, particularly the fear of death. She articulates this transformation in her mindset by stating, “I have already seen death and I know that death is supporting me in my cause of education.
Death does not want to kill me.” Furthermore, Malala elaborates on how this experience has altered her perception of death itself, saying, “Before this attack, I might have been a little bit afraid how death would be. Now I’m not, because I have experienced it.”
These quotes from Malala highlight the profound impact the shooting had on her: it not only failed to deter her from her mission but also fortified her resolve and eliminated her fear, making her an even more formidable advocate for education.
Summarize Malala’s character using specific evidence from this article.Malala Yousafzai’s character, as depicted in the article, is marked by extraordinary resilience, determination, and a deep commitment to education and gender equality. Despite facing extreme adversity, including a life-threatening attack by the Taliban, her resolve only strengthened. This is evidenced by her statement following the shooting, where she articulates a loss of fear towards death, signifying her unwavering commitment to her cause: “I have already seen death and I know that death is supporting me in my cause of education. Death does not want to kill me.”
Her character is also defined by her clarity of purpose and ambition. A year after the shooting, she explicitly states her goal, “I speak for education of every child, in every corner of the world,” showcasing her global vision for change and equality. This is underpinned by her recognition of societal discrimination and her belief in the transformative power of educating women, as she notes, “We women are going to bring change.”
Moreover, Malala’s upbringing played a significant role in shaping her character. Her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, encouraged her independence and education, not clipping her “wings to fly.” This support fostered her confidence and commitment to advocacy, as evidenced by her active role in challenging the Taliban’s ban on girls’ education.
Malala also possesses a multifaceted personality; beyond her public image of seriousness and obedience, she reveals a playful side within her family, engaging in sibling rivalry and teasing, which humanizes her and makes her relatable.
Malala Yousafzai is characterized by her resilience in the face of adversity, a clear and ambitious vision for global education equality, and a balanced personality that combines serious advocacy with personal warmth and relatability. Her life and actions exemplify the power of individual courage and determination to inspire global change.
PART A: What does the word “ethics” most closely mean as it is used in paragraph 6?an understanding between right and wrong
PART B: Which phrase from the text provides the best clue to the meaning of the word “ethics” as it is used in paragraph 6?“they never injured a child”
What is the effect of Malala’s father’s account in this news article?“It provides the perspective of someone who knows her well, and emphasizes the importance of encouraging educational equality.”

Discussion Answers

Why do you think Malala captured international attention?

Malala Yousafzai captured international attention for several compelling reasons:

  1. Bravery in the Face of Adversity: Malala’s courage to stand up for girls’ education in the Swat Valley, despite the Taliban’s explicit threats and eventual violent attack on her life, showcased an extraordinary level of bravery. Her willingness to risk her life for the cause of education resonated with people worldwide.
  2. Survival and Resilience: The fact that Malala survived a gunshot to the head and quickly resumed her advocacy with even greater determination amplified her story. Her resilience in the face of such a traumatic event inspired people globally and drew attention to her cause.
  3. Youthful Advocacy: Malala was very young when she began her activism and was only 15 years old at the time of the attack. Her age highlighted the stark injustice of denying education to children and the extreme measures some regimes will take to enforce such denial. It also underscored the potential of young people to lead change.
  4. Global Platform for Education Rights: Malala’s story became a powerful symbol for the fight against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education. Her message extended beyond the Swat Valley, addressing global issues of gender inequality and the right to education.
  5. Nobel Peace Prize Recognition: Becoming the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize further elevated her profile and the importance of her cause. The award brought her advocacy to an even wider audience and underscored the global significance of her fight for education and against extremism.
  6. Media Coverage and Public Speaking: Malala’s articulate and passionate public speaking, including her address to the United Nations, captured the hearts and minds of people around the world. The extensive media coverage of her story and her message amplified her influence and impact.
  7. Representation and Symbolism: Malala represents millions of girls worldwide who are denied education due to poverty, cultural norms, or conflict. Her story is both specific and universal, symbolizing the struggle for women’s rights and education across the globe.

Do you think that Malala may have turned out differently had her father practiced different kind of parenting techniques? Explain your answer.

Yes, Malala Yousafzai’s character, activism, and achievements could have been significantly different if her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, had practiced different parenting techniques. Several aspects of Ziauddin’s approach to parenting played a crucial role in shaping Malala’s path:

  1. Encouragement of Education: Ziauddin, an educator himself, deeply valued education and encouraged Malala to pursue her studies. This emphasis on learning from a young age likely instilled in Malala a passion for education and an understanding of its importance, not just for herself but for all children, especially girls in societies where they are denied educational opportunities.
  2. Freedom to Express and Advocate: Ziauddin allowed Malala the freedom to express her opinions and advocate for what she believed in. He did not “clip her wings” but instead encouraged her to “fly,” metaphorically speaking. This empowerment gave Malala the confidence and platform to speak out against the Taliban’s suppression of girls’ education, eventually becoming a global advocate for this cause.
  3. Modeling Gender Equality: Ziauddin’s treatment of Malala and his views on gender equality were likely influential in shaping her beliefs about women’s rights and education. By treating her with respect and encouraging her ambitions, he demonstrated that girls should have the same opportunities as boys, challenging the gender norms of their society.
  4. Support and Safety: Even in the face of threats from the Taliban, Ziauddin’s support for Malala’s activism provided her with a sense of safety and validation. This support was crucial in allowing Malala to continue her advocacy despite the risks involved.

Had Ziauddin practiced more restrictive or less supportive parenting techniques, Malala may not have developed the same level of confidence, ambition, or sense of justice.

A more traditional approach, for example, emphasizing silence and obedience, especially in the context of their society’s gender norms, could have stifled her voice and limited her impact.

The nurturing and encouraging environment created by her father allowed Malala’s innate qualities of leadership and resilience to flourish, highlighting the profound impact of parenting on a child’s development and the paths they choose to follow.


Do you agree that Malala is a “normal, yet powerful” girl? Why or why not?

Yes, describing Malala Yousafzai as a “normal, yet powerful” girl captures the essence of her remarkable journey and impact. This characterization reflects the duality of her being both an ordinary individual and an extraordinary activist. Here’s why:

  1. Normalcy: At her core, Malala is a normal girl who enjoys spending time with her family, has faced challenges with her siblings, and has navigated the typical experiences of growing up. The text reveals her playful side within her family context, showing that despite her global fame, she engages in ordinary familial interactions and experiences the same dynamics many people do with their siblings.
    This relatability is a significant part of her story, as it underscores that extraordinary actions can come from anyone, regardless of their seemingly ordinary beginnings.
  2. Powerful Impact: Malala’s power lies in her unwavering commitment to advocating for girls’ education and her ability to inspire change on a global scale. Surviving an assassination attempt by the Taliban and using that experience to further her advocacy rather than being silenced by it demonstrates immense strength and resilience.
    Her influence extends beyond her personal story to her role in the broader movement for educational rights, making her a powerful figure in global activism.
  3. Symbol of Resilience and Advocacy: Malala has become a symbol of resilience in the face of oppression and a leading voice in the fight for the right to education for all children, especially girls.
    Her journey from a young girl in the Swat Valley to the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate showcases her extraordinary impact. She leverages her platform to bring attention to the plight of millions of children worldwide, making her advocacy both powerful and transformative.
  4. Ordinary Origins, Extraordinary Contributions: The contrast between Malala’s ordinary origins and her extraordinary contributions highlights the potential within every individual to effect significant change. Her story is a testament to the idea that one does not need to come from a position of power or privilege to make a difference in the world.

In the context of this article, what does it mean to be brave? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.

In the context of this article, being brave entails standing up for one’s beliefs and rights, even in the face of extreme danger and opposition. Malala Yousafzai’s actions and words provide a powerful illustration of bravery.

Despite the Taliban’s threats and the violent attempt on her life, Malala continued to advocate for girls’ education. Her statement, “I have already seen death and I know that death is supporting me in my cause of education. Death does not want to kill me,” showcases her extraordinary courage. She faced the very real possibility of death and emerged not only surviving but also undeterred in her mission.

This level of bravery is about confronting one’s fears, recognizing the importance of one’s cause, and persisting in advocating for it, regardless of the personal risks involved.

From my own experiences and observations, bravery often manifests in the willingness to speak out against injustice, to stand up for oneself and others, even when it’s easier or safer to remain silent. It’s about making choices that align with one’s principles, even when those choices come with significant personal or professional risk.

In literature, art, and history, there are numerous examples of bravery. One notable example is the character of Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Finch, a lawyer in the racially charged atmosphere of the American South during the 1930s, chooses to defend a Black man falsely accused of raping a white woman.

Despite facing social ostracism, threats to his safety, and concerns for his children’s wellbeing, Finch stands firm in his commitment to justice and equality, embodying the essence of bravery.

In history, figures like Nelson Mandela exemplify bravery through their unwavering commitment to fighting apartheid and advocating for equality, despite personal sacrifices, including 27 years in prison.

Mandela’s life and work demonstrate that bravery often requires a long-term commitment to change, enduring hardships, and remaining focused on the greater good.


How do people overcome adversity? Use evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature or art in your answer.

Overcoming adversity is a multifaceted process that involves resilience, support from others, a sense of purpose, and often, a degree of self-reflection and growth. The story of Malala Yousafzai, as detailed in the article, along with examples from personal experiences, literature, and art, offers rich insights into how individuals navigate and overcome challenging circumstances.

  1. Resilience: Malala’s story is a prime example of resilience. Despite being shot by the Taliban for her advocacy for girls’ education, she not only survived but also continued her activism with even greater determination. Her resilience is evident in her words, “I have already seen death and I know that death is supporting me in my cause of education. Death does not want to kill me.” This demonstrates her ability to bounce back from near-fatal adversity and use her experience to strengthen her resolve.
  2. Support from Others: The role of Malala’s family, particularly her father’s encouragement and unwavering support, was crucial in her recovery and continued activism. Support from family, friends, and communities often plays a vital role in helping individuals overcome adversity. In my own experience, overcoming challenges has been significantly easier with the support and encouragement of loved ones who provide emotional strength and a sense of belonging.
  3. Sense of Purpose: Having a clear goal or mission can propel individuals through difficult times. Malala’s dedication to advocating for education provided her with a purpose that transcended her personal suffering. In literature, Jean Valjean’s transformation and redemption in Victor Hugo’s “Les Misérables” exemplify how a sense of purpose, in his case, caring for Cosette, can guide one through adversity and lead to profound personal growth.
  4. Self-Reflection and Growth: Overcoming adversity often involves learning from the experience and growing as a person. In art, Frida Kahlo’s paintings vividly depict her physical and emotional pain, yet also her incredible strength and resilience. Kahlo used her art as a means of processing her suffering and expressing her identity, demonstrating how creative expression can be a powerful tool for overcoming adversity.
  5. Advocacy and Activism: Transforming personal adversity into advocacy for others is another way people overcome challenges. Malala used her experience to fight for the rights of all children to receive an education, turning her personal tragedy into a global movement for change. Similarly, historical figures like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. faced immense personal risks and adversities but channeled these experiences into broader social and political movements for independence and civil rights, respectively.

In her acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize, Malala said, “A girl has the power to go forward in her life. And she’s not only a mother, and she’s not only a sister, she’s not only a wife. But a girl has the-she should have an identity. She should be recognized, and she has equal rights as a boy.” Discuss this quote.

Malala Yousafzai’s acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize encapsulates a powerful and transformative message about gender equality and the recognition of girls and women as individuals with their own identities and rights. This quote underscores several critical points:

  1. Individual Identity: Malala emphasizes the importance of recognizing girls and women as individuals beyond their roles in relation to others (as mothers, sisters, or wives). She advocates for the acknowledgment of their unique identities, dreams, and aspirations. This is a call to society to value women for who they are as individuals, rather than solely for the roles they fulfill within families or communities.
  2. Equal Rights: By stating that girls have equal rights as boys, Malala highlights the fundamental principle of gender equality. She asserts that opportunities, choices, and freedoms should not be limited by one’s gender. This is a foundational concept of human rights, advocating for the same access to education, work, and political participation for both sexes.
  3. Empowerment Through Education: Implicit in Malala’s message is the belief that education is key to empowering girls and enabling them to discover and assert their identities. Education provides the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to participate fully in society. Malala’s own life story is a testament to the power of education in overcoming barriers and advocating for change.
  4. Social Change: Malala’s words are not just about individual empowerment but also about the broader impact of recognizing and supporting the rights and identities of girls and women.
    She suggests that when girls are allowed to move forward in life on their own terms, it can lead to societal transformation. Educated and empowered women can contribute to their communities and economies in profound ways, challenging and changing oppressive systems and norms.
  5. Global Relevance: While Malala speaks from her experiences in Pakistan, her message has universal relevance. Gender inequality is a global issue, and her call to action resonates worldwide. It challenges individuals and societies to reflect on their attitudes and policies towards gender and to work towards a world where everyone, regardless of gender, can realize their potential.

Malala Yousafzai’s quote is a powerful reminder of the ongoing struggle for gender equality and the crucial role of education in achieving it.

Her life and words inspire action towards a more equitable world where every girl can define herself, realize her rights, and contribute to society on her own terms.


Malala was nearly killed for trying to pursue an education, and she continues to advocate for girls to receive educations in spite of threats of violence. What does Malala’s story teach us about promoting peace? How can education be used as a tool of peace?

Malala Yousafzai’s story offers profound lessons on promoting peace, with her unwavering commitment to education serving as a central theme. Her life and advocacy illuminate the ways in which education can be a powerful tool for peace. Here’s what her story teaches us:

  1. Resilience in the Face of Violence: Malala’s experience demonstrates that peace is not merely the absence of conflict but the presence of justice and the resilience to stand up for one’s rights, even in the face of violence. Her decision to continue advocating for girls’ education, despite an assassination attempt, shows that promoting peace often requires courage and steadfastness.
  2. Education as a Foundation for Understanding: Malala’s advocacy underscores the role of education in fostering understanding and tolerance. By promoting education for all, including girls who are often denied educational opportunities, Malala highlights how knowledge can dismantle stereotypes, challenge prejudices, and promote empathy among diverse groups. Education broadens perspectives, enabling individuals to appreciate the value of peace and the destructive nature of conflict.
  3. Empowerment Through Learning: Education empowers individuals to make informed decisions, participate in their communities, and challenge injustices. Malala’s story teaches us that educated individuals are better equipped to advocate for peaceful solutions and contribute to the development of more equitable and just societies. Education provides the tools for critical thinking and problem-solving, essential for addressing the root causes of conflict and promoting peace.
  4. Global Solidarity and Awareness: Malala’s advocacy has raised global awareness about the importance of education in peacebuilding efforts. Her story teaches us that promoting peace is a collective endeavor that requires global solidarity. By supporting education for all, especially in regions affected by conflict and oppression, the international community can play a role in laying the groundwork for peace and stability.
  5. Challenging Extremism: Malala’s story is also a testament to the power of education in challenging extremist ideologies. Extremism often thrives on ignorance and the manipulation of information. By advocating for universal education, Malala and others like her challenge the narratives used by extremists to justify violence and oppression, promoting peace through enlightenment and critical thinking.
  6. Inspiring Action: Finally, Malala’s story inspires individuals and communities to take action for peace. Her courage and determination serve as a call to action to support education as a fundamental right and a key component of peacebuilding. Through education, individuals can develop the skills and values necessary to work towards a more peaceful world.

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Avery L. Mitchell
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Avery L. Mitchell is a literary enthusiast with a passion for classic literature and its enduring themes. Holding a Master's degree in English Literature from the University of Eldenbridge, Avery has spent over a decade analyzing and writing about timeless literary works. With a keen eye for detail and a deep appreciation for storytelling, Avery brings stories to life with insightful commentary and engaging narratives. When not immersed in books, Avery enjoys hiking, photography, and exploring hidden cafes in her hometown of Asheville, North Carolina.




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