Title Significance: The title of A Thousand Splendid Suns is taken from a poem composed by Saeb-e-Tabrizi. In the poem, he compares Afghanistan’s beauty to “a thousand splendid suns.” It is somewhat ironic that this book had the title of A Thousand Splendid Suns when it was about the destruction of Afghanistan.
Genre: A Thousand Splendid Suns is a historical fiction novel.
Date of Original Publication: 2007
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Setting: Herat, Afghanistan, Gul Daman, Murree, Pakistan, and Kabul from 1958 until the present
Importance of Setting: The story takes place in a time where it is acceptable for men to have several wives and unacceptable to have children out of wedlock, or sex before marriage. Divorce was taboo and most men could so whatever they wanted to their wives in the comfort of their own homes. During the novel, the war in Afghanistan begins and many things that are popular to people become outlawed. Women lose rights and the government growingly becomes theocratic.
The novel is told in four parts from the points of view of two women in Afghanistan, Mariam and Leila. Mariam lives in a hut with her single mother. Her father is a rich man who lives in the city. She cannot live with her father because she is an illegitimate child, born out of wedlock. However, her father still visits her every Thursday. On her fifteenth birthday, Mariam wants her father to take her to see Pinocchio at his theater in the city. When he does not show up, she walks to his house in the city against her mother’s wishes. He refuses to speak to her when she arrives at his house and she sleeps on his porch. In the morning, she returns home to find that her mother has hanged herself because she believed Mariam was never coming back. She stays with her father for a while until he decides to marry her off to a man who is thirty years older than him. She has seven miscarriages and throughout the novel, he grows more and more abusive to her....
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