Study Guide: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - BookNotes|
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A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS: CHAPTER SUMMARY / LITERATURE NOTES
The next day, Mariam dresses in her best clothes and begins to check the clock. She wonders where Nana is, but doesnít look for her in fear of being accused of betrayal. At eleven-thirty, she puts the pebbles in her pocket and goes outside to the steam. She sees Nana sitting in a chair in the shade of a weeping willow. She doesnít know if her mother sees her, but she keeps on walking to the stream. But noon come and goes, and Jalil does not arrive. It is almost one oíclock, but Mariam tells herself that he is a businessman, and something has come up. However, time continues to pass, and he fails to arrive. So, Mariam picks herself off the ground, and for the first time in her life, she heads down the hill for Herat.
When she arrives in the town, Mariam realizes that Nana had been wrong about Herat as well. No one points at her or calls her names. In fact, she is an ordinary person. She loves everything about it and gives herself over to the thought of a new life in this city, with her father, with brothers and sisters, a life in which she will love and be loved back without reservation or shame. She eventually works up the nerve to ask the elderly owner of a horse-drawn gari if he knows where Jalil lives. He replies that everyone knows where Jalil Khan lives. Then, he offers to take her there in the gari. When they arrive, it is obvious Jalil is at home, because his car is there. Mariam has never before touched a car, and she strokes it gently as she heads for the door of the house. A woman comes to the door at her knock, and she tells the woman that she is Miriam, and she is here to see Jalil Khan. The woman at first seems confused and then seems to take on an air of anticipation as she tells Mariam to wait there. Then, Jalilís driver comes to the door and tells Mariam that Jalil is not there and that she needs to go home. However, Mariam refuses and insists sheíll wait on the doorstep until he returns. He says he wonít be back until the next day, and it will be too cold for her to stay there. Mariam then says that he should let her in the house. He tells her has been instructed not to do that. Mariam crosses her arms stubbornly and refuses to leave.
Over the years that followed, Miriam would have many times when she
would wonder how things might have turned out if she had just allowed
the chauffeur to take her home. But she didnít. So she spends the night
outside Jalilís home. In the morning, she awakens to see that someone
has placed a blanket over her. The chauffeur now tells Mariam that she
has done enough, and she must leave at once. Instead, she runs into Jalilís
garden where she sees a brief flash of Jalilís face at the window before
the curtain is drawn across. Suddenly, she is lifted off the ground by
the driver and forced into the car, kicking and screaming. On the way
home, the driver speaks to her a muted, consoling tone, but Mariam cries
tears of grief and deep, deep shame at how foolishly she had given herself
over to Jalil and how she had dismissed her motherís stricken looks and
puffy eyes. She wonders what she will say to Nana, how she will apologize.
Then, the driver helps her out and says he will walk her to the kolba.
He helps her across the stream and lets her go until he sees something
that makes him shout, ďGo back! Donít look!Ē However, he isnít fast enough
and Mariam sees. A gust of wind blows back part of the drooping branches
of the weeping willow. There is an overturned straight-back chair. There
is a rope dropping from a high branch, and Nana is dangling at the end
Mariamís fifteenth birthday turns out to be the most tragic one she had ever
experienced. She is rejected by both of her parents. First, Jalil fails
to show up to take her to his cinema and then refuses to admit her to
his home or acknowledge her as his daughter. Second, her mother, in her
deep despair at being abandoned, commits suicide, rejecting her daughter
completely and leaving her to suffer from the guilt that is sure to follow.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on A Thousand Splendid Suns".
. 09 May 2017