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A Thousand Splendid Suns Essay

703 words - 3 pages

Title: A Thousand Splendid Suns

Author: Khaled Hosseini

Type: Novel
The story is told from the perspectives of the two women characters, Mariam and Laila. Each shows how she was raised, what she lost as the result of war, and how in the end, their strength helps each other face their fate.
The story follows the lives of two Afghan women, Mariam and Laila, who become caught up in the repression and misogyny of conservative Islamic culture. Events span the decades from the rule of Afghan kings, the Soviet invasion, the civil war of the Mujahideen warlords, the takeover of the Taliban and the eventual liberation by Allied forces. It gives compelling details about the tragic struggles and sacrifices of the two principal characters as they try to survive through anarchy and extremism in what would become a brutalizing culture.

The story covers three decades of anti-Soviet jihad, civil war and Taliban tyranny seen from the perspectives of two ...view middle of the document...

Each woman in the end is forced to accept a path that will never be completely happy for them; Mariam later sacrifices her life to save Laila after she murders their husband while Laila, even though marrying her childhood love, must find a way to keep the sacrifice Mariam has made from not becoming an act done in vain.

Mariam and Laila are the protagonists who teach the reader the reality of life as a woman in a backward Muslim country. They overcome several wars throughout their lives and turn into strong and faithful women, in spite of the abuse at the hand of Rasheed and the abusive treatment of women by the Taliban. One, Mariam, sacrifices herself to save Laila, Tariq, and the children, while the other, Laila, learns that to be a good mother and a better woman, she must accept her role in the rebuilding of her country. 

The antagonists are Rasheed, the Mujahideen, and the Taliban who abuse women and destroy their country. They live in a world of old time values and refuse to accept the need for women to have an identity beyond what can be seen under a burqa. They are ultimately all destroyed or driven from the country, because being a tyrant eventually leads to an uprising by those tyrannized. Rasheed is murdered by Mariam, the Taliban drives out the Mujahideen, and the United States drives the Taliban out of power.

What’s most important to know about Mariam is her own realization that her life was hard and yet she had loved and been loved in return. She lives in a loveless marriage, but doesn’t forget, in spite of her disappointment and her guilt the ones she loved all her life: Jalil and Nana, her parents. She perseveres even though she regrets leaving her mother behind and turning to a father who doesn’t want the shame she represents. She feels guilt over her mother’s suicide and for a time hates the father who gave her away to the cruel Rasheed. However, she comes to realize that she may have been wrong to eliminate him from her life. She also at first resents the arrival of Laila in their lives, but soon comes to forge a strong bond with her and eventually saves her life. She is a character who becomes a role model for the reader because of her devotion to the people whom she comes to love.

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