Cognitive Design

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A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini is seen through the eyes of two young female protagonists, who have a strong and well-developed character. In the novel, the author shows their hardship, their lives in a hopeless society, Afghanistan, and how throughout their life they face cruelty and vulnerability.

The author portrays the experiences of the two Afghan women, Mariam and Laila, who live in a society where women are mistreated. Mariam’s character is described as a quiet and thoughtful girl who questions the society and dreams of a luxurious life. She experiences physical and mental abuse from almost every person in her life and is brought up in an isolated environment by a bitter mother who puts her down. For instance, in the beginning of the novel Nana, Mariam’s mother, says: “You are a clumsy little harami” (Hosseini, 4). This very word “harami” helps the reader to analyze the struggles of an illegitimate child. Nana also prepares Mariam to expect nothing from men: “Like a compass needle that always point north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. Always .... Mariam” (Hosseini, 7). This is also used to foreshadow Mariam’s husband, Rasheed, a cruel, abusive and hot tempered man, who physically and verbally abuses Mariam after marriage.

Although Laila was also brought up in the same society as Mariam, her character is stronger as compared to Mariam’s. She has a strong desire to use her intelligence and education to improve the society and as her father, tells her: “Marriage can wait, education cannot... You can be anything you want... Because a society has no change of success if its women are uneducated... No chance” (Hosseini, 114). The characters personality evolves over time, and this helps to analyze the tragic themes of the novel which are oppression, hope, and internal strength of women.

The ability for any individual to imagine to endure the pain and sacrifices that Mariam and Laila endured are overwhelming. Yet...
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