A Thousand Splendid Suns: Analysis
“ Nana said, ‘Learn this now and learn it well, my daughter: Like a compass needle that points north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. You remember that Mariam” (Hosseini 7). In this passage from A Thousand Splendid Suns, Mariam’s mother explains to her what her father is really like. Through the begging of this novel, Mariam sees her father, Jalil, as the better parent and views her mother as the more strict one. Nana isn’t fond of Jalil because after he had got her pregnant, he denied that he tried sleeping with Nana, “That [she] forced [herself] on him” (Hosseini 6).
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Mariam doesn’t believe this story. She feels that the only reason her father hadn’t kept her and her mother in his house was because of his other wives. Nana tries to explain to Mariam the truth but Mariam ignores what her mother tells her. In later chapters Mariam is able to realize that her mother had been telling the truth. When she does realize this, its because her mother has died and she is able to see that her father wants nothing to do with her. The author, Khaled Hosseini, uses this to foreshadow Mariam’s husband, Rasheed, blames her for not having a son and for not being a good wife.
Not only Rasheed, but other men in this novel as well blame the women for their problems. Jalil blamed Nana for the birth of Mariam even though it was his fault for having the affair. Rasheed doesn’t always blame Mariam for everything, at times he blames his other wife too, Laila, for giving birth to a daughter and not a son. This passage helps illustrate what Nana had to learn and what Mariam had to endure when growing up with a man around. Throughout, women are the victims of their husbands problems and in this book it clearly shows how women are accused, even when doing no harm to anyone. At night, Laila lay in bed and watched the sudden white flashes reflected in her window. She listened to the rattling of atomic gunfire and counted the rockets whining overhead as the house shook and flakes of plaster rained down on her from the ceiling. Some nights when the light of rocket fire was so bright a person could read a book by it, sleep never came. And, if it did, Laila’s dreams were stuffed with fire and detached limbs and the moaning of the wounded” (Hosseini 157). This paragraph, Laila describes her surroundings in her childhood years.
During this time period in the novel, there is war that continues throughout the book. This war effects Laila because every time she hear a rocket blast, she thinks that her friend Tariq, has been killed by one of them. Throughout, Laila is always concerned on the effect the war has on her loved ones. Because of this war Laila ends up loosing her loved ones. Her mother, father, her two brothers and best friend die because of the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan and she almost looses Tariq when he moves away and gets injured by a rocket. The war helps Laila see what a tragedy it is to loose people in this manner.
In the passage, Khaled Hosseini uses a hyperbole to demonstrate how major this war is in Afghanistan and the effects it has on the people living in this country. When it is stated that “…light of rocket fire was so bright a person could read a book by it…,” it doesn’t really mean that it was that bright you could read, it just shows that it caused a scene where it could interrupt a normal routine. And also when it mentions her dreams, they seem a tad exaggerated because yes this environment could cause certain nightmares, but she hasn’t actually witnessed the killings of this war and the affects of the actual wounded people. They would live in a small house on the edge of some town they’d never heard of, Maraim said, or in a remote village where the road was narrow and unpaved but lined with all manner of plants and shrubs. Maybe there would be a path to take, a path that led to a grass field where the children could play, or maybe a graveled road that would take them to a clear blue lake where trout swam and reeds poked through the surface. They would raise sheep and chickens, and they would make bread together and teach the children to read.
They would make new lives for themselves-peaceful, solitary lives- and there the weight of all that they’d endured would lift from them, and they would be deserving of all the happiness and simple prosperity they would find” (Hosseini 315). In this quotation ,Laila And Mariam are imagining their perfect life if they leave the life they live in. Mariam and Laila are tired of living with their husband, Rasheed, who abuses the and they want to start new lives.
Previously, they did try to leave him but they ended up getting caught which caused more abuse for them. Laila thinks this will go through, but Mariam knows the ugly truth that this fantasy isn’t reality and she knows what will really happen to the two of them and their family. In the end this idea is never accomplished, much like most dreams. Laila ends up moving with her love Tariq and her two kids, Zalmai and Aziza, to Pakistan. While Mariam decides to turn herself for the murder of Rasheed and she is killed at the end for what she did.
In the novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Hosseini uses motif of having a dream of the perfect life that is never reached. Just like in the novel, Of Mice and Men, the characters, Lennie and George, had a fantasy of having a life they have always wanted but in the end a tragedy causes this dream to be destroyed when Lennie gets killed, but in this situation it is Mariam who is killed. A lot of novels have this theme where the idea is to end with the ideal life but then it gets completely turned around and usually the exact opposite of that happens.
In Mariam and Laila’s situation, Laila doesn’t get this exact life but she does live happily at the end with her family even though they do struggle at times but for Mariam, she didn’t get the happiness she wanted but she was able to get something just as good, a friend that would understand her. The Review I personally really enjoyed this book. I felt that I was able to connect with the characters Mariam and Laila really well. At times the book would have low points in it but sure enough it would pick right back up.
The parts about war weren’t to interesting for me, the way the author explained it could have been made more interesting. The book overall was really well written. Had great description to events in it. Surprisingly, it had made me tear up at parts such as when Laila thought Tariq had died and when Mariam had disowned Jalil as her father. The novel had some very interesting characters. Rasheed and Jalil were two characters that I really wasn’t fond of but towards the end, I had felt some sympathy for Jalil when I found out that he regret letting Laila go and how he ended up dying.
Rasheed, however, was a character which I felt no sympathy towards but more of hatred feeling. Mariam was a character I was really able to relate to because I understood how she felt in the begging, where she believed her father was an honest, loving father and her mother was a strict person. When first introduced to Laila, she wasn’t a very interesting character, but once I learned more about her I was able to feel her emotions in the book. It got confusing when it went from Mariam to Laila but once getting use to of it, it was pretty simple to comprehend.
I liked how this was written in third person but was still very descriptive. This novel was able to show what women have to endure in life, not just women in Afghanistan, but everyone. I think that the author shouldn’t have wrote Mariam’s death the way he did because it didn’t seem the right way for her to die after endearing all that she had. Overall a pretty good book and I would recommend it to anyone that’s interested on how people lives are the middle east.