"And Mariam was afraid she lived in fear of his shifting moods, his volatile temperament, his insistence on steering even mundane exchanges down a confrontational path that, on occasion, he would resolve with punches, slaps, kicks, and sometimes try to make amends for with polluted apologies and sometimes not." (Hosseini 97)
One day, Tariq stopped by Rasheed’s house to see Laila. This came to Laila as a surprise because Rasheed had made everyone believe that he was dead. After learning that Tariq had been there, Rasheed began to beat Laila for being with Tariq. ( Hosseini 182) Mariam had realized that Rasheed’s anger had overcome him and that he was going to kill Laila.
Mariam offers to surrender herself for Rasheed’s death, instead of taking the risk of both of them getting caught and killed. Unlike herself, she realizes that Laila has significantly more to lose, her children and Tariq. Mariam knows that the action she has taken against Rasheed is completely justified, therefore to her, execution is an honest and good way to die. For her family
Mariam allowing herself to forgive Laila leads to a bond that helps Mariam find meaning in their lives (250). Laila seems to have a better life than Mariam, but that all changes when Laila's parents are killed by a rocket. Laila was not mistreated as bad as Mariam was but still wasn't loved as much as her brothers were. Lailas mom loved her sons and once they were killed Mammy became distant towards Laila. Laila is aware of the change and knows that “She would never leave her
Rasheed however asks her to wear a burqa before going out. He makes it very clear to Mariam and later on to Laila, that a “woman 's face is her husband 's business only”. However when Mariam fails to bear a child, after several miscarriages, Rasheed begins to torture her both physically and mentally. Rasheed also becomes cross on Laila when she gives birth to a girl child. Later on Laila gives birth to a boy, but this does not improve her status in front of Rasheed.
Rasheed having two wives, he abuses them both. “Laila insists that it isn’t fair for Mariam to stay and face punishment for Rasheed’s death, but Mariam tells her it is. She says she has killed their husband and deprived Zalmai of a father. It isn’t right that she runs. She will never escape Zalmai’s grief.
She knew how much of an abomination killing her husband would be to society, but she loved Laila enough to risk the punishment. Instead of running away from Kabul with Laila, Mariam stayed behind so that Laila would never get in trouble for killing Rasheed. She was then arrested and later shot for murder (371). Mariam sacrificed her own life so that Laila could marry Tariq and live happily and freely with her family. She gave up everything, even her life for those whom she loved, even though they biologically were not her children.
The day after this incident Mariam says to Laila “ They will find us, sooner or later they are bloodhounds. When they do, they’ll find you as guilty as me. Tariq too. I won’t have the two of you living on the run like fugitives.” (337-338).
Although, Mariam is discouraged to pursue an education, Mariam and Laila knew the possibilities of women. Laila was expected to be something important in her life, her childhood friends and Rasheed made a note on how intelligent, independent and determined she was. While Mariam
Mariam sacrifices her freedom for Jalil by marrying Rasheed. In the novel, when the wives told Mariam they found a suitor for her, she tells Jalil to say something and he says “‘Mariam don’t do this to me’”(49). Even though Mariam did not want to marry Rasheed, she knew Jalil wanted her to and so she did, forever surrendering her freedom to him. Marrying Rasheed deprived Mariam of her freedom because when Rasheed tells Mariam “‘a woman’s face is her husband’s business only’”(70), it indicates that she is his and he controls her.
Although the two are similar because they share Rasheed as their husband, they differ in the way they respond to situations. The explanation for their differences in behavior originates from how they grow up. Laila learns from her father at an early age to be independent and to be restless when it comes to achieving her goals, such as pursuing an education. Babi tells her that “Women have always had it hard in this country, Laila, but they’re probably more free now, under the communists, and have more rights than they’ve ever had before” (Hosseini 135). Despite the war and her abusive marriage with Rasheed, Laila has positive outlook on life that serves her in numerous situations.
However, after a long time of struggling against the society and the loss of her two sons in addition to that, her role as an ideal feminist challenger is no longer dominant. Much like Mariam, Laila is a victor. The difference between Mariam and Laila is Laila has been defying the norms of the culture throughout her life, unlike Mariam, who was submissive for the early years of her lifetime. Laila represents a hope for woman in the male dominated culture, as she goes on to escape from her abusive husband, finds happiness, pursues education, and contributes back to the society postwar. The male characters are also notable to observe from the novel because the patriarchal society, as well as for the comparison purpose.
“I admit to what I did, brother,” Mariam said, “But, if I hadn’t, he would have killed her. He was strangling her” (P365). This shows that Mariam is willing to take responsibility for her action she knew that there would be conscious, but she also knew that what she did was to save Laila and her children. Mariam’s actions would lead to this moment, “Kneel here, hamshira. And look down.”
Mariam longed to place a ruler on a page and draw important-looking lines”(Hosseini ). Mariam is an example of how women are banned from an education and whose life could have been changed by education. Instead of being educated, she is sheltered by her mother and lives the rest of her life without high expectations of herself. Nana teaches her that an Afghan woman has to endure the life that is chosen for her because she does not have a say. Nana even says "There is only one, only one skill a woman like you and me needs in life, and they don't teach it in school.
The story starts off with Mariam, a girl whom is mentally tortured by her mother.. Mariam lives with her mother, Nana, for the first fifteen years of her life, but something tragic happens which forces her to get married to an abusive middle-aged man named Rasheed in a distant city. The second part of the story starts off with Laila