Study Guide: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - BookNotes|
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A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS: PRINTABLE STUDY GUIDE
In June of 1992, there is even heavier fighting in Kabul, and Babi begs Mammy to leave the city. However, she refuses, believing that her heroes will work out their differences. She believes also that leaving the city would be a betrayal of everything her sons died for. So they are committed to staying. ďThen, the streets become so unsafe that Babi does an unthinkable thing: He has Laila drop out of school.Ē He takes over the teaching duties himself. Laila loves to listen to him teach, because when he does, he is transformed. However, not even his wonderful teaching can keep her thoughts from wandering to her stolen moments with Tariq and the feel of his kisses.
In the same month of June, tragedy comes again into Lailaís life. Giti
and two of her friends are walking home from school when a stray rocket
hits the three of them. Gitiís mother is so hysterical that she runs up
and down the street gathering up the body parts of her daughter. Her foot
is not found until two weeks later on the roof of a nearby house. At Gitiís
funeral, Laila finds herself unable to comprehend that Giti is no longer
alive. For the first time, all the tears she was unable to shed at her
brothersí funeral now begin to pour down her face.
This chapter shows the horror of the war that has come to Kabul. Laila
experiences everything from the whistle of rockets to the sound of gunfire
to the death of her friend, Giti. In the midst of this horror, however,
is the growing love between her and Tariq.
Laila is talking with Tariq in her living room, but she feels like she is made of cement. She can picture her life as a rotted rope, snapping, unraveling, the fibers detaching, falling away. It is August, 1992, and Babi has taken Mammy to a doctor, but Laila cannot even think of that. Instead, all she hears are Tariqís words: he and his family are going away to escape the war, because his fatherís heart canít take the killing and dying anymore. They are leaving the next day, and even though Tariq has known for awhile, he hasnít told Laila until this moment, because he knew how upset sheíd be.
Lalila berates herself for not seeing that this was coming. Their neighborhood
is all but empty, because so many families have chosen to escape the fighting
and carnage. Nonetheless, she begins to wail and cry, knowing itís irrational
and selfish, but feeling furious with him for abandoning her. So she slaps
him and pulls his hair, all the time screaming in rage. He eventually
quiets her with his kisses and then, almost as if itís beyond their control,
they begin to make love. In the coming days and weeks, Laila would scramble
frantically to commit it all to memory, so as to salvage from the pain
of knowing heís leaving the sweet moments of his love. They are amazed
at their own boldness, their courage in the face of possibly being discovered,
and when itís over, they are stunned by the enormity of what they have
done. Laila feels shame and guilt, and yet, she almost thinks it can be
done: she can go away with Tariq and his family, leave the war forever
and be with the man she loves. ďThe bleak isolation awaiting her, the
murderous loneliness, it doesnít have to be.Ē Tariq begs her to go, saying
they can be married that very day. He knows that Babi will give his blessing
and Laila knows it, too. But Babi has said that Laila is all he has and
if she leaves with Tariq, it will shatter him. Tariq continues to beg
her to marry him, even though he knows that her obligations are no less
important than his. He tells her finally that he loves her, and Laila
thinks how ironic it is that just as he finally says the words she has
longed to hear, he is going away, and she cannot go with him. In the end,
she forces him to leave. She bolts the door closed to him while he pounds
on it outside and begs her again to come. Finally, he gives up, promising
that he will come back for her someday.
This is one of the most touching chapters of the book. Tariq is leaving and
in their agony of knowing they are now to be parted, he and Laila seal
their love with their bodies and their words. Nevertheless, they know
that they each have responsibilities that will keep them apart, perhaps
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. 09 May 2017