Stereotypes In John Steinbeck's A Thousand Splendid Suns

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Furthermore the novel A Thousand Splendid Suns gives people a way to see that not every woman in Afghanistan fits America’s stereotypical view of an Afghan woman. Not only that, but the book describes how speaking out allows one to break the single story. In A Thousand Splendid Suns, Mariam and Laila are constantly facing the challenges of the Islamic social construction and ideology for women. Mariam came from a poor family and her Nana strongly believed in suppressive roles of women in society. She believed that women should stay at home and do the cooking and cleaning. She did not think it was important for women to go to school; to her the only important thing was marriage and following a mans orders. Because of this belief, Mariam never went to school and was…show more content…
In particular, when Laila decides to go walk to visit her sister, she does it without the supervision of a male and puts herself in danger of the Taliban. By doing this she is fighting against the stereotype that women in Afghanistan are oppressed and showing her voice that women are independent, even with the simplest of things like walking alone. Laila fights with him and the social construction because she does not believe in the social standards for women; thereby breaking down the single story many Americans have placed on Afghan women. Unlike Mariam, who for the whole book never speaks out against Rasheed, even after he treats her like she is worthless. For instance, one night Mariam had undercooked the rice that she was serving to Rasheed; Rasheed was so furious with her that he forced her to chew pebbles. He clamped her jaw down and forced her to eat them, breaking many of her teeth. This abusive punishment not only represents Mariam’s oppression by Rasheed, it also represents the idea that she was physically not able to speak out and stop him from hurting her. This scenario allows the single story to be reinforced because Mariam was not able to speak out and stop Rasheed from subjugating
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