This book follows the lives of two Afghan women, Miriam and Leila, as they suffer pain and discrimination received from the Taliban and their husband, Rehashed. The women are forced to clean, cook, wear veils outside of the house, and have to take care of the children on a daily basis. Throughout the book, Miriam and Leila, as well as other characters, learn to endure all these hardships in their lives. To endure is the ability to bear with or tolerate something without fighting back, but the more someone has to endure, the more they change as a character.
Thus forcing one to choose to act out in physical and verbal violence, and making poor sections in their life. People who are able to endure will go farther in life than those who cannot because they do not fight back. In the story, Miriam must learn to endure when she lives with someone like Rehashed and her father. However, the longer she endures she begins to not tolerate things as easy and begins to fight back and rebel. First, after being married to Rehashed, Jail begins to try and make Miriam feel better and says he will visit her, but Miriam said “Don’t come. I won’t see you. Don’t you come.
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I don’t want to hear from you. Ever. Ever. “, “It ends here for you and me. Say your good-byes” Hussein 55). Based on Maria’s reaction, she is fed up with her father and is tired of listening to his lies and does not want to see him ever again. By Miriam telling Jail she never wants to see him again reveals that she is very mad at him for having to endure everything like leaving her to live with Nana in the kola, her mother’s death, and being abandoned by Jail himself, and now he is sending her away. Therefore Miriam tells him to not visit her and say good-bye because she hates him for what he is doing.
As a result of Maria’s anger, she decides to go with Rehashed to Kabul, and leave her mentor. Miriam decides to do this because she is tired of taking sweat from her father, and tolerating all of his lies, and thinks leaving Heart is good for herself. Second, Miriam was in the kitchen looking for the wooden spoon when Leila walked in and Miriam began to call Leila a “where. A where and a dozed. A thieving where, that’s what you are! ” (Hussein 233). Maria’s outburst suggests that Miriam hates Leila, and is tired of doing all the work around the house like cleaning and cooking.
She is also tired of seeing Leila doing nothing around the house and seeing Rehashed always be nice to her. Miriam shows she does not like Leila because she keeps calling Leila a where and a thief. In a county where the woman do all the housework and cooking, and men go to work, Miriam does not like seeing Leila do nothing around the house while she does everything. This perspective causes Miriam to act out and creates higher tension in their home, which ultimately makes both their lives tougher than they already are.
Third, Rehashed was very angry at Leila for hanging out with Atari, and began to strangle Leila almost to the point of death when Miriam picked up a shovel and “she hit him across the temple. The bow knocked him off Leila… She turned it so the sharp edge was vertical, and, as she did, it occurred to her that this was the first time she was deciding the course of her own life. And, with that, Miriam brought down the shovel. This time, she gave it everything she had” (Hussein 348-349). Maria’s action indicates that her anger towards Rehashed increased more and more as she suffered through all the abuse and work he gave her.
By beating Rehashed with a shovel and killing him with it, Miriam reveals that she has finally decided to stand up to Rehashed for Leila and herself. Because Miriam stood up to Rehashed and killed him, now Miriam and Leila have lifted a huge ruder off their shoulders and Leila can live with Atari and her children. Miriam learns that if she wants to be happier in life she has to make her own decisions, like killing Rehashed. If she had not defended Leila, Rehashed could have killed Leila, and Miriam would have continued to live a stressful life.
Throughout the book, Miriam endures on-going violence and abuse and she begins to make poor choices; she also begins to act out violently as means of learning to cope with her surroundings. Her actions drastically changed the course of her life for herself as well as others for worse and for better. Leila also has to endure many hardships in life, like her family’s death, Atari leaving, and living with Rehashed. All these factors start to break her and she becomes more depressed and starts making bad decisions. First, Leila survived injuries from a nuclear rocket explosion after being saved by Miriam and Rehashed (Hussein 193-200).
This explosion killed both of her parents forcing Leila to alter her plans for the future. After Leila moves in with Rehashed and Miriam, Rehashed tells Miriam about how he wants to propose to Leila and “Later, in the dark, Miriam told the girl. For a long time, the girl aid nothing. He wants an answer by this morning. Miriam said. He can have it now, the girl said. My answer is yes” (Hussein 216). Leila accepting Rasher’s proposal suggests she married him because she has nowhere to go because everyone who she loves is gone.
Having to endure all the pain of her parent’s death has caused her to make this decision to marry Rehashed because she is by herself. While it seems like Leila could be better off now that she is by herself, she in fact is not, because women in Afghanistan have little to no rights and she would not be able to support herself. She marries Rehashed because she has no other choice. This decision will very much have an impact in her life. Second, Rehashed was very angry at Miriam because he believed she was teaching Leila to deny him, and started to beat her with belt when “The girl [Leila] lunged at him.
She grabbed his arm with both hands and tried to drag him down, but she could do no more than dangle from it” (Hussein 241). Laic’s actions reveal that she is tired of dealing with Rasher’s violence towards Miriam and wants to stand up to Rehashed and stop him. By Leila lunging and pulling on Rasher’s arm reveals that she cares for Miriam cause she risked herself getting beaten by Rehashed, but since she is done tolerating Rasher’s violence, she decides to act out. Because Leila acts this way she has made Rehashed very mad, and now he is keeping a close eye on her.
If she had not done what she had did, than she would not have Rehashed angry with her and she could continue to lie low and let Rehashed be angry at Miriam. Third, Aziza, Laic’s daughter, was put into an orphanage because they could no longer take care of her, and Rehashed would not take Leila to visit her so she said “I’ll go by myself’ and the Taliban often gave Leila “a ensue-lashing or a single kick to the rear, a shove in the back as she was not accompanied by a male. Other times, she met with assortments of wooden clubs, fresh tree branches, short whips, slaps, often fists” (Hussein 320-321).
Based on what Leila is doing suggests that Leila does not care about the Italian’s rule, and is angry that she can’t see her daughter because Rehashed put her in the orphanage and he won’t take her visit Aziza, but she goes to see Aziza navy’s because she loves her. By Leila going to visit Aziza even though she is getting kicked, and slapped, and beaten shows how much she cares for ere daughter, also Leila telling Rehashed she’ll go visit Aziza antsy shows she won’t give in to Rehashed, and she controls her own life. Because Leila pushes through the beatings, she is able to visit her daughter, but also risks her life.
If she would have stayed home, and not have tried to leave the house by herself, she would have saved herself from the beatings Of the Taliban. Leila makes some decisions that are very dangerous ones, and ones that really affect her life, but she does them because she is done having to endure things, like her parent’s death, Rasher’s violence, and Rehashed restricting ere from her own daughter. Rehashed, even though he seems like he does not have to endure anything, he does because he gets tired of his wives disobeying him; he is also tired of his wives not doing what he asks.
These things cause him to act out in violence. First, Miriam and Rehashed had not been doing well together especially because Miriam kept miscarrying, but then one day Miriam made him bad rice and he “shoved two fingers into her mouth and pried it open, then forced the cold, hard pebbles into if’, then Rehashed said “Now you know what your rice tastes like. Now you know what you’ve given me in this marriage. Bad food, and nothing else” (Hussein 104). Rasher’s actions suggest that his anger with Miriam will get worse as she keeps feeding him bad food, and miscarrying.
By forcing Miriam to chew pebbles shows that he is mad and tired of Miriam not giving him what he wants, causing him to be violent towards her. Rasher’s actions are not right because it is not Maria’s fault that she keeps miscarrying, and Rehashed has no reason to act like that. As a result of Miriam not being able to give him a child, Rehashed continues to act in anger. Second, Miriam was lying on her bed one night when she heard Rehashed shouting. ‘ ‘The girl’s voice, underneath his, was tentative and shrill”, then Rehashed came bursting into Maria’s room “It’s your doing. I know it is….
Rehashed raised the belt and this time came at Miriam” (Hussein 240-241). While yelling at Miriam, Rehashed is attempting to make his point, it’s your doing, it’s Maria’s fault that Leila is acting out and arguing with him. By Rehashed bursting into Maria’s room and beating her with a belt proves he thinks Miriam is the reason for Laic’s actions because before Rehashed and Leila were having no problems, but as soon as Miriam and Leila began hanging out together, Leila began to fight back at Rehashed. Since Rehashed thinks this he acts violently and beats Miriam With a belt to show how he is tired of Miriam poisoning Laic’s mind.
Because Rehashed blamed Miriam for Alias’s actions she has to suffer yet another beating and now Rehashed is watching her more closely. While Rasher’s opinion that Miriam is responsible for Laic’s actions, it shows how he really likes Leila because he does not blame her for her own outbursts. Third, Rehashed had come home from work and asked Kalmia what his mother was doing today, “She was… She was downstairs talking to that man [Atari]”, he said (Hussein 344). Right after that Rehashed locked Kalmia upstairs and name back downstairs with a belt, beating Leila, and then he ‘Wrapped his hands around Laic’s neck…
He meant to suffocate her, and there was nothing either of them could do about it” (Hussein 347). Rehashed acts like this because he does not like seeing Leila hanging out with Atari all the time, because Leila is his wife and Leila and Atari used to be really close to each other. Rehashed is trying to show Leila how angry he is at her because he was willing to suffocate her for her actions. Rehashed illustrates that he does not tolerate people who disobey him, and anyone who does not obey him will chive a consequence.
Rehashed acts out violently a lot because he does not like having to endure people not listening to him and people rebelling against him, like Miriam and Leila. It is important to know that all the characters act out like they do because of having to endure something so painful in their life, which they could not handle anymore, ultimately causing them to have an outburst and or make impulsive choices. Their choices and actions had a long lasting impact on their lives, because their actions changed the way someone viewed them as a person, and caused someone to react back to them.