Study Guide: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - BookNotes|
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A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS: ONLINE NOTES / PLOT ANALYSIS
They eat a small lunch at the Buddhas and then Tariq takes a nap. Babi sits down to read a book about an old man named Santiago who caught a huge fish which was eaten by sharks as he rowed it home. This is obviously Heminway’s Old Man and the Sea. Laila sits by the stream and dips her feet in the water. She thinks a long time about Babi’s dream of leaving Afghanistan and knows that she could never leave either. That is because she could never cope with Tariq’s permanent absence. “Maybe it is senseless to want to be near a person so badly in a country where bullets had shredded her own brothers to pieces. But all Laila has to do is picture Tariq going at Khadim with his leg and then nothing in the world seems more sensible to her.”
Six months later, in April of 1988, Babi comes home with the news that
the Soviets and the government of Najibullah have signed a treaty and
the Soviets are leaving. Mammy says it is not enough, because Najibullah
is still a Communist, but Babi is convinced that he won’t last. Mammy
still says that they can celebrate if they want, but she won’t rest until
the Mujahideen hold a victory parade in Kabul.
The trip to the Bamiyan Valley reflects the deep love Babi feels for
Laila and even Mammy who hasn’t been a real wife to him since their sons
left for the war. Nonetheless, he still dreams about taking her and Laila
away to America and beginning again by the sea. However, Laila’s deep
love is for Tariq, and she knows that she could never leave him behind.
In January, 1989, three months after Lalila turns eleven, she and her parents watch with crowds along the street as the last Soviet convoys exit the city. There are heckles and jeers from the crowd and Mammy holds high pictures of Ahmed and Noor just like many other mothers whose sons are shaheed. Tariq shows up wearing a huge Russian fur hat complete with earflaps that he has pulled down. He wants to look ridiculous as a way to make fun of the Russians. Tariq has come there alone, because his family stays at home now. His uncle from Ghazni has died the year before from a heart attack and his father has had one of his own which leaves him anxious and depressed.
Laila and Tariq steal away to buy some food from a street vendor. Then, they sit behind Laila’s parents on the bus home. Mammy stares silently out the window, clutching the picture of her sons to her chest. Babi listens impassively to a man who is convinced that Najibullah will continue to be a puppet of the Soviets and the war will go on. Mammy begins muttering to herself, long-winded prayers until she has no breath left.
Later that day, Laila and Tariq go to the cinema and watch a Soviet
film that is ridiculously dubbed into Farsi and makes them laugh together
hysterically. When the main characters of the story get married in the
end, Tariq declares he will never marry and Laila says she won’t either.
However, she’s a little disappointed in his declaration, because of her
feelings for him. Then, the married couple kiss passionately as the movie
ends, and Laila and Tariq glance sideways at each other to each other’s
reaction. Laila wonders what it would be like to kiss him and feel the
fuzzy hair above his lip tickling her own lips. The tension between them
is thick enough to cut with a knife, but Tariq breaks it by telling a
gross joke. Outside, Laila is relieved that the sky has dimmed so she
won’t have to meet Tariq’s eyes in the bright daylight.
This chapter reinforces Mammy’s continuing inability to break through her
grief and live a normal life. It is also a chapter that reinforces the
growing love between Tariq and Laila.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on A Thousand Splendid Suns".
. 09 May 2017