Love, the sovereign state to the Taliban occupied Afghanistan

Love, betrayal, sacrifice. Khaled Hosseini beautifully captures the struggle of women in A Thousand Splendid Suns. From the sovereign state to the Taliban occupied Afghanistan we follow the journey of two girls who go through various obstacles in an archaic and patriarchal society where women are mistreated. The girls are forced to change the very way they think as they learn to adapt in dire situations. Khaled Hosseini uses a relatable theme of family relationships to allow the reader to sympathize with the characters and help ratify their response to the injustices they face.The first injustice we see in the story is the life of a little girl, named Mariam, born on the outskirts of society as an illegitimate child. Mariam lives with her mother, Nana, a self-loathing middle aged woman who is ashamed of her bastard daughter. Though it may seem as if she despises Mariam, one could argue she only wanted her daughter to become more self-sufficient in this patriarchal society. Nana was once betrayed by Jalil, Mariam’s father, therefore she instills the ideas of distrust of men in her daughter and exposes her to the harsh realities of women living in Afghanistan. “She understood what Nana meant, that a harami was an unwanted thing; that she, Mariam, was an illegitimate person who would never have legitimate claim to the things other people had, things such as love, family, home, acceptance.” (1.1.6) This may seem like a cruel thing to call a child, but Nana knew life for Mariam would never be as easy as a legitimate child’s. Jalil is a decent dad who loves his daughter, but can’t raise her because he has four other wives, which at first seems like a viable excuse. However, Mariam later finds out the real reason he barely spends time with her is not because of his other families, but rather his shame of having conceived a child out of wedlock. He reveals his shame to the reader after Nana’s death where, instead of offering Mariam a shoulder to cry on and a home, he marries her off to an older man in a display of how much he execrated Mariam. At this point in the story, the readers are left in awe of the unfairness of the situation thrust upon the young Mariam. At an early age, Mariam’s relationships are dysfunctional and after Nana’s death she’s left all alone with no family. Her response to injustice is to isolate herself and live by Nana’s words.”There is only one, only one skill a woman like you and me needs in life, and they don’t teach it in school only one skill. And it’s this: tahamul. Endure It’s our lot in life, Mariam. Women like us. We endure. It’s all we have” (1.3.17). The young Mariam represents oppressed women in Afghanistan who can’t do anything but endure the obstacles life throws at them. She continues surviving and abiding with these injustices until she befriends Laila.

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