Essay about Bookseller of Kabul

1682 Words Jul 12th, 2010 7 Pages
Contemporary Perspectives
Bookseller of Kabul
March 1st, 2010

In this paper I will discuss family life in Afghanistan. After reading “The Bookseller of Kabul” and doing some research on other Afghan families I believe that the Khan family is almost the same as a typical Afghan family. Yes, there are some differences but in the end they act and live as most others in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is a country that has been divided by several ethnic groups, with the two most relevant being the Pashtun and the Tajik. It is hard to determine the percentage of the population that compromises each ethnic group due to the lack of census in the countries for many years. However, the CIA World factbook gives a rough estimate: Pashtun 42
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On several occasions the bride to be must be bought from the man who wishes to marry her, other times she might be free of charge, depending on the age and state of the woman. The latter can be seen in the book where Sultan’s sister Bulbula is engaged to Rasul free of charge (Seierstad, 66).
The women in the book seem to be no different from typical women from Afghanistan when it comes to the way they live their lives. They have been oppressed for many years, especially under the Taliban government. Women were deprived of basic rights, such as the right to vote, to work, to inheritance and to choose their own partner if they wished to marry (Qazi, 1). They were treated as slaves and virtually had no rights or freedoms. A woman’s fate lies in the hands of her husband because after Allah and the prophets, the husband and father of the house is the most important thing and must be respected by all family members not matter the situation (Seierstad, 132). The man of the house decides if his wife might attend school or take a job; most times they just sit at home doing chores all day and taking care of their children.
Being out in public, for a woman, without a male companion was seen as punishable act. The Khan family shares this in common with other Afghan families and it is illustrated in an example where it states that Leila never walks outside her home alone. In fact, she has never been alone in her life (Seierstad, 171).
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