Thousand Splendid Suns

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Diving Deeper into Literature’s History
Although our first instinct to learn about a culture is not to read a story from that time period, writings contribute immensely to the context by adding minute details facts cannot provide. A distinctive characteristic of each period aids in understanding the history of each culture, thus enhancing the story as well. Not only do the authors of each story contribute to the overall emotion of the novel, but also the way we connect with the story. The Tale of Genji, Six Characters in Search of an Author, and A Thousand Splendid Suns each has distinct aspects in which define the history, form an emotional connection, which reveals more about the author, and when broken down reveals each writer’s message.
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In the novel A Thousand Splendid Suns, communism and the Taliban take over Afghanistan causing issues including war and oppression, especially towards women. The Taliban was very aggressive towards women and would enforce vicious rules, “Attention women: You will stay inside your homes at all times. It is not proper for women to wander aimlessly about the streets. If you go outside, you must be accompanied by a mahram, a male relative. If you are caught alone on the street, you will be beaten and sent home” (Hosseini, 278). Women were not allowed to attend school, or even laugh in public without being penalized. Even marriage and love were entirely opposing each other, made known by Rasheed’s relationship with Laila and Mariam. We connect with Laila and Mariam due to the fact that they both were raised in differing lifestyles; Mariam grew up in a secluded “rathole” and was not able to go to school while Laila was born into a middle class family and attended school. By using characters from such different backgrounds, Hosseini enabled the reader to connect emotionally with one of both of these main characters. Death, violence, and the string of emotions can all be empathized with while reading this novel, especially towards the end in part three and part four, ““I 'm sorry," Laila says, marveling at how every Afghan story is marked by death and loss and unimaginable grief. And yet, she sees, people find a way to survive, to go on” (CITE). It seems as if the Afghans even knew that life was going to end badly, but had no control over it. We have all experienced some sort of hurt in our lifetime, whether it be physical or emotional, and it makes it that much easier to connect with Leila and Mariam. The heartbreak and turmoil exposed in this culture during this period illustrate what Hosseini escaped from by moving to America. Through his novel,
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