Hussein was put in a classroom environment, which he isn't used to and doesn't feel comfortable in, he struggles to talk to the other main characters, Pearl and Bruce, and answer their questions, he doesn't want to open up as hes scared of who they'll tell. The students had started to laugh at him for not wanting to tell him, which makes Hussein feel more distant and closed off from everyone else in the classroom.
Bruce was harassing Hussein, which he now called the Shah, which means king of Iran, this had stereotyped him. Bruce attempts to him him with a ruler, the Shah dodges it numerous times but he gives up and lets Bruce hit him in the shoulder. The Shah steps back and replies with "I'm a Soldier." - PAGE 34, This makes Hussein feel v cut off from Bruce but he shows strength and stands up to him.
Pearl had taken her little sister suzy to the Plant nursery, she saw Hussein kneeling at a small mandarin tree, "We saw him running his running his fingers over a small mandarin tree, as if he couldn't believe it was there..His cheeks were shiny" PAGE 35, This shows that Hussein was starting to open up to Pearl and trust her more.
Pearls younger sister suzy had died from a car accident, pearl returned two days later. She found Hussein was really good to be around, she felt very comfortable with him there. Bruce said "He could help her, without using words." - PAGE 36 Hussein and Pearl bond over pearls recent loss and theyr grief, grief could also be a main theme in the story.
Pearl had apologised for being rude from when Hussein first arrived, Bruce had also made a liking to Hussein and gave him nicknames. When they were at the pool for the school carnival Bruce said " Hey horse, you going to beat me this time?" HUssein Smiled and replied with "why not?" that fact that he smiled showed that he was finally feeling accepted, as he took his purple shirt off for the race it revealed two large scars across his body, a teacher saw this and murmured "only ten."