A Thousand Splendid Suns
A Thousand Splendid Suns, written by Khaled Hosseini, is a story that is set place in modern-day Afghanistan. It is a story of two particular women who live under the control of a persecuting husband and the infamous rule of the Taliban. In A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini shifts the narrative perspective throughout the different sections. Overall, the story is told from an omniscient third person. The external character shows the reader world events as they happen and how it affects the main characters, Mariam and Laila, with a factual, unbiased perspective. As the story progressed, we switch to third person ...view middle of the document...
Nonetheless, when the Taliban finally come into power, her parents soon become victim to the violent bombings of Kabul, and immediately, she is orphaned. Then, as if by chance or luck, Rasheed finds Laila and digs her out of the rubble and eventually marries her. As Mariam and Laila form a mutual bond and lasting friendship, each soon realizes the anger and malice that Rasheed possesses. On numerous occasions he beats them, hits them, spits at them, ridicules them, and much more. Ultimately, Mariam and Laila attempt to escape, but fail, which in turn infuriates Rasheed even more. These two women then work together and protect each other, and in due course, kill Rasheed during one of his “ritual” beatings. In the end, Mariam is killed for murdering her husband, and Laila, with her children, Aziza and Zalmai, finds Tariq and marries him; then, together they start their own family. Throughout the course of the story, not only was a passionate, well-written story presented, but also a clear picture of what Afghan culture and its aspects are really like.
One cultural facet of Afghanistan that really stood out was what controlling husbands do to their “unimportant” wives which Hosseini was quite candid about. Firstly, in one example, Rasheed is so upset with Mariam’s cooking, that he goes out, brings some pebbles in, and forces her to chew on them until her molars crack (Hosseini 94). This scene shows that husbands were in complete control in nearly every household, and the wives could not do anything. Secondly, when Laila and Rasheed are having an argument about what to do with their daughter Aziza (because they have become poor and it is hard to support all of them as it is), Rasheed becomes extremely infuriated and puts the barrel of his gun down Laila’s throat (Hosseini 267). After reading this, one can easily infer that in a controlling relationship, especially in Afghanistan, the husband can literally do whatever he desires and would never be penalized for it. Thirdly, when the police bring Mariam and Laila home after their failed escape attempt, Rasheed is vindictive in his actions: he locks both of them up in separate rooms, Laila with her daughter in one, and Mariam in the tool shed outside. Not only are the “prisoners” burning in extreme heat, they nearly die of thirst as well (Hosseini 239-243). This scene shows that Rasheed was indeed capable of inflicting sickening extremities upon his wives, and that in the Afghan culture; he would never be convicted of doing such a thing. After reviewing what happens to women in controlling relationships in this country, one must then look at the effects of being brutally treated by a husband of Rasheed’s caliber.
In the Middle Eastern cultures, men tend to have more rights and freedoms than their female counterparts, so it is not surprising to hear about some of the ways Laila and Mariam rebel against Rasheed’s rule. Firstly, in times of crisis people look for others for support,...