A Thousand Splendid Suns – Book Report Essay

A thousand splendid suns written by Khaled Houssseni is a story set in Afghanistan during the 1960s to the early 2000s. The novel is about Mariam and Laila who end up having to marry to same man due to some unfortunate events in both of their lives.

During this essay I will discuss the plot of the story, conflicts, the settings, characters and how the novel appealed to me personally. The novel is divided into four parts. The first part of the story being the early life of Mariam.

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The protagonist of the novel, Mariam is brought in a small city in Afghanistan by her mother.

As a child Mariam has complicated feelings for both her mother and father. Nana, the mother of Mariam is very stubborn all though she protects and cares for her daughter. As a child Nana tires to teach Mariam about life and how she should view in a way. Mariam’s father, Jalil, on the other is very wealthy man who lives in the wealthy part of Afghanistan were he has three wives.

Jalil visits Mariam once a week. Mariam shows a great deal of respect to her father as he treats her very nicely. In fact, she respects him so much that she wanted to go and live with him.It was her birthday wish on her 15th birthday does go and see Pinocchio.

Jalil agrees and but never shows up to take her to watch the film. When Mariam arrives at his hose he does not let her in, so she has no choice but to sleep on the street. The next morning Jalil’s driver takes Mariam back home where she sees that her mother has committed suicide. This is the novel starts off.

After, Mariam is forced into a marriage with an abusive husband named Rasheed who lives in Kabul, Afghanistan.The second part of the novel is purely about the early of Laila and her friendship with Tariq. They end up conceiving a baby, but when Tariq finds out he decides to leave. This is the reason why Laila decides to Mary Rasheed which she would his second wife.

She only does so that she can save her child. The third part of the novel is about the friendship that Laila and Mariam build as they both have the same husband. Finally the fourth part of the novel describes the later life the Laila has with Tariq. It also reflects and shows the friendship that she had Mariam.

They main conflict in the novel is all about the two main characters of the novel Laila and Mariam and their awful husband Rasheed. He is very abusive although at first Mariam was deceived as she thought that he was a nice and respectful man. Later she would come to and senses and realised he is the complete opposite. Rasheed does many harsh things like forcing Mariam to eat pebbles as punishment.

He also does not feed Laila or he daughter for three days. However, the book in a way shows and represents how women do not have many rights in the country of Afghanistan even to this day in real life.It shows just how much more men are more dominant than women and how many of the men to do not treat them properly. This then leads to inequality.

During the novel we come to realise that there is no equality. The novel really shows how the male are much more dominant than women in Afghanistan. The main problem is that women are beaten by their husbands but also that they are forced to dress in a certain way and that that are not allowed to leave the house without male company. This is just a few ways that which explain the inequality but there are indeed many more.

Throughout out the book Mariam and Laila decide to fight back against this inequality and Laila decides to break the rules and visit her daughter. Every time she visits her daughter she would be beaten my men on the street. This then leads to Mariam deciding to kill Rasheed as she simply had enough of his dominance of herself and Laila. The novel is about two contrasting lives.

One being showing the modern life where women would be smoking wearing their types of clothes that they want and getting an education or working where they want. So here we can see they have almost complete freedom.On the other hand however, Laila and Mariam are forced to wear a burqa and aren’t even allowed to leave their house unaccompanied. Both of them are jealous of the freedom that some ladies have.

The novel is written in third person, but the narrators alternates between Laila and Maraim. As throughout different chapters he may be writing about one and then the next he will be explaining the other. In other words we get the read both of their minds. The setting of the A thousand splendid suns is in mainly in Kabul, Afghanistan and is between the time of 1960s and early 2000s.

It mainly shows the change of Afghanistan during these 40 or so years as it shows the soviet invasion and the rise of the Taliban. To conclude, the novel in my opinion was interesting at times. However it did not keep me interesting throughout the whole novel. In other words, if I didn’t have to read the novel I wouldn’t have.

This is just my opinion; I personally do not like novels like these. I would much rather read and autobiography of someone that admire. This is my most truthful opinion.

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