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A Thousand Splendid Suns
Transcript of A Thousand Splendid Suns
"But the Taliban had gone ahead and detonated their explosives inside the two-thousand-year-old Buddhas." (313)
Human Capacity of Evil
By: Kathryn Carandang & Jessica Sawyer
"And, really, what could be said, what needed saying, when you'd shoved the barrel of your gun into your wife's mouth?" (300)
"If she were a car, she would be a Volga... you, on the other hand, would be a Benz." (222)
"Nana said that one of these days he would miss, that she, Mariam, would slip through his fingers, hit the ground, and break a bone. But Mariam did not believe that Jalil would drop her." (21)
During one of Jalil's visits to the kolba, he tells her of all the exciting and wonderful things happening in Herat. He gives her gifts and tells her stories. Nana knows that Jalil's appearance of love and care for Mariam is not 100% genuine. Jalil's visits, stories, and gifts give Mariam a large sense of false hope. Mariam fantasizes that she will become part of his family in Herat, and that they will live happily ever after. She idolizes Jalil and believes that he will love her unconditionally and never hurt her. Yet, it is evident that there are limitations of Jalil's love towards Mariam. When Mariam goes to see Jalil in Herat, he does not acknowledge her or offer her a place to sleep. Jalil also lets Mariam get married off to Rasheed without standing up for her or comforting her. Ultimately, Jalil's false accumulation of hope leaves Mariam with extreme disappointment and heartbreak. Jalil's false sense of hope and love towards Mariam portrays him as an evil character because he pretends to forever-love Mariam,
but abandoning her when she needs him most.
This photo symbolizes Mariam and how much she clung on to the love that Jalil seemingly gave to her. Mariam only hoped she could be treated like her half-siblings in Herat. Yet, in time, the love for Jalil evaporates when she realizes he does not truly care for her, and that his love has limitations.
Rasheed, Laila, and Mariam are having dinner shortly after Rasheed and Laila get married. To try and win over Laila's love, Rasheed mentally and emotionally degrades Mariam. Rasheed's disregard for Mariam shows that he absolutely does not care for her. He criticizes Mariam, even insulting her the way he knows hurts her most: by calling her a
. Furthermore, Rasheed compares Mariam to a trash car while he compares Laila to a prized possession car. By marrying Laila, Rasheed has taken away Mariam's only place of belongment in her life. Ever since her own conception, Mariam felt like an outcast and burden in both Nana and Jalil's lives. She never felt as if she had a place of true belongment. By marrying Rasheed, Mariam now had someone to call her own. In the early stage of their marriage, Rasheed made it seem like he wanted to preserve Mariam for himself. Yet, now that Laila has married
Rasheed proposes his idea to make Aziza a street beggar, and when Laila refuses, Rasheed turns violent. For years, Rasheed often physically abused Mariam, and now he has begun to abuse Laila. Rasheed choking Laila and holding a gun in her mouth shows that his evil intentions are rapidly escalating. His forcefulness and violence is extremely threatening and frightening to both Laila and Mariam. It is evident that Rasheed does not treat his wives with respect or dignity like a husband should. Instead, Rasheed treats Laila and Mariam as objects and slaves. The home is suppose to be where people feel safe, yet Rasheed's home represents anything but safe. He has created an atmosphere of evil and violence that is far from welcoming.
This photo represents Rasheed's physical abuse and evil intentions. The man is covering the woman's mouth; not allowing her speak and voice her own opinions. Also, the girl in the photo looks scared and vulnerable, as the man holds the immediate power. This parallels Mariam and Laila because they are the subjects of Rasheed's escalating evil violence when things do not go his way. Yet, Mariam and Laila are not able voice their true opinions or do anything about it, in fear of Rasheed hurting them both physically and emotionally.
In April of 2001, the Taliban decide to destroy the 2,000-year-old Buddhas. Even though people across the globe had written letters and pleaded for the Taliban to spare the Buddhas, they did not. The Buddhas are a religious symbol for Buddhism. They symbolize many things such as hope and inner strength. The Taliban deciding to destroy the Buddhas shows how extremely evil and disrespectful they are towards other people's beliefs. It is one thing to take away freedom and bring upon terror to the country of Afghanistan. Yet, the fact that the Taliban took away a religious icon for many people shows how merciless they are. Along with the Buddhas, the Taliban have murdered hope, strength, and sanctuary for many.
When Mariam learns about this news, she remembers herself standing on top of one of the Buddhas with Babi and Tariq. That moment was special and full of hope and prosperity. Yet, the destruction of the Buddhas does not have much of an impact on Mariam because she is forced to bring Aziza to an orphanage. This further demonstrates how incredibly evil the Taliban are because they have created a society where many families are forced to separate in order to survive. For Mariam to not care about
This pohto is of a girl and how she tears up when she sees another couple. The idea of someone being hurt when they see someone they care about with another person parallels to Mariam's own situation. Mariam used to feel important to Rasheed because she was the only woman in his life. She had felt a sense of belongment that she had not had felt before. Yet, when Rasheed takes Laila to be his second wife, that belongment is torn from her and Mariam feels like she has been replaced and thrown aside is Rasheed's heart. In a way, Mariam is jealous of the way Rasheed treats Laila because of how much more sincere his love seems is towards Laila. In addition, the man in the photo is taking the girl to the city. Before, Rasheed used to take Mariam out to the city and buy her things like ice cream and scarves. But now, Mariam has to watch Rasheed spoil Laila and bring her places to make her feel special, while Mariam is forced to stay home and watch Rasheed's feelings of love for Laila grow.
This photo is of a shoe stepping on a bible. It shows extreme disrespect towards religion, and that the person does not value the beliefs of those who are of a certain religion. The disrespect and lack of value this person has for a certain religion is equivalent to the Taliban. They believe that their religion is the most important, and they disregard other beliefs. They call the Buddhas "objects of idolatry and sin" (313). Downgrading and shattering the beliefs and religious values of others is something the Taliban have no trouble accomplishing, ultimately portraying them as evil.
the Buddha statues that once symbolized to her hope and prosperity, due to how horrible her own life is, it shows how evil the Taliban are. Something so strong as religion no longer seems important compared to the distressed lives people live because of the Taliban.
Rasheed, Mariam feels as if she has been replaced; her sense of belongment torn from her. It becomes evident to Mariam now how much Rasheed disrespects and resents her. He only makes her feel worse about herself, and she knows she will never find a spot in Rasheed's heart like Laila does.
Theme - Human Capacity of Evil
Evil is defined as doing something that is immoral and malevolent. In Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns, the human capacity of evil is a theme that is significant and reoccurring throughout the novel. Whether evil is displayed through the actions of a society or through individual characters, pain is inflicted onto people mentally, physically, and emotionally. We chose the theme human capacity of evil because of how closely it relates to our everyday lives. Anyone has the capacity to be evil, yet it may be masked by their physical appearance and charismatic personality. Dramatically speaking, how characters in the novel dealt with their evil surroundings brought about a reality that is applicable to the world. Hosseini’s grasp on the evil that burdens our world brings depth and insight that conveys a powerful message.