Study Guide: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - BookNotes|
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A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS: SYNOPSIS / BOOK SUMMARY NOTES
Jalil accompanies them to the bus for Kabul and Rasheed goes ahead and
finds a seat to allow the man to say his goodbyes to his daughter. All
Mariam can imagine is a meek goodbye with Jalil running alongside the
bus, waving cheerfully, unscathed, spared. She decides she cannot allow
it. She says to him, “I used to worship you . . . On Thursdays, I sat
for hours waiting for you . . . I thought about you all the time . . .
I didn’t know you were ashamed of me.” All the time she says these things,
Jalil tries to change the subject, but she continues on and when he says
he will visit her, she insists that he must never come. She doesn’t ever
want to hear from him again. She says, “It ends here for you and me. Say
your goodbyes.” Jalil can only say, “Don’t leave like this.” However,
Mariam just climbs on the bus and refuses to even acknowledge her father,
even when he presses his palms against the window and raps his knuckles
against the glass. She doesn’t look at him, even when he runs alongside
the bus and calls her name. Her new husband tells her, “There now, girl.
There. There,” but his words are spoken absentmindedly as if there is
something more interesting out the window than her.
Mariam’s wedding is a joke. She has no way to protect herself from her
father and his wives determination to have her out of their home. Ironically,
when he pleads for her to say yes to the marriage, she gives in. The way
she describes Rasheed shows that he has many unlikable traits and the
mirror not only show both of their faces, but reflects a couple that is
different from each other that the future may offer only despair for them
both. Her refusal to allow her father to feel no guilt as she leaves is
the only power she has left.
Mariam and Rasheed arrive in Kabul in the early evening of the following day. She must pay close attention when he talks because of the Kabuli dialect of Farsi and his Pashto accent. His house is smaller than Jalil’s but a mansion compared to the kolba. The houses are crowded together and share common walls, with small, walled yards in front buffering them from the street. Rasheed’s house had once been blue and has two stories. The yard is unkempt with an outhouse on the right and a well with a hand pump on the left. Rasheed tells her that Jalil has said she liked to fish and says maybe he will take her someday. Mariam stands in the middle of the living room and looks around, noting everything that is different from the kolba that she knew so intimately. Now, all the things that had been so familiar to her are gone. She is in a stranger’s home and the space of it suffocates her.
Mariam begins to cry. That’s when Rasheed finally begins to talk to
her at length. He makes it clear that he does not like crying women. When
Mariam says she wants to go home, he tells her that he won’t take this
comment personally. This time. He shows her to her bedroom and explains
that he prefers to sleep alone. It is much smaller than the room she used
at Jalil’s home. She is relieved for the time being that he chooses not
to sleep with her. He points out the basket he has left on the windowsill
- white tuberoses spill over its side. He asks her if she likes them and
when Mariam says yes, he demands that she thank him. She does and she
also apologizes. When Rasheed sees she is shaking, he asks if she is afraid
of him, if he frightens her. She can hear something slyly playful in the
tone of his questions, like a needling. However, Mariam tells her new
husband her first lie and says she is not afraid. Then, he leaves her
alone with her suitcase and dry flowers.
Mariam is already stressed and traumatized by what has happened to her, but
Rasheed shows no signs of being a sympathetic husband. His home is rough,
his tone is rough, and his behavior is somewhat a signal of what might
come in the future.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on A Thousand Splendid Suns".
. 09 May 2017