A Thousand Splendid Suns Journey

Preliminary Advanced English 2012 A Thousand Splendid Suns Khaled Hosseini God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. A Thousand Splendid Sons by Khaled Hosseini portrays the courage within people to overcome change and accept the differences that life itself ultimately shows. Hosseini has written a strong climatic novel from the beginning of an accomplished civilized nation through to a war-torn country separated into pieces with no bounds of destruction.
This intriguing story is set on the outskirts of the city Herat situated in Afghanistan where a young girl Mariam is born. The story is later moved on to the capital city, Kabul where another young girl Laila is given birth to. Hosseini depicts an image of women’s suffrage that is truly heart filled and effectively shows the inner strength, courage and bravery women had in order to survive and live to fulfill their many hopes and dreams. The author does this through the effective use of characterization, narrative style, the themes and issues portrayed within the text, relationships and emotions.
Khaled Hosseini has used strong characterization and use of the technique narrative style in order to depict Mariam and Laila who are the two main characters in Hosseini’s inspiring yet heartbreaking story a thousand Splendid Suns. Hosseini has written this story through the technique of third person in order to effectively show the true feelings of the characters Mariam and Laila. The strong use of third person as the narrative style is a very important part of this text as it clearly emphasizes the emotions and feelings that Mariam and Laila experience whilst they face the many hardships placed upon them. She lived in fear of his shifting moods, his volatile temperament, his insistence on steering even mundane exchanges down a confrontational path that, on occasion, he would resolve with punches, slaps, kicks, and sometimes try to make amends for with polluted apologies, and sometimes not. ”Mariam’s thoughts are so clearly depicted in the above lines that it gives the reader a full insight on how she fears each and every day as to how and what her husband’s mood will be when he arrives home and according to that how she will be treated. This illustrates the unjust behaviour she faces in her married life.

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The narrative style also is an excellent feature that engages the reader as it is a truly inspiring experience to be able to understand and comprehend what a woman is going through and how many things endlessly roam a mind when overcoming issues in life that we would never even think of let alone need to face in our lifetimes. A Thousand Splendid Suns also incorporates many themes and issues in Afghan society that effect women up until the present day. Hosseini shows the harsh reality of many women whose lives are filled with injustice and cruelty. He illustrates the cultural distinction between marriage and true love.
The marriages in the novel are forced arranged marriages that have no likelihood to love. Mariam’s mother, tells her child that marriage cannot hold love, that men are cold heartless creatures, yet later after Nana’s unexpected death Mariam’s first instinct when she was being forcefully married to an elderly man Rasheed, thirty years her senior was of despise but later she thought with an open mind and knew she wouldn’t want to be a burden on anyone as a young unmarried women. Mariam therefore had hope that her marriage would lead to contentment and possible love, but unfortunately the marriage delves into abuse and oppression.
At this time she remembers her mother’s words “A man’s heart is a wreched, wreched thing. It is not like a mother’s womb, it will not bleed for you, it will not stretch to make room for you” these words fill her mind with truth as she looks upon her one sided, disastrous marriage filled with hate and inequity. Another aspect that is shown quite clearly in Hosseini’s text is that of multiple marriages. In this novel Mariam’s husband finds young Laila buried under rubble after a torpedo strikes her street and instantly kills her family. He takes her home and says to his wife to care for her.
Once she is recovered he gives her an ultimatum that in order for him to take care of her and live with them she must marry him as she has no other way to live in such a war torn city. She agrees and later in time joins the oppression, abuse and injustice placed on Mariam. Hosseini illustrates the true colors of what these women go through and how life itself becomes a nightmare for them. There are many relationships displayed in Hosseini’s novel, relationships of hate, love, youth, friendships, siblings, marriages and family, but there is one very unique bond formed in this text.
Hosseini at first portrays the obvious jealousy Mariam has towards the young girl Laila, as she must share her husband with such competition. Rasheed, husband to two, purposely points all of Mariam’s flaws out to his new wife. He tells her all of Mariam’s deep secrets, and most importantly that she is a harami (illegitimate child) and that she is of no respect in society. Hosseini illustrates the hurt and pain Mariam endures when she realizes all those years of slaving endlessly to please her husband were of no use as he disrespects her in such a demeaning manner.
Although Mariam tries her hardest to despise Laila, she realizes that Laila endures the same pain, oppression and hardships she does. Therefore Laila and Mariam begin to bond, share the work load of cleaning and cooking, have an occasional tea together which thus makes them realize that with such a bond anything is possible. Hosseini therefore suggests that women have an extremely strong ability to find strength and support within one another in order to help them overcome the impossible.
This bond becomes more than just friendship; to them it seems like an inseparable tie of hope that god created for them through such hardships in life. This relationship effectively gives a positive view on the upcoming events in the novel and illustrates Hosseini’s positive depiction of support in relationships. This novel also shows the emotions used in order to create hope and the reality of which destiny unfolds. The people in this novel strive to believe in hope when going through the harsh realities forced upon them by political and personal oppression.
Both Laila and Mariam depend upon somebody in their lives to overcome their problems and give them hope. For Mariam she looks upon the wise and elderly- Mullah Faizullah who taught her every aspect of knowledge of her religion. He never looked down upon her as a harami (illegitimate child) but as a child who was not even in a single way at fault and said to her “Behind every trial and sorrow that He makes us shoulder, God has a reason. ” These simple words gave Mariam the courage to believe and follow her faith as she knew no matter what life threw at her she’d always have her faith.
Laila also has her childhood best friend Tariq as her savior, who treats her as his equal. Laila feels that no oppression is laid upon her when she is with Tariq and that he only urges her to follow her hopes and dreams through the roughest of times. When these rough times finally arrive Hosseini shows a cycle where dreams that once were fulfilled are crushed and where hope and success in the near future, which were once visible- began to crumble instantly. In this point of the novel “Laila has moved on. Because in the end she knows that’s all she can do. That and hope.  This creates suspense and emotional attachment with the characters as those hopes and dreams are flattened in moments just like the Afghan women’s suffrage portrayed through Mariam and Laila’s life, time and time again. As they both raise their hopes and see happiness through all the grim darkness in the war filled Afghanistan, they are only lead to disappointment. Hosseini truly illustrates the moments of hope and faith in these women’s lives but also gives the reader a thorough depiction on destiny, and how anything can change no matter what hopes and dreams you have.
Khaled Hosseini has written a truly heartbreaking yet inspirational novel that any women would be empathetic towards. A thousand Splendid Suns is a story filled with multiple issues that will be present in society forever, it illustrates oppressions placed on women, hardships war-torn countries such as Afghanistan face and the relationships that are torn apart and can never be fixed and are therefore forever estranged. Hosseini truly inspires people to never lose hope even through the worst of times and to hold on to your faith, be true to yourself, think with an open mind and take one step at a time.

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