Gender Struggle in a Thousand Splendid Suns

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World Literature
4 September 12
A Thousand Splendid Suns Essay

"Women like us. We endure. It's all we have." Mariam, the child of a wealthy man and his house maid, lived by this quote all her life. The quote also applies to Laila, a woman who was raised in a modern household with education. An analysis of the hardships of women in Khaled Hosseinim’s, A Thousand Splendid Suns, would reveal that the injustices of society are coped with differently throughout several generations of women. Although Laila’s upbringing allowed her to be the stronger of the two women, both Mariam and Laila triumphed after enduring so much evil and cruelty. Their mothers on the other hand did not.

Mariam’s mother, Nana, was at one point the house maid of a wealthy man named Jalil. She later on mothered his child, Mariam. Both Mariam and her mother had become outcastes and were sent to an isolated area as a consequence for the intolerable act. Mariam’s mother resents Jalil for it, and she also often complains about it to her daughter, ultimately trying to discourage Mariam from not trusting him. Ironically, Mariam’s mother did not openly express her resentment towards Jalil while he was around, nor did she ever attempt to change the situation. In using the inner strength that a woman contains Nana could have strived to make a better life for both she, and her child. Laila’s mother, Fariba, had a seemingly happy household, yet she often found herself immersed in overwhelming grief. When her sons Ahmad and Noor leave to fight in the jihad, and are later on killed in action Laila’s mother stays in bed mourning their loss. When the opportunity presents itself for the family to leave she wishes to stay in Afghanistan in order to see the freedom of the land that her sons died for. Fariba may have a more optimistic view in this sense. A look at the greater picture would reveal that she too lacks the effort to change the situation she is in, in similarity to Mariam’s mother....
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