Study Guide

A Border Passage Three-Act Plot Analysis

By Leila Ahmed

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Three-Act Plot Analysis

Act I

This one's comparatively idyllic. We chart Ahmed's early childhood, schooling, family life, and her move to Girton College. Times aren't 100 percent glorious, but because of things like familial love, good buddies, and a gorgeous backyard garden, they're pretty a-okay.

Act II

This act is where things get a wee bit complicated. Ahmed is older and wiser, and that means that she's starting to see some of the not-so-nice aspects of the world both in Cairo and England. In this act, she leaves Cairo for grad school, gets married and divorced, and says goodbye forever to her parents.

Yeah. We told you that it wasn't all sunshine and lollipops.


In this last act, Ahmed digs deep into Arab identity and moves to the United States. She's a little battle-hardened, having both lived through some nasty stuff (divorce, death, racism aplenty) and had the time to think it over.

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