Study Guide: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - BookNotes|
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A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS: ONLINE BOOK REVIEW
This chapter explores the growing animosity between Mariam and Laila
as well as Laila’s despair for her loss of freedom and family. However,
it ends on a good notes with the first kicks of the baby in Laila’s belly.
Early in the spring of 1993, Mariam stands by the living room window as Rasheed gently escorts Laila out of the house. She is in labor, and he is ever so gentle with her, calling her his flower. They come back early the next evening. This time, Rasheed enters the gate first and allows it to close prematurely, almost hitting the girl in the face. There is a shadow on his own face, and he tells Mariam brusquely to get dinner ready. Meanwhile, Laila struggles to get in the door with the swaddled bundle and the paper bag of her belongings. However, Mariam just moves off into the kitchen to prepare the meal.
It is soon apparent to the reader why Rasheed has become as mean to Laila as he has been to Mariam: the new baby is a girl. Laila has named her Aziza, the Cherished One, but Rasheed only calls her the baby, or that thing. Also night after night, they argue over the baby, and whether they can continue their love life. Rasheed pushes while Laila pushes back. Rasheed even goes to Mariam and asks for her help in convincing Lalila to make love.
Mariam watches from the sidelines as the girl’s days become consumed with cycle of rocking, bouncing, feeding, and walking. Laila is forced to dress Aziza in boy’s clothes, because that is what Rasheed had bought before the birth, and he won’t buy more now. Mariam finds it exhausting to watch the girl with her baby, and yet to a degree, she admires her. She also notices that Rasheed has no patience for Lalila any more. “The strange thing is, the girl’s fall from grace ought to have pleased Mariam, bring her a sense of vindication. But it doesn’t. It doesn’t. To her own surprise, Mariam finds herself pitying the girl.” Rasheed is also verbally cruel to Laila, telling her not to get attached to Aziza as the government of Afghanistan is saying that one out of four children will die before the age of five. This of course leads to bickering between Lalila and Rasheed which escalates when Laila refuses to have sex with Rasheed. One night when Laila refuses him again, Rasheed grabs his belt and heads for Mariam’s room. He accuses her of teaching Laila to deny him, He raises the belt while, like all the other times he has beaten her, Mariam is frozen with her fear. Laila bursts into the room and grabs his arm, begging him to stop. She hangs on to his arm and finally tells him he wins, and she’ll give in. Mariam then knows there will be no beating this night. He has made his point and leaves the room with the warning that he is on to their plot, and he won’t be made a fool in his own home.
Three times that night Mariam is awakened from sleep. One is the falling
of rockets. The second is the crying of the baby. The last is her need
for a drink of water. She goes downstairs to the kitchen where she nearly
trips over Lalila lying on a quilt with the baby beside her. The baby
is awake, and she seems to be examining Mariam as much as Mariam is examining
her. The little girl squeals happily when Mariam leans toward her, and
the older woman knows that a favorable judgment has been passed on her
behalf. The baby grabs Mariam’s pinky and begins to coo at her. Mariam
asks her what she’s so happy about given that she has a brute for a father
and a fool for a mother. She bends down and allows Aziza to hold onto
her hand until she closes her eyes and falls asleep. “Outside mockingbirds
are slinging blithely, and once in a while, when songsters take flight,
Mariam can see their wings catching the phosphorescent blue of moonlight
beaming through the clouds. And though her throat is parched with thirst,
and her feet burn with the pain of pins and needles, it is a long time
before Mariam gently frees her finger from the baby’s grip and gets up.”
This chapter shows how Laila is becoming attached enough to Mariam to give
into sex with Rasheed and then later, how Mariam becomes so attached to
Aziza that she sits in a most uncomfortable position until the tiny baby
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on A Thousand Splendid Suns".
. 09 May 2017