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Study Guide: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - BookNotes

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16.) “It’s not so much what he says, the blatant lies, the contrived empathy, or even the fact that he has not raised a hand to her, Mariam, since he had dug the girl out from under those bricks. It is the staged delivery. Like a performance. An attempt on his part, both sly and pathetic, to impress. To charm. And suddenly, Mariam knows that her suspicions are right. She understands with a dread that is a blinding whack to the side of her head that what she is witnessing is nothing less than a courtship.”
(pg. 191; This shows the moment Mariam realizes that Rasheed is trying to win Laila’s hand in marriage.)

17.) “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.”
(pg. 218; This is the moment when Mariam bond with Laila’s baby.)

18.) They have three cups of tea while they sit there, and then Aziza awakens and begins to cry. Rasheed yells for Laila to come upstairs and shut her up. That’s when “a look passes between Laila and Mariam. An unguarded, knowing look. And in this fleeting, wordless exchange with Mariam, Laila knows that they are not enemies any longer.”
(pg. 224; This the moment when Mariam and Laila bond.)

19.) “ ‘Why have you pinned your little heart to an old, ugly hag like me?” She murmurs into Aziza’s hair. “Huh? I am a nobody, don’t you see? A dehati. What have I got to give you?’ She has found in this little creature the first true connection in her life of false, failed connections.’ “
(pg. 226; This quote shows how deeply Mariam is coming to love little Aziza.)

20.) Rasheed says to Laila after she is brought back by the police, “You try this again and I will find you. I swear on the Prophet’s name that I will find you. And if I do, there isn’t a court in this godforsaken country that will hold me accountable for what I still do. To Mariam first, then to her, and you last. I’ll make you watch. You understand me? I’ll make you watch.”
(pg. 243; This reinforces the basic cruelty of Rasheed.)

21.) Mariam has been teaching Aziza all the verses she should know from the Koran. Mariam thinks, “It’s all I have to give her, this knowledge, these prayers. They’re the only true possessions I’ve ever had.”
(pg. 265; This is poignant, because it shows how little Mariam has ever had and how much she wants to give.)

22.) “Everybody wants Jack to rescue them from disaster. But there is no Jack, Jack is not coming. Jack is dead.”
(pg. 270; This is how Laila applies the plot of Titanic to the situation in Afghanistan.)

23.) Laila insists that it isn’t fair for Mariam to stay and face punishment for Rasheed’s death, but Mariam tells her it is. She says she has killed their husband and deprived Zalmai of a father. It isn’t right that she runs. She will never escape Zalmai’s grief. How will she look at him in the future? She says, “For me it ends here. There’s nothing more I want. Everything I’d ever wished for as a little girl you’ve already given me. You and your children have made me so very happy. It’s all right, Laila jo. This is all right. Don’t be sad.”
(pg. 319; This is Mariam’s justification for staying behind and accepting punishment for killing Rasheed.)

24.) After Mariam was punished with a sentence of death, she was led out to sign a document while the Taliban watched. “She wrote out her name - the neem, the reh, the yah, and the neem - remembering the last time she signed her name to a document, twenty-seven years before, at Jalil’s table, beneath the watchful gaze of another mullah.
(pg. 326; This signinig of her own death warrant reminds Mariam of signing the marriage contract with Rasheed. They both signify a kind of death for her.)

25.) Mariam had entered this world a harami, a weed, but she is leaving it a woman who had loved and been loved back. “This is a legitimate end to a life of illegitimate beginnings.” She begins to say a few words from the Koran as the executioner tells her to kneel and look down. “For one last time, Miriam does as she is told.”
(pg. 329; This represents the last thoughts of Mariam.)

26.) There is now a part of Laila that wants to return to the city of her birth for Mammy and Babi, for them to see it through her eyes. She also asks herself if Mariam had died so she could be a maid in a foreign land. “Maybe it wouldn’t matter to Mariam what Laila did as long as she and the children were safe and happy. But it matters to Laila. Suddenly, it matters very much.”
(pg. 345; This shows Laila’s determination to go back to Afghanistan.)

27.) “But the naming game involves only male names, because if it’s a girl, Laila has already named her.”
(pg. 367; This is the last sentence of the novel and shows that Laila is pregnant and will name a girl child Mariam in honor of the woman who had come to mean so much to her.)

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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on A Thousand Splendid Suns". . 09 May 2017