Text Review over “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini

The work I chose to examine is “A Thousand Splendid Suns’ ‘ by Khaled Hosseini, and focuses on the time period in Afghanistan in which the Afghani war against the Soviets breaks out in the 1960s. One of the main characters of this novel is an Afghani woman, Mariam, and readers get to see her life unfold from being a young girl in a war-free Afghanistan to becoming a woman during the breakout of war. Readers see many instances of injustice of power differences between women and men once the war breaks out, and how these women are not able to do much to free themselves due to lack of resources, advocacy, education, and overall respect in society. Some examples of this injustice between the genders of men and women can be seen when Mariam, who comes from a poorer family who does not truly care for her, is forced to marry a shoemaker, Rasheed, once her mother dies because the family doesn’t want to spend resources on Mariam’s well-being; in this society, it’s permissible to “hand over” women to marriage because this is their ultimate destiny. Once in this marriage, Mariam is treated decently by Rasheed until she experiences numerous miscarriages; one of the overarching purposes of a wife in this type of society is to give husbands a son, and if a wife cannot fulfill this duty then there is no purpose for the husband to spend resources to take care of the wife; it’d be better for him to remarry. One part of their story that stuck out to me is when Mariam makes dinner for Rasheed, and Rasheed notices some pieces of rice are too hard – this has apparently occurred before and Rasheed becomes very upset by this. Rasheed proceeds to gather small pebbles from outdoors and forces Mariam to eat them, consequentially breaking her teeth. This is another example of how men have such power over women as to forcing them to eat rocks and permanently break teeth due to a minor inconvenience of their daily life (in this case, Rasheed’s dinner being ruined). Overall, this work depicts a society in which there is a huge power gap between men and women due to this society experiencing the negative impacts of war, and the notion of women embodying the traits of the “Other” in society is pronounced in this novel.