The theme of inner strength of women is the most prevalent theme. Both
Mariam and Laila endure so much heartache merely because they are women,
yet each continuously pulls together the strength to persevere. Mariam
faces a father who refuses to acknowledge her, a husband who abuses her
for twenty-seven years, and the need to murder the man when he is determined
to kill Laila. Through every instance, she keeps her inborn grace and
accepts what fate hands her. Laila faces the loss of the boy she loves,
the deaths of her parents and marriage to Rasheed who abuses her for first
producing a girl and then finding out itís not his child. In the end,
she faces the challenge of being a woman who returns to her home country
with the intention of helping rebuild the country and to honor the memory
The theme of the human capacity for evil is also an important idea. The
characters are victims of the Soviets, the Mujahideen, and the Taliban
all of whom have little compassion for human life. Power becomes the all-encompassing
motivator in the lives of these evil men instead of the hopes and dreams
of their countrymen as well as the beauty and success of their country.
The women are victims of the power games of men. The Taliban establishes
rules and regulations that deny women even basic health care or the capacity
to care for their children. But their evil is more individually seen in
men like Rasheed who marries to produce sons and abuses when he doesnít
have one. He is a man who presents no fury like the one he unleashes against
a scornful woman. He would have killed both Mariam and Laila had Mariam
not killed him first. Under the Taliban, he may never have been punished
for such an act.
Another theme would be loyalty and devotion. This occurs between Laila
and her father and Laila and Tariq as well as Mariam and Laila. Laila
loves her father more than life itself and totally understands his desire
that she be an educated, successful woman. It is his belief that women
will be needed to help re-build Afghanistan that convinces her to return
to Kabul. Lailaís loyalty and devotion to Tariq begins in childhood when
they become fast friends. It continues in adulthood when he asks her to
marry him when his family leaves Kabul. She refuses, because of her devotion
to her father, but makes love with Tariq and brings his beautiful daughter
into the world. Thoughts of him never leave her and so when he comes to
her house, she thinks nothing of bringing him inside at the risk of Rasheed
finding out. Later, she marries him and looks toward a future of rebuilding
her country. Of course, the devotion and loyalty between Mariam and Laila
is the central idea of the novel. The two women face an abusive husband
together and help each other cope with raising two small children. Then,
when Rasheed threatens to kill Laila, Mariam accepts the fate of being
his murderer and offers up the last great devotion she can: her life.
A final theme involves discrimination of women in Afghan society. Every
group that rules Afghanistan allows men to have complete power over their
wives and then, the Taliban makes it law. Beatings, murder, loss of control
of their children, and humiliation are only a few of the discriminatory
practices among some Muslim countries. They continue even today. Mariam
and Laila were only two women in the story who were abused and mistreated
by their husbands. It is only their sense of loyalty to their children
that often gives them the strength to persevere.
At times, the mood is tragic, filled with despair, and very sad; at other
times, it is uplifting and hopeful; finally, it is a triumphant commentary
on strength of womankind.
Khaled Hosseini was born on March 4, 1965. He is the oldest of five children. His father worked for the Afghan Foreign Consul and his mother taught Farsi and history at a girls' high school in Kabul.
Kabul, Afghanistan is the boyhood home of Khaled Hosseini,
In the early 1970s, Khaled's family moved to Tehran, Iran when his father was assigned to a diplomatic post at the Afghan Embassy in Iran. They returned home to Kabul in 1973. In 1976 his family moved to Paris, France, where his father was a diplomat at the Afghan Embassy. They were to return home to Afghanistan in 1980, when the Russians invaded his country. His father was recalled home after the invasion, but decided to ask for political asylum in the United States and received it.
As a result, Hosseini ended up in San Jose, California. They struggled to make ends meet for a while, as they had lost all of their property in Afghanistan and had to start over. His father worked many jobs and they were able to get back on their feet.
Khaled graduated from high school in 1984. He then graduated from Santa Clara University with a bachelor's degree in Biology in 1988. He attended medical school at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, specializing in internal medicine. He received his medical degree in 1993 and completed his residency training at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. Since 1996 he has practiced as a physician and is now married with a son and a daughter, Haris and Farah. They now live in northern California.
He begain working on the The Kite Runner in 2001 and finished it in 2002. He found a literary agent and The Kite Runner was published in 2003. The Kite Runner was his first novel. A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007) is his second novel.
Cite this page:
Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on A Thousand Splendid Suns".
varLocale = SetLocale(2057)
file = Request.ServerVariables("PATH_TRANSLATED")
Set fs = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
Set f = fs.GetFile(file)
LastModified = f.datelastmodified
response.write FormatDateTime(LastModified, 1)
Set f = Nothing
Set fs = Nothing