A Thousand Splendid Suns covers three decades of wars seen through the eyes of two women. Mariam is a child out of wedlock and at fifteen, forced to marry Rasheed, who grows to be abusive when she can’t have children. Eighteen years later he takes another wife, fourteen-year-old Laila; a smart girl who’s only other option was prostitution and starvation after her parents are killed by a rocket. Mariam and Laila become allies against Rasheed. Both women have to accept their path that won’t be satisfactory: Mariam will sacrifice her life for Laila after she murders Rasheed, while Laila, even after marrying her childhood love, has to find a way to make sure it was for something. In this story there is a lot of government conflict, the change in role of women, and the interaction of the tribes within Afghanistan.
The role of women changes drastically throughout the book. The years 1972 through 1991 was when it was “a good time to be a woman in Afghanistan” (135). Most men, Rasheed not included, “did not mind that their wives walked among strangers with makeup on and nothing on their head” (125). Khala Rangmaal, Laila’s teacher, said “women and men are equal in every way and there was no reason women should cover if men didn't” (111).but in 1992, all that changed. “Strict Islamic laws ordered women to cover, forbade travel without a male relative” (260). The complete opposite of what it originally was. And in 1996, the Taliban made many rules. Women must stay at home at all times, they were not to show their faces at any time, cosmetics, jewelry, and even laughing was forbidden. And absolutely no school. Eventually, in 2003, everything became alright for women again.
In Afghanistan, the people are separated into tribes or regions and sometimes these groups interact in negative ways. The main two tribes in A Thousand Splendid Suns are the Pashtuns and Tajiks. The “Tajiks have always felt slighted. Pashtun kings have ruled this country for almost two hundred and...
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