Examples Of External Conflict In A Thousand Splendid Suns

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“Women like us. We endure. It’s all we have” (19). In a tale told through the life of two Afghan women, Laila and Mariam learn the cost of being a woman in a society that favors men. As these two live a journey of suffering and hope, they begin to understand the difficulties that their parents face while living with an abusive husband and facing the wrath of the Taliban. Throughout A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini uses external conflict, internal conflict, and characterization to reveal how a woman in a patriarchal Afghan society endures more struggles and hardships than a man does.

Hosseini uses external conflict to show how women have suffered under the hands of Islāmic government, such as the Mujahideen and the Taliban.
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Mariam undergoes the anxiety of Jalil arranging her marriage at 15 years old and handing her away to a man she doesn't even know. During her marriage to Rasheed, who is forty years older than her, she is physically assaulted and “with each disappointment, Rasheed [has] grown more remote and resentful. Now nothing she [has done] pleased him” (99). As a result of not producing any children for him, Mariam has to live with the neglect of Rasheed. Therefore, she suffered Rasheed’s abuse because it is the only option she has. Later, as Mariam and Laila try to escape to Pakistan, they get caught by the guards and brought back to Rasheed. As Rasheed locked Laila and Aziza in a room, Laila “ [placed] her ear over Aziza’s mouth, dreading each time that she would not hear the shallow whooshing of breath” (271). Internal conflict shows how Laila lived with the worry that at any moment, Aziza might of died and she can only have herself to blame. Living with Rasheed throughout their lives, Mariam and Laila learn to endure through the struggles that accompany living with an abusive…show more content…
Both Laila and Mariam have no other choice, but to endure the challenging problems handed to them. Neither of them was willing to give up. When Mariam found the magazines of women underneath Rasheed’s bed, she came up with an excuse that “He was a man. All those years without a woman. [Can] she fault him for being the way God created him” (83). Characterization reveals that she and Laila tried being as optimistic as they can in a life that seemed to have slight joy. They kept trying to make the best of the dilemmas they faced. Both overlooked their problems with each other and as time passed Mariam “slowly grew accustomed to this tentative, but pleasant companionship. She was eager for three cups of chai, she and Laila [shared] in the yard” (251). While Mariam and Laila lived through life with a positive attitude, both of their parents never got past the resentment and sorrow they felt. After Mariam’s mom, Nana, left Jalil’s house, she became bitter and churlish complaining that Jalil never stood “up to his family, to his wives and in-laws, and [accepted] responsibility for what he...[did]” (7). Eventually, Nana committed suicide and chose to give up once Mariam left because there was nothing else for her to live for. In the same way, Laila’s mom wasn't able to let go of the past and allow herself to move on from her sons’ deaths. Usually,
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