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A Thousand Splendid Suns Character Analysis

Decent Essays
A Thousand Splendid Suns is set in Afghanistan from the early 1960s to the early 2000s. Mariam, a young girl in the 1960s, grows up outside Herat, a small city in Afghanistan. Mariam has complicated feelings about her parents: She lives with her spiteful and stubborn mother, Nana; while her father Jalil, a successful businessman, visits Mariam — his only illegitimate child — once a week. Mariam resents her limited place in Jalil's life; she wants to live with him, his three wives, and her half-siblings in Herat. She makes her wishes known by asking Jalil to take her to see Pinocchio for her fifteenth birthday. Jalil reluctantly agrees, but then never shows up to take her to the film. Mariam walks to heart and finds Jalil's house, but he doesn't let her in, so she sleeps on the street. The next morning, Jalil's chauffeur drives Mariam home where she finds that her mother has committed suicide.

Mariam is taken to Jalil's home after her mother's funeral. Jalil's wives want nothing to do with Mariam, so they force him to let her marry Rasheed, a widowed shoemaker in Kabul. At first Rasheed treats Mariam decently, but after she suffers miscarriage after miscarriage, he abuses her both physically and verbally. It becomes clear that Rasheed's only use for Mariam is in her ability to replace the son he lost years ago.

Growing up down the street from Rasheed and Mariam is Laila, a young, intelligent girl from a loving family. However, the Afghani war against the Soviets disrupts
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