Feminism in a Thousand Splendid Suns

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To persevere is to maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement and continue consistently. Throughout the novel, it is present how much women struggle. Both Mariam and Laila have endured so much heartache partially because they are women, but yet have managed to have pulled together the strength to persevere. Mariam, from the moment she was conceived, endured hardships because of the fact that her Mother was not married to her Father, thus making her a harami (bastard). Nana (Mariam’s mother) gives her lessons on life from her own experience. “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…” (Housseini, 18) Here is the truth of life for women that Nana foreshadows early in the novel. This lesson essentially becomes prophetic for the end of the novel and it shows how women had to endure in order to survive in their society. Endurance is something familiar to Mariam. Very soon after her mother died, at the age of fifteen Mariam was forced to marry a harsh, shoemaker who was at least thirty years older than her named Rasheed. Mariam was forced to push aside any feelings of sorrow and even guilt of her mother's death as well as her father's rejection, and had to deal with what she was given, despite her strong dissatisfaction. However, the forced marriage is not the last of the troubles Mariam had to face as a woman. Being the wife of an abusive man in Afghanistan during the Taliban's rule made life extremely painful and arduous. Even the years before the Taliban arrived in Kabul, Rasheed was physically, mentally, emotionally, and verbally abusive to Mariam. For eighteen years before Rasheed married Laila, Rasheed abused Mariam to the extent where nothing pleased him. Rasheed had a very short temper and would ridicule and then hit Mariam over minor...
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