A Thousand Splendid Suns

-- Khaled Hosseini

Lili lili birdbath,

Sitting on a dirt path,

Minnow sat on the rim and drank,

Slipped, and in the water she sank.

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A brave, heart-wrenching story revolves around two women.

A Thousand Splendid Suns (Character analysis)

"A Thousand Splendid Suns" A brave, heart-wrenching story revolves around two Afghan women, Mariam and Laila. The first protagonist Mariam (born in 1959) had a miserable life. Mariam faced many tragic throughout her life. From age fifteen to forty Mariam suffered from the harsh treatments of Jalil and Rasheed. Nana's words were right "like a compass needle that points north, a man's accusing finger always finds a woman. Always." Mariam once had so much trust and love for her father, but when it faces reality Jalil abandoned Mariam for his family and sent Mariam to marry an old man, Rasheed. Moreover, Rasheed's attitude towards Mariam soon turned around after many times of Mariam's miscarriage. However, Facing all this tragedies Mariam did not give up.


Laila, the second protagonist of the book, who is twenty years younger than Mariam, agreed marry to Rasheed after Rasheed saved her life. 50 years old Rasheed married Laila and became more indifferent towards Mariam. But good times doesn't last long, Laila had a girl baby, this not only angered Rasheed, also strengthened his violence to the two women. Mariam's hate towards Laila at the beginning turned into alliance. Mariam used to think that her husband is all that she owned, but she slowly found the things that she always has hoped for on Laila. Mariam likes to have secret afternoon tea with Laila, she liked to play with Laila's kids, and she suddenly realize that this is "Love." As the two women became closer everyday, they decide to run away. And not surprised, they weren't success. Their escape bring Mariam to kill Rasheed and take herself to the end. Yet, this was the first time Mariam made her own choice and ironically it was death.


What is happiness? During Mariam's childhood she thought happiness is to have husband and kids and live a happy life. She carried this dream for most of her life, until her death, she realized happiness is what one is willing to give out, and what others is willing to give in. Mariam found the biggest Love from Laila, and gave her the biggest and also the last Love to Laila. Mariam waved good bye to her passed 40 years, she used her love to protect Laila and her children. Mariam's death not only gained her the love, but also the happiness.


“Miriam wished for so much in those final moments. Yet as she closed her eyes, it was not regret any longer but a sensation of abundant peace that washed over her. She thought of her entry into this world, the harami child of a lowly villager, an unintended thing, a pitiable, regrettable accident. A weed. And yet she was leaving the world as a woman who had loved and been loved back. She was leaving it as a friend, a companion, a guardian. A mother. A person of consequence at last. No. It was not so bad, Miriam thought, that she should die this way. Not so bad. This was a legitimate end to a life of illegitimate belongings.”


“yet love can move people to act in unexpected ways and move them to overcome the most daunting obstacles with startling heroism”

Literary elements in Book

Throughout the book the author used different literary elements to help develop the plot of the story, especially through themes and settings.


"Mariam did not feel at all like a Harami. For an hour or two every Tuesday, when Jalil came over to see her, all smiles and gifts and endearments, Mariam felt deserving of all the beauty and bounty that life had to give."


Mariam has once hoped like all the other girls in their teen ages to have a lovely family. This hope for Mariam was especially impractical. She once thought her father was the nicest guy in the world, however that didn't stay true and she lost all. She once thought the world isn't too bad -- not as bad as the world Nana was always telling her about, she did not understood Nana until her father left her and husband insulted her. But on the other side Mariam also showed her unbelievable strength and perseverance that a women have. She never choose to give up and was smiling at the end of her life.


"And as her heart pounded, her mind wondered what excuse he would use that night to pounce on her. There was always something, some minor thing that would infuriate him, because no matter what she did to please him, no matter how thoroughly she submitted to his wants and demands, it wasn't enough."


One theme that is prevalent through the book is the discrimination of women in Afghan society. Mariam tried and endured everything to please Rasheed, but because of her woman identity, on top of her as an illegitimate "harami." She could not do anything. Not only her husband and father won't accept her, the Afghan society is what that really won't accept her.

Through this quote, it also showed how Afghan women is desired for a normal life, and hoping for more attention in front of their husbands. Because the Afghan society set women's statue so low, that made the women lost what every women in society should get.


As an Afghanistan women, they have no chance to prove themselves. the men thinks that women is trouble, they don't believe women could ever be better than men, a women's role is only to be at home and take care of the children.

A Thousand Splendid Suns (Book Review)

"One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs, or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls."


"A Thousand Splendid Suns"

"OH, The author was being too exaggerated," was the first idea that I had when I saw this book. One thousand suns! How hot will that be? What needs one thousand suns to bring it warmth? With these questions in my mind I finished the book, and finally understood the author's deep intention.


Women's low status in Afghan is what "accomplished" Mariam and Laila's heart-wrenching stories. The part that still sits in my head can not be erased is when the author portrays Mariam walking towards death. This brave women carried humbler backgrounds and suffered horrible treats, but she didn't show her weakness at all. At the very end of her life, she looked back at her barely happy moments in her life and smile. The only regrets she had was that she could not longer enjoy a afternoon tea with her beloved friend Laila, and witness Aziza's growth. However, after all these tragedies Mariam finally felt she became important to someone, even it was paid with her life, "it wasn't so bad." Her life experiences became the typical representative of Afghanistan women.


Khaled Hosseini had done a great job in providing details through symbolism, metaphor, irony, etc. to show the inner strength of women even in the darkest times. both Mariam and Laila endured so much heartaches in their lives just because they are women, however they never gave up, yet they continue the strength and showed perseverance.


The story wasn't long ago, but the war, attacks, explosion, hunger, and women's oppression, always made me fell into trance that all this happened a long time ago. The protagonist and us have lived in the same era, ironically half flame, half seawater. And I start to understand that only One Thousand Suns could warm up the darkness inside of Afghan people. Only the warmth of One Thousand Suns could evaporate the cold and fears inside Afghanistan citizens. Although Afghan have summer all year around, the war and the injustice made the place felt like winter. "The Thousand Splendid Suns" gives the story a perfect finishing touch.