A Thousand Splendid Suns
>>>Hosseini ends Part Two with four short passages. Explain the significance of each one to the rest of the book. Who are the characters that are referred to and what is the significance of some of the imagery? Please reference later examples in the book.
>>>Trace the changes that the character Mariam experiences throughout the book.
1. At the end of Part Two, Laila is preparing to leave Herat with her parents. Before they could leave, a rocket falls down on them and explodes. It sends Laila flying and she is hurt and half awake. the first person she sees is a woman who is Mariam. "A fourescent light shines" (174) above Mariam. She comes to Laila as a savior and as a sign of hope. Mariam appears angelic. Then another face apears infront of her and this time it's a man. The man is Rasheed and Laila's reaction toward him is "It hurts. It hurts to breathe. It hurts everywhere." This foreshadows Rasheed's violent manners later in the novel when they get married. Rasheed would abuse Laila and Mariam when they didn't follow Afghanistan culture and traditions which says men are the dominant gender. Then she sees Mariam's face again when she opens her eyes. Laila describes her features this time and their eyes meet. When two eyes meet, it represents a bond and connection, which they form later on. They form a mother and daughter relationship after understanding where they both were coming from and by page 224, "they were not enemies any longer." Mariam becomes Laila's closest friend and family. The last short passage describes Laila's past. Laila is dreaming at this point. She sees Babi and Mammy flying in the sky. She hears an accordion playing, the sound of her life before the accident. Now "a deep hush falls over everything" (175). A new life would begin for Laila. It gives the reader hope. It's also evident that Mariam and Rasheed are the "man" and "woman" because it is revelaed int he next chapter.2. In the beginning of the novel, Mariam is only 15 years old and she lives with her mom Nana. Mariam choses to believe Jahil over her mother, who later abandons her. She wasn't allowed to do anything that normal girls did like go to school. Her life revolved around "only one skill. And it's this: tahamul. Endure." (17). As a woman, she had no power. Even in marriage, the husband was chosen for her. She could only adapt to what was happening. This made her a stronger person. She gradually starts to mature after marriage. When Lauila comes along. Marian fights for her husband. She speaks for herself when she refuses "to be your [her] servant" (202). For years, Mariam has taken violence from Rasheed. Rasheed would kick her, throw her against the wall. She was vulnerable, but Mariam becomes a hero at the end of the novel. Mariam takes a shovel and kills Rasheed for strangling Laila. Mariam held courage and power at that point. She even took responsibility for the killing and took guilty for the death. She told Laila to leave. Mariam became a hero and mother to Laila. She saves Laila and Mariam goes to jail where she dies. Her death demonstrates a honorable action, which makes her the hero of the novel.