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A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS
Transcript of A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS
The novel takes place in Herat, Afghanistan. and Gul Daman, a small village outside of Herat, and Kabul.
The Bigger Picture
A Thousand Splendid Suns
is set against the background of Afghanistan’s recent history. It follows two Afghan women, born two decades apart, whose lives are brought together through a series of tragic events. One of the strengths of the novel is the author’s ability to weave historical events into the narrative. The reader gets an impression of the incredible existence of young people during the most recent period through the fate of Laila and Tariq. But above all, it lays bare the existence of women and girls.
"One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs, or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls."
Mariam is the protagonist in the novel. Mariam is a thoughtful, quiet child in the beginning. She resents her mother for only giving her the possibility to see her father once a week. Mariams inability to have children turns her into a resentful, bitter women. She begins to understand her mother's reasoning of being so strict.
Rasheed is a widowed shoemaker and marries 15 year old Mariam. Willful, Rasheed quickly instructs Mariam on what his ideal wife will be. He has little patience, is manipulative, and is very cruel towards women.
Jalil is Mariams father. In Mariams mothers opinion he has neglected his own family. He has two legitimate wives and ten other children in addition to Mariam.
Nana is Mariams mom and Jalils wife. Nana clings to Mariam as her only family connection. And as Mariam begins to wonder about her father Nana feels threatened and worried.
Laila was raised to appreciate education and live up to great potential. Laila is in love with Tariq, but eventually becomes Rasheeds wife.
Is Lailas next door neighbour. He lost his leg in the war and is referred to as 'the cripple.' Tariq and Laila fall in love and have a baby. Laila is told that Tariq has died, but later he returns to Kabul and him and Laila eventually marry.
Mariams neighbour Laila is seekng comfort as her brothers go off to war. Her best friend Tariq is there for her at any time. Lailas parents recieve information that her two brothers have been killed, and now Tariq and Mariam are two teenagers in love. Tariq has to move away, with the force of his parents, and Laila is heart broken by finding out that he has been killed.
Laila realizes that she is pregnant with Tariqs child. Laila has agreed to marry Rasheed, and Mariam is hurt and threatened. Laila realizes that Rasheed is manipulative and abusive. Then one day Laila is shocked to see a man standing in her front door, Tariq.
Eventually Tariq and Laila marry and begin the life they dreamed of. The happiness of the two is crushed when the United States has attacked Afghanistan and Laila insists that they move back to help Kabul and their family.
Mariam, a young girl in the 1960's grows up outside of Herat, a small city in Afghanistan. Mariam lives with her mother and has a very confusing home life. Mariam wants to have a bigger part in her fathers life, and tries to connect with him as he is just continuously pushing her away. Mariam's mother is worried about her daughters sudden interest in her father and commits suicide.
Jalil and his wifes want nothing to do with Mariam and at age 15 she is forced to marry Rasheed. Rasheed begins by treating Mariam decentl, but after Mariam being unable to be have children, Rasheed abuses Mariam both verbally and physically. And Rasheeds only use for Mariam is for her to provide him a family.
“God has made us differently, you women and us men. Our brains are different. You are not able to think like we can. Western doctors and their science have proven this. This is why we require only one male witness but two female ones.”
(Translated by Dr. Josephine Davis)
Ah! How beautiful is Kabul encircled by her arid mountains
And Rose, of the trails of thorns she envies
Her gusts of powdered soil, slightly sting my eyes
But I love her, for knowing and loving are born of this same dust
My song exhalts her dazzling tulips
And at the beauty of her trees, I blush
How sparkling the water flows from Pul-I-Bastaan!
May Allah protect such beauty from the evil eye of man!
Khizr chose the path to Kabul in order to reach Paradise
For her mountains brought him close to the delights of heaven
From the fort with sprawling walls, A Dragon of protection
Each stone is there more precious than the treasure of Shayagan
Every street of Kabul is enthralling to the eye
Through the bazaars, caravans of Egypt pass
One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs
And the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls
Her laughter of mornings has the gaiety of flowers
Her nights of darkness, the reflections of lustrous hair
Her melodious nightingales, with passion sing their songs
Ardent tunes, as leaves enflamed, cascading from their throats
And I, I sing in the gardens of Jahanara, of Sharbara
And even the trumpets of heaven envy their green pastures