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

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There are several other literary devices that pop up at various times in the story. One of the most prevalent ones is foreshadowing which frequently presents clues of something that will happen later in the novel. Some examples of foreshadowing include:

1.) When Jalil would leave, Nana would tell Mariam that he told rich lies - a rich man telling rich lies. She told Mariam that he had never taken her to see the tree and that he had betrayed them both by casting them out. This foreshadows how Jalil will one day refuse her entrance to his house and then marry her off to Rasheed.

2.) Nana often told Mariam that he had told his wives that Nana had forced her self on him and that it was her fault. “This is what it means to be a woman in this world,” she would say. This foreshadows the way that Rasheed will treat Mariam after they are married.

3.) Mariam decides that one day, soon, she will tell Jalil of her desire to live with him, and she believes that surely, he will take her with him. This foreshadows the tragic outcome when Mariam tells Jalil she wants to go to the movies with him and his other children.

4.) Nana accuses Mariam of abandoning her, and insists she’ll die if Miriam leaves. This foreshadows her suicide.

5.) Over the years that followed, Miriam would have many times when she would wonder how things might have turned out if she had just allowed the chauffeur to take her home. But she didn’t. This foreshadows the tragedy of Mariam’s forced marriage after she goes univited to her father’s house.

6.) So Mariam and Rasheed exchange rings and are pronounced married. Mariam signs her name to the marriage contract. The next time she signs her name to a document, twenty-seven years later, a mullah will again be present. This foreshadows the days she signs her own death penalty.

7.) Mariam’s new husband tells her, “There now, girl. There. There,” when she cries over leaving her father, but his words are spoken absentmindedly as if there is something more interesting out the window than her. This foreshadows that he has no intention of being a good husband to her.

8.) There is something vaguely unsettling to Mariam about the way Rasheed seems to loom over his first wife in their photograph. He has his hands on her shoulders and wears a savory, tight-lipped smile while her face is sullen and unsmiling. Also, her body seems to tip forward as if she is trying to wriggle free of his hands. This foreshadows how Rasheed must have treated his first wife and how he feels about all women.

9.) As Laila and Babi go out the door, they see a blue Benz parked up the street in front of the shoemaker’s house with two men sitting inside. . . The license plate on the car indicates it’s from Herat. This foreshadows what the reader finds out later was the final attempt by Mariam’s father to make amends with her before he died.

10.) Laila and Tariq rush back to the party to find a knife fight going on between a Pashtun and a Tajik who disagree about whether Massoud is a traitor. This foreshadows the civil war that breaks out between the various warlords in Afghanistan.

11.) With the passing of time, she will slowly tire of this exercise; there will come day when she will no longer bewail his loss, when the details with slip from her memory, when she will not miss him as she does now like the phantom pain of an amputee. Except, every once in a while, when she is a grown woman, pushing her child on a swing set, something trivial like the warmth of the carpet beneath her feet, and it will all come rushing back, flood her, and steal her breath. This foreshadows that her love for Tariq really won’t ever leave her and she will be able to fall back into a relationship with him just like her were never gone.

12.) Babi is wearing his San Francisco tee-shirt. By telling the reader this bit of information, the author prepares us for Babi’s death.

13.) After the explosion, a woman’s face appears above Laila’s with a fluorescent light behind it. It fades away to black. Later, there is a man’s face, his features broad and droopy. She cannot hear him even though his lips move. This foreshadows that Rasheed and Mariam will care for Laila’s injuries.

14.) Mariam asks Rasheed how long she is staying and he says until she is better and calls her poor thing. He also brings her new blankets and a pillow as well as a bottle of vitiamins. He even salvages a handful of Babi’s books from the pile of rubble that was their house. He tells Laila all about how he had found her under the rubble and brought her to his house with a scrap of metal embedded in her shoulder. This foreshadows Rasheed’s plan to get Laila to marry him.

15.) Sometimes Laila catches Rasheed looking at Aziza in the most peculiar way. Then, he will ask what was between her and Tariq whom he calls yaklenga, the cripple, and even after she says that they were just friends, he will almost interrogate her about their relationship, asking if they every did anything out of order. This foreshadows how the knowledge that Tariq is Aziza’s father and he has been in Rasheed’s house will lead to Rasheed’s attempt to kill her.

16.) If the fancy strikes him, Rasheed will be in within his rights to give Aziza away. This foreshadows his decision to send her to the orphanage.

17.) Laila is appalled at Rasheed’s losing two jobs and goads him about why. He eventually turns on her, beating her and kicking her. He says, “I swear you’re going to make me kill you, Laila.” This foreshadows how he eventually must be killed himself or he would have strangled her to death.

18.) On a blistering hot day, Mariam puts on her burqa and she and Rasheed take a bus to the Intercontinental Hotel. Rasheed speaks to the doorman while Mariam stands to the side and watches. She thinks there is something vaguely familiar about the doorman. This foreshadows the fact that the doorman had told Laila his name was Abdul Sharif and he had witnessed Tariq’s death.

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