“a Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseni Critical Response Journal

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Women's rights have diminished in the society of Taliban authority; they are banned to laugh loudly, to play sports, to even talk or shake hands with non-mahram males, and most importantly to study in schools or any other educational institution. In the novel, “A Thousand Splendid Suns”, Khaled Hosseni tells the lives of Mariam and Laila, presenting the heartbreaking reality of women in Afghanistan. Their story portrays the major issue of oppression of women. The men in Hosseni’s novel portray the extremes of the men in Afghanistan. Babi and Rasheed are complete opposites on the subject of the equality of women. Rasheed believes women should be in a man’s control at all times, while Babi believes that women should be able to make their own choices, get an education and be of the same standard as men.

There are some men, in the Afghan society, who believe that women are their property and their only purpose is to produce a son to carry on the family name and make their husbands happy. In “A Thousand Splendid Suns” we see this predominantly through Mariam and Rasheed. He takes the Taliban’s rule very seriously. He expects Mariam not just to cover her head but her entire body. Shortly after their wedding Rasheed told Mariam his feelings and bought her a burqa insisting that she wore it whenever she was going out in public. Rasheed believes that wearing a burqa shows women their place in society and further more proves the point that men think women are sly and sneaky creatures trying to tempt men with their bodies. “Where I come from, a women’s face is her husband’s business only…Mariam had never before worn a burqa.” (A Thousand Splendid Suns, page 63-64) Women are only seen useful to cook clean, and produce children in Afghan society and when they are unable to perform these tasks their husbands persecute them for it. Every man wishes for a son to carry on his family name. This is shown very well through Hosseni’s character Rasheed who is angry with Mariam...
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