‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ was written by an Afghan American writer, Khaled Hosseini. The novel narrates the strength and resilience of two women who endure physical and psychological cruelty in an anti-feminist society. It also demonstrates how The Taliban uses fear and violence to control the people of Afghanistan, particularly females. Throughout this story the novel exposes the way customs and laws endorse Rasheed’s violent misogyny and it tells the tale of two women who endure a marriage to a ruthless and brutal man, whose behaviour forces them to kill him. The protagonist Mariam is a poor villager who lives in a remote area in Afghanistan, in contrast to Laila who is a smart, educated daughter of a schoolteacher.
Khaled Hosseini has an interesting way of portraying the two female protagonists. He discloses the tyranny and hostility that the Taliban enforce on women just because of their sex. A critic viewed the novel as ‘a powerful portrait of female suffering’ making the reader explicitly aware of the harsh environment Mariam and Laila had to tolerate. One review expressed that ‘Hosseini defends the rights of women to decide what to be in life’ , this could show that Hosseini directed the novel to be in favour of feminist views. Hosseini’s first book ‘The Kite Runner’ involved two male characters whereas this novel concentrates on two women, which could be argued that the novel is moving away from anti-feminism and towards feminism.
The term ‘Feminism’ is born out of oppression. This highlights the importance of how these acts of cruelty Mariam and Laila faced; ‘fear of the goat, released in the tiger’s cage’ is what ultimately defines their inner feminist strength, ‘over the years/learned to harden’ which shows that Mariam and Laila’s past indirectly prepares them for The Taliban’s arrival. The Taliban take away the basic rights of Mariam and Laila ‘jewellery is forbidden’, but they fail to do so. Ironically, it is the society itself that gives them the strength and platform to strike back against Rasheed, who is a cruel, male-dominating character who symbolised and reinforced everything the term ‘anti-feminist’ stands for.
The novel is written in narrative format and is told from the perspectives of Mariam and Laila. With the commencing of The Taliban period, the structure of the novel stays the same as it clarifies and describes the new settings that the two female characters have to face. All the warring periods could in a way have foreshadowed the arrival of Taliban. The history of Afghanistan symbolised the unfortunate situations that the country would face. The idiom ‘harami’ means someone who is unwanted or who would never have legitimate claim to the things other people had; and this could refer to how the Taliban were viewed by fellow Afghans, later on during The Taliban’s ruling.
Mariam’s background is more traumatic than Laila’s as she viewed incidences for example ‘Nana dangling at the end of it/you were ashamed...