A Thousand Splendid Suns Khaled Hosseini
Khaled Hosseini • Born on March 4th, 1965 in Kabul , Afghanistan • The eldest of 5 children • Has a biology and a medical degree • While practicing medicine, in 2001 ,he wrote his first novel, The Kite Runner. • His 3rd novel , And The Mountains Echoed was published last year.
Foundation • Setting – The novel begins in Herat, Afghanistan in the year 1974 with Mariam’s childhood , and after Mariam gets married the rest of the novel is set in Kabul, Afghanistan. The time period of the novel is relevant to the plot because all the characters are affected by major political changes. For example the Taliban’s rise to power clearly affects women’s rights in Afghanistan. • Point of View – 3rd Person Omniscient told by the narrator. The point of view focuses back and forth to Mariam and Laila so you become attached to both characters.
Main Characters • Mariam is one of the two main protagonists of the story. She is conservative, obedient, and hardly stands up for herself. She is a dynamic character because when she decides to stand up for what she loves she changes and starts to sacrifice herself for Laila’s and Tariq’s happiness. She is no longer fearful. • Laila the other protagonist in the story . She is young, educated , beautiful and overall a very happy girl. She is a dynamic character because the deaths of her parents forced her to change her attitude and priorities. The first sign of her change is when she begins to think like a mother by marrying Rasheed when she finds out she is expecting Tariq’s baby.
Main Characters • Tariq is Laila’s best friend and eventually her husband. He becomes the hero in the story because he is Laila’s salvation from her miserable life. Tariq lost his leg in a war so his prosthetic leg marks him for greatness. • Rasheed is the antagonist of the story. He is Mariam’s and Laila’s husband. He is a static character because he constantly abuses his wives and never changes his attitude toward women. • Jalil Khan is Mariam’s father who had an affair with Nana, Mariam’s mother. He is a dynamic character because as he ages he begins to seek for forgiveness from Mariam . He feels guilty that he never fought against social judgment and because of that Mariam rejected him.
Secondary Characters • Nana is Mariam’s mother who is bitter and resentful. She is an outcast when her seizures affect her ability to get married and her affair with Jalil outcasts her and her daughter. • Aziza is Laila and Tariq’s daughter. She is the reason Laila and Mariam bonded together and she becomes really close to Mariam. • Zalmai is Laila and Rasheed’s son. He is very spoiled and has trouble accepting Tariq as his father but he eventually does. • Hakim is Laila’s father who is very educated and wishes for Laila to be highly educated. He dies in a bomb explosion just before they are about to leave for California. • Fariba is Laila’s mother who is constantly depressed because of the death of her two, older sons. She is very liberal and represents the modern , Afghan woman.
Secondary Characters • Mullah Faizullah is Mariam’s tutor and friend who gives her hope and comfort. • Zaman is the director of the orphanage who treats the children very well by educating them . He helps Laila out by taking care of Aziza and in return Laila and Tariq help improve the orphanage at the end of the novel. • Salim is an elderly man who meets Tariq in prison. He provides hope for Tariq by connecting him with a job and very nice people. • Sayeed is Salim’s brother who hires Tariq at his hotel. Sayeed treats him very well and helps Laila and Tariq get married.
Part 1 Summary • Mariam is raised as an outcast. • Nana dies and Mariam is forced to marry Rasheed. • Rasheed abuses her and only wants her for children. • Mariam fails at having children.
Part 2 Summary • Kabul, Spring of 1987 • Laila is introduced. Her best friend is Tariq. • Laila’s family finds out her older brothers are dead and her Mom goes mad. • Mariam attends the funeral. • Laila , Babi and Tariq go on a trip. • April 1992 , the enemies fell. War was over. • Conflicts occur and Laila has to drop out of school. Later her friend Giti is struck by a rocket. • Tariq tells Laila he’s leaving for Pakistan. • Tariq and Laila go intimate. Tariq proposes. • Finally Fariba accepts to leave Afghanistan. A rocket strucks Laila’s home and her parents are dead.
Part 3 Summary • Rasheed rescues Laila. • Laila ends up marrying him. • Aziza is born and Rasheed loses respect for Laila. • Laila and Mariam become companions and Laila stands up for Mariam.
Part 4 Summary • Laila and Mariam attempt to escape. • Laila has a boy named Zalmai. • September 1996 the Taliban arrive. • Aziza goes to the orphanage. • Tariq comes back for Laila. • Rasheed attempts to kill Laila and Mariam kills him with a shovel. • Mariam takes the blame. Laila and the children go with Tariq to Pakistan. • Laila and Tariq get married . • Mariam gets executed. • Laila comes back to Afghanistan to visit Mariam’s kolba. She meet Mullah Faizullah’s son and finds what Jalil left Mariam.
Symbols • Burqa • The color green • Jack from Titanic • Death
Quotes • ‘’Of all the hardships a person had to face, none was more punishing than the simple act of waiting. ‘’ • ‘’Marriage can wait, education cannot. ‘’ • ‘’Like a mynah bird in your hands. Slacken your grip and away it flies. ‘’ • ‘’It’s our lot in life, Mariam. Women like us. We endure. ‘’
Themes • Female Bond/ Inner Strength • Domestic Violence • Love • Loyalty
Video • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0Q9n4gmJrY