Themes in a Thousand Splendid Suns . Themes 1) Justice and Penance Although it is not directly apparent, one of the strongest underlying themes of the novel is the idea of justice and penance. As the characters lives are inevitably altered by the chaos around them, they look to themselves as to why they are being punished. They believe that what occurs is penance for the sins they have committed. The theme is introduced to us by Nana, Maria’s mother, when she explains why she built the kola by herself, “Jail could have hired laborers to build the kola, but he didn’t.
His idea of penance” (Hussein 10). This was his way of making Nana atone for their affair, even though they were both at fault. The most striking examples, however, occur near the end of the novel. Rehashed, who had tormented Miriam and Leila for years, finally met his end with the same brutality as he treated them. And lastly, the relationship between Miriam and her father, Jail. Miriam always admired her father, so much so that she intended to leave her mother, who had raised Miriam alone all her life.
Don’t waste your time!
Order your assignment!
Miriam waited for days outside Jail’s house, knowing of his presence inside. But he, for fear of losing face, ignored his Hiram, never to treat her like a daughter of his own. Later, awaiting the arrival of his death, Jail visited Maria’s house to make amends. Miriam, fittingly, did not welcome him and shredded his letter, never to know until many years later why her father visited. After Maria’s execution, Leila read a letter from Jail’s will, one Miriam had never read.
He was both understanding and disappointed that Miriam never opened the door, describing it as penance for his actions: How little do those things matter to me after all the loss, all the terrible hinges have seen in this cursed war. But now, of course, it is too late. Perhaps this is just punishment to those who have been heartless, to understand only when nothing can be undone. (Hussein 359) 2) The Discrimination Against Women in Afghanistan Perhaps the most blatant theme in a Thousand Splendid Suns is the discrimination against women in Afghanistan.
Throughout the novel, Miriam, Leila and others must battle against prejudice in their society. Nana, Maria’s mother, warns Miriam of the dangers of being a women at a very young age, and her opinion explains why she is so distasteful about Maria’s father. Her mother’s words stay with Miriam even until death, “Learn this now and learn it well my daughter: Like a compass needle that points north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. Always. You remember that, Miriam” (Hussein 7). Much like other families, Miriam was regularly a victim Of abuse and torment.
This became a commonplace, even for young Leila when she joined the family much later. The most appalling example of discrimination, however, was shortly after the Taliban performed a coup on Amassed and neighboring warlords. A message would be replayed over loudspeakers, on he radio, in flyers to be tossed onto the ground, informing the public the latest guidelines: 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 marry, a male relative. If you are caught alone on the street, you will be beaten and sent home. You will not, under any circumstance, show you face. You will cover with Burma when outside. If you do not, you will be severely beaten. Cosmetics are forbidden. Jewelry is forbidden. You will not wear charming clothes. You will not speak unless spoken to. You will not make eye contact with men. You will not laugh in public. If you do, you will be beaten. You will not paint your nails.
If you do, you will lose a finger. Girls are forbidden from attending school. All schools for girls will be close immediately. Women are forbidden from working. If you are found guilty of adultery, you will be stoned to death. Listen. Listen well. Obey. Allah-u-Kafka. (Hussein 248-249) 3) The Human Capacity for Evil The story of A Thousand Splendid Suns truly depicts the brutality and the extent of malevolence humans are capable of. The characters are victims of the Taliban, Soviet Union and numerous warlords who have little compassion for human life.
The driving force behind these men is to obtain power, with little regard for the women, children and even men who are inextricable from the politics playing out around them. The Taliban establish rules far more severe than others, denying women even basic healthcare or the capacity to care for their children. The human capacity for evil is more individually apparent in men like Rehashed-who was once considered thoughtful and charming-to be revealed s a vicious and spiteful old man. Rehashed, despite Maria’s willingness to please, abused and exploited her.
This would later include Leila and even her child. The degree of his temperament and cruelty is best depicted by two examples. After sampling Maria’s rice one evening, his already unruly behavior worsened. He left Miriam with a few choice words and went outside. He began grabbing pebbles from the around the house and promptly forced Miriam to chew on them, bloodying her mouth and chipping her teeth. This event pales in comparison by his outrage of learning that Atari ND Leila held a conversation. Rehashed began belting Leila and eventually closed his hands around her neck.
Rehashed would have killed Leila and Miriam for their defiance and retaliation, had Miriam not killed him flirts. 4) Loyalty and Devotion The importance of family and friendship in helping people overcome the toughest of times is a central theme in A Thousand Splendid Suns. This bonding occurs between Leila and her father, Leila and Atari and most importantly between Leila and Miriam. Leila and Atari experienced a friendship that grew from the earliest years of her life. From childhood impassions, they became a married couple even after over 10 years of separation and hardships.
Leila adores her father, and shares the same desires as her father for her education and well being. She would have left Kabul if it were not for her respect for her father’s intentions. And of course, the relationship between Miriam and Leila, where their struggle to survive, raise a family, and find happiness are the central idea of the novel. Their friendship and the extent of their loyalty is best exemplified by the events leading up to Rasher’s death. As Leila approached death from Ewing suffocated, Miriam for the first time decided the course of her own life.