Change is an inevitable development that has both postive aswell as negative impact on people, their identity and their society. Through ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’, the author, Khaled Hosseini, has explored these features through charaterisation of Mariam, the book’s antagonist. He thoroughly analyses the change of this characters from a two dimentional girl, that grew into three dimensional woman and the political happenings, barriers and changes at the time of the Taliban invasion. ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ is a provocative novel that gives us an insight into the life of Mariam during the Taliban rule of the late twentieth century.
Khaled Hosseini portrays this woman as naive and two dimensional in the opening chapters. A young girl that admires her father and believes none of her mothers words as she is often cynical. With the sudden death of her mother Nana, Mariam loses a lot of the innocence that previously blocked the truth about Jalil. Use of literary techinques, such as metaphors serve to show how the traumatic event began to erode Mariam’s innocence, changing her into an older, more three dimentional person, “For the first time, Mariam could hear him with Nana’s ears “.
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When Mariam marries Rasheed this completely alteres her life and what she knew of it. “At the kolba, she could tell the time of day by the angle of the sunlight pouring through the window, she knew how dar her door would open before its hinges creaked. Now all the familiar things were gone. ” Having always lived the same life, with same routine for fifteen years of her life, Mariams character must adapt to her new environment and as a result she becomes more withdrawn, use of a simile in the phrase “The first few days, Mariam hardly left her room… Mariam stayed in bed feeling adrift and forlorn… aking her feel… like an intruder on someone ele’se life” , this reveals the extent to which Mariam feels disjointed and intrduces the new personality in Mariam character because of this marriage. Political power is one major change in Khaled Hosseini’s ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’. At the beginning of the book Afghanistan is under the rule of communists and is then overtaken by the Taliban. This circumstantial political change affects the women’s place in society and is drastic and shocking for many women. “In fact Babi thought that the one thing the ommunists had done right was in the field of education, more specifically, the education of women. ”, this contrasts the ideology and laws enforced by the Taliban rule which insiste on the suppression of women and their education. Due to the political change in power, the attitude towards women becomes much more severe, Nana at the beginning of the book states “Like a compass needle that points north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a women”, this simile shows Nana’s cynicism because of the events that shaper herself, Mariam changes her feelings towards men because of the supression that the Taliban enforce on her and the other women.
Mariam listens to her mothers words but at this stage of the novel does not yet understand, when Taliban came into rule, she quickly learns to understand and indoing so changes. When Taliban came into power, people lost most of their freedom to be who they were, it seemed barriers were inplace to stop their changing, women were forced to wear Burqa’s to conceal themselves “Attention women : ….. you will under no circumstance show your face… You will cover your face with burqa when outside… irls are forbidden from attending school. All schools for girls will be closed immediately” The direct speech from a Taliban soldier implies the sudden change of society and how women will no longer be able to different, they will be forced to be this way and not change. This provocative novel evokes many emotions for readers which makes it a memorable novel. The feelings that Mariam grew to have for Laila and Aziza were empowering and were a very positive aspect of each womens life.
Khaled Hosseini explores these positive aspects and shows that with time people change and that it is inevitable, but with forces such as the Taliban it is only a matter of time before someone breaks out to change the goings on. The laws enforced for women in the Afghan society seemed like barriers preventing them from changing but the friendship and loving relationship that the two women aquired pulled them through the tough time and showed that even in a situation like theirs, things can change for the better, that life had more to offer than a simple, naive life in a Kolba or a little house where life is not as fulfilled as it could be.
Mariam undergoes many drastic changes in her life, from a naive young girl living in a Kolba out of town, who adores and idolises Jalil, “ Admire Jallil for his vast and worldly knowledge… quiver with pride to have a father who knew such things ” to a young courageous woman that learns to rely only on herself to survive. When Mariam married Rasheed this completely altered her life and what she knew of life. At the kolba, she could tell the time of day by the angle of the sunlight pouring through the window, she knew how dar her door would open before its hinges creaked. Now all the familiar things were gone. ” Having always lived the same life, with same routine for fifteen years of her life, Mariams character must adapt to her new environment and as a result she becomes more withdrawn, use of a simile in the phrase “The first few days, Mariam hardly left her room… Mariam stayed in bed feeling adrift and forlorn… making her feel… ike an intruder on someone ele’se life” 62, this reveals the extent to which Mariam feels disjointed and intrduces the new personality in Mariam character because of this marriage. As a result of Rasheed then marrying Laila, this brings out cynicism and bitterness towards Laila, however as the novel progresses the close friendship develops between Mariam and Laila, Mariam feels love towards Laila and her daughter Aziza, a feeling she has never felt before “But Aziza only muttered contentedly and dug her face in deeper.
And when she did that her heart took flight (Mariams heart)” Pg. 246. Use of a metaphor confirms the feelings Mariam has for this relationship and the change that they have brought to her life, the happiness. As Laila becomes close to Mariam, they for a strong alliance which helps both women overcome the hardhips and happenings of their lives with Rasheed, Use of Symbolism such as “They at halwa with their fingers from a common bowl” pg 244 clafiys the newfound unity of Mariam and Laila and brings hope to the audience that this change with provide some comfort for the women.
When Mariam kills Rasheed this is a catalyst for her action and her desire for things to change. A severe discontent of her lifestyle aswell as an instinct, out of love, to protect herself, Laila and Aziza. Without her past events Mariam would probably not have been able to kill her abusive husband and in this particular event the audience see’s the courage that Mariam has aquired through living with Rasheed.
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