Study Guide: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - BookNotes|
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A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS: BOOK SUMMARY / LITERATURE SUMMARY
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.
The climax occurs when Mariam murders Rasheed. After that the lives
of the two women take very different paths.
Mariam is arrested for murdering Rasheed and is excuted in the stadium
in front of thousands of people. Laila escapes Kabul and goes to Pakistan
with Tariq and her children. She eventually returns, first stopping in
Herat to see the place where Mariam grew up, and then returning to Kabul
to create a better home and a new school for her children and the children
The story covers three decades of anti-Soviet jihad, civil war and Taliban
tyranny seen from the perspectives of two women. Mariam is the scorned
illegitimate daughter of a wealthy businessman, forced at age fifteen
into marrying Rasheed, who grows increasingly brutal when she fails to
produce a child. Eighteen years later, Rasheed takes another wife, fourteen
year-old Laila, a smart and spirited girl whose only other options, after
her parents are killed by rocket fire, are prostitution or starvation.
Mariam and Laila become allies in a battle with Rasheed, whose violent
abuse is endorsed by custom and law. The author gives a forceful portrait
of despotism where women are dependent on fathers, husbands and especially
sons, the bearing of male children being their only path to an accepted
social status. Each woman in the end is forced to accept a path that will
never be completely happy for them: Mariam will have to sacrifice 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.
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. 09 May 2017