Research Papers

Violence as a Tool of Aggression and Resistance in A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini-Saliha Huda


This paper deals with the analysis of A Thousand Splendid Suns, giving fundamental importance to the female oppression and violence went through mainly due to the men in their lives, war, religion and culture. It is mainly a qualitative research. The present research is conducted primarily in accordance with the shadow of oppression and violence then patriarchal despotism and the imagery of sun is both literally and figuratively. Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns examines the female oppression and violence in Afghanistan, with war as a backdrop, and where women cannot make any decisions though they bear the brunt of its awful consequences. Women here had a function, but no destiny; unless it was to take the deadly risk of challenging the customary order that combined the male code of honors. The education of women will help not only in the protection of their rights but also in their fruitful participation in the labor forced and economic activity. Hosseini’s novel indicated that the women in Afghanistan have been out of way in the society and enjoy no privileges to cooperate with the male member outside the society. This thesis would help to provide awareness among the masses regarding the liberties and female rights particularly in Afghanistan and generally all around the world. It will also try to deduce suitable conclusions in light of the awareness for women empowerment and feminist movements that has become the prime concern all around the globe.

Keywords: Violence, Aggression, Resistance

1. Introduction:

This research paper will attempt to argue on Violence as a Tool of Aggression and Resistance in A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini with special reference to the Fanon’s theory of Violence Psychology. Khaled Hosseini is an Afghan-born American novelist and also a physician. He was born in Kabul, in March 4, 1965. He was the son of Nasser Hosseini (a diplomat) and Maimoona Hosseini (a secondary-school teacher). He moved to Paris and then California with his parents. Hosseini graduated from high school in 1984 from San Jose, California. He attended Santa Clara University, where he studied Biology, and then, in 1989, he began attending medical school at the University of California, San Diego. In 1996, he also started the private practice and after three years he received the medical degree.

In 2006, Hosseini was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), the UN Refugee Agency. He established ‘The Khaled Hosseini Foundation’, inspired by the trip he made to Afghanistan with UNHCR. The foundation provides humanitarian assistance to the people of his beloved birth country, Afghanistan. Khaled Hosseini started working on The Kite Runner (2003), while practicing medicine, in 2001. The book was an international bestseller, published in thirty-four countries. Then, in 2003, he visited Afghanistan for the first time in his life. He was really inspired by the women wearing burkas in Afghanistan. A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007), which is his second novel, was the result of this inspiration. And the Mountains Echoed (2013) is also a very famous book by Hosseini, about two separated siblings.

The title of the book A Thousand Splendid Suns is taken from a poem of seventeenth century Persian poet Saib-e-Tabrizi. The reference of the poem is also found in the last chapter of Part 2 of the book, when Laila found Babi standing in his study, ‘with rareful expressions on his face’ (Hosseini 171), after his decision to migrate from Kabul. He said “All day, this poem about Kabul has been bouncing around in my head….I used to know the whole poem, but all I can remember now is two lines: ‘One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs, Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls” (Hosseini 172). A Thousand Splendid Suns is a breathtaking story. The story is set in volatile events of thirty years of Afghan history—from Soviet invasion, to the reign of the Taliban, to post-Taliban rebuilding. It is the story of two oppressed women who put violence, fear, hope and faith of that country (Ovianti 2019).

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani young girl who was shot by Taliban for the unforgivable crime of going to school. However, she is lucky to meet a happy ending but every girl is not as lucky as she is. The women of Middle East face violent times of oppression. The novel is divided into four parts:

Part 1 contains first fifteen chapters that are enough to describe Mariam’s background and her personality, and also the context in which she was oppressed by different dominating powers.

Part 2 shifts our attention from Mariam and her context to a new protagonist, Laila. The second part establishes the parallels between Laila and Mariam. Through these parallels, Hosseini portrays the theme of gender role and through the shifting from one to the other; he compares and contrasts the two characters.

In Part 3, the events of some chapters are told through Mariam’s eyes and some through Laila’s eyes. However, in this part, the progression of Mariam and Laila’s relationship could be perceived.

Part 4 is the denouement of the novel and provides a proper resolution of how disempowered women go through suffering to empower themselves.

The novel is set in Afghanistan during the period from early 1960s to 2000s. Mariam, the first protagonist of the novel, was an illegitimate child of Jalil, the wealthiest man of Herat (a small city of Afghanistan), and Nana, a maid to the Jalil’s household. She lived in a kolba, detached from the Herat city, with her stubborn mother. She always wanted to live with her father and his family. She even did not visit the cinema that her father own in Herat. She once, walked to Herat to visit her father and her father, did not even let her enter his house. When she returned to the kolba, she found her mother dead as she committed suicide. She was taken to her father’s house after her mother’s funeral where his wives forced him to let her marry Rasheed, a widowed shoemaker in Kabul, who was almost double the age of Mariam. Rasheed treats her very decently in the start but after her miscarriage, he abuses her physically and verbally very violently because she was nothing else except a burden to him after having no children.

Laila, the other protagonist of the novel, was grew in a very decent family, down the street from Rasheed and Mariam. The Afghani war against the Soviets disrupted her childhood as her two brothers had been killed through the war. A few years later, war reaches to Kabul and the bombs started to fall on the city regularly and the people started to flee Pakistan and other nearby areas. Tariq’s (Laila’s childhood friend and now lover) family also moved to Pakistan and the young couple made love for the first time. A few days later, Laila’s parents also decided to leave Afghanistan but, unfortunately, a rocket hits their house and both parents get killed. Rasheed and Mariam nursed Laila back to health and under circumstances Laila accepted Rasheed’s proposal and marry him which become the reason of Mariam’s clash with her. After having a daughter, Rasheed started abusing her too and at this point, Mariam and Laila came near to each other. Few years later, Laila gave birth to a son. Then, one afternoon Laila was shocked to see Tariq in front of her (Fitriningtias 2011).

When Rasheed came to know that Tariq has returned, he brutally beats Laila and Mariam kills Rasheed with a shovel. Mariam sends Laila and her children to Pakistan with Tariq and clears her way by turning herself over to the Taliban. Tariq and Laila get married in Pakistan and start a happy life but their happiness was overshadowed by news that United States had attacked on Afghanistan. They decided to go back home so they could help rebuild their city. They build a new life in Kabul and Laila decided that if she had a daughter, she would name her Mariam. This paper is going to deal with violence as a tool of aggression and resistance in A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. The reason behind the selection of this writer is because he is a contemporary writer and a few articles of criticism on his works and writing style have been published.

The main thrust of this paper is to demonstrate that Fanon’s thesis of violence is relevant to violence in A Thousand Splendid Suns. For him, violence is an intrinsic nature of the colonial system which produces alienated consciousness and alienating material conditions that are formidable obstacles to man’s liberation. In Fanon’s view, it is only through violence that man creates himself. He insists that the only true liberation is the liberation of the self from the self, that is, the liberation from a desire to become something other than the true self. His concern is not about showing compliance with the universal norms, but to repel the oppressor through violence as a cathartic liberation of the soul (Belkhiri 2019).

Fanon believes that the right thing to do is to employ violence to free the natives from their dehumanizing experience and restore their human dignity, identity, and self-worth. Fanon insists that only revolutionary violence can liberate man’s consciousness and create a new man. My research is going to be first of its kind. It would become ground breaking and first point of reference for others. My topic will inspire other researchers to take up similar subjects for further study (Aghamelu 24).

2. Review of Literature

The aim is to build a relationship with previous studies. This section of research is going to explore the criticism related to the area understudy. The primary purpose of this study is to examine how Afghan women are portrayed in the well-known Afghan novel, namely A Thousand Splendid Suns. Women have always fought for their rights in the matter of equality between women and the men. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini also deals with the female oppression and violence and the struggle against patriarchal society. Hosseini is skilled at telling a certain kind of story, in which events that may seem unbearable violence, misery and abuse are made readable. He does not gloss over the horrors his character live through, but something about his direct, explanatory style and the sense that you are moving towards a redemptive ending makes the whole narrative, for all its tragedies, slip down rather easily.

The Kite Runner was the tale of two Afghan boys struggling to live decent lives amid the warfare and ethnic rivalries of contemporary Afghanistan, and this is the female counterpart. It is both the tale of two women, and a tale of two cities – Herat and Kabul. A Thousand Splendid Suns, written by Khaled Hosseini, also deals with oppression of women and the struggle against male domination. The New York Times has found his book powerful and haunting, and it certainly is. Michiko Kakutani has written in The New York Times that In the case of ‘Splendid Suns’, Mr. Hosseini quickly makes it clear that he intends to deal with the plight of women in Afghanistan, and in the opening pages the mother of one of the novel’s two heroines talks portentously about ‘our lot in life’, ‘the lot of poor, uneducated ‘women like us’ who have to endure the hardships of life, the slights of men, the disdain of society. This quote from Kakutani is rather good way of describing A Thousand Splendid Suns, since all female characters are suffer and endured with the “hardship of life” such as men, politics, society and injustice (Pandit 2008).

In the novel, both women face lot of difficulties and struggles in their life that every women faces in Afghan society. The novel has garnered a plethora positive review. See Lisa in The New York Times says The Kite Runner he uses a melodramatic plot to convey vividly the many aspects of love and ways people sacrifice themselves for those they hold dear. With A Thousand Splendid Suns, Hosseini has shown that he doesn’t intend to be a one-hit wonder. It will be interesting to see where he goes from here. Hosseini’s writing seems American in style because of its open confrontation of difficult moral, social and political issues. Louise Ermelino in Publishers Weekly says that sex is such a taboo subject in Afghanistan, but it’s a need on a means to something, and I wanted to write about these women in the full scope of their lives, spiritual and physical. In a society where invisibility is modesty, this is scandalous. Also Hosseini refuses to treat the burqa as a cliché for the repression of women (Flynn 275-320).

Hosseini’s novel, it is too is set in Afghanistan, and it too deals with ordinary people whose lives are lastingly altered by the terrible events in that country during the past three decades. Jonathan Yardley in the Washington Post says that A Thousand Splendid Suns is popular fiction of the first rank. He says in an interview distributed to reviewers that the story has always taken precedence over everything else. It always about human connections and then expands from there.

Like a historian or a journalist, Hosseini is punctilious about providing dates for all of this, which seems a bit out of a place in a work of fiction. As the time demand about Hosseini’s native land, where every Afghan story is marked by death and loss unimaginable grief, yet where people find a way to survive, to go on. In the novel, characters are caught in cross-field and overwhelmed by external forces. The lives of the characters in A Thousand Splendid Suns, was influenced by outside brutal unforgiving world and they made decision about their own lives which are affected through revolution, war and suffering. The characters fight till the end but never give up. Among other problems rape is one of the biggest problem faces by women in Afghanistan. An Article published in Washington Post says that one of the biggest problems at the camps is when the women go out to gather fire wood to cook, and they get attacked and raped (Arkoun 135).

Joan Smith, writing in the London Sunday Times, is much more enthusiastic. She draws parallels­—as do many other reviewers—between this novel and Hosseini’s debut work, The Kite Runner, asserting that if he cut his teeth by writing about his countrymen, it is the plight of Afghanistan’s women that has brought him to realize his full powers as a novelist. A Thousand Splendid Suns, the lack of opportunities and absence of happiness are equally mourned. Hosseini through his writing tells the readers that the story about mothers, daughters, wives and sisters in a country where religious, political and cultural climates have worked together for centuries to limit their freedoms and opportunities. The USA Today in the article “Splendid Suns” burn brightly amid suffering says that Hosseini’s writing makes our hearts ache, our stomachs clench and our emotions reel. Hosseini mixes the experiences of these women with imagined scenarios to create a fascinating microcosm of Afghan family life. He shows us the interior lives of the anonymous women living beneath identity-diminishing burqas. Hosseini writes in gorgeous and stirring language of the natural beauty and colorful cultural heritage of his native Afghanistan. Hosseini tells this saddest of stories in achingly beautiful prose through stunningly heroic characters whose spirits somehow grasp the dimmest rays of hope (Detweiler 2018).

Hosseini is the best storyteller. Through his art of language he expresses the compassion and expression to universalize the reader attention. The mountains echoing seem to be an evocation of remembrance a collation of the important things that individuals in a distant land forget as they grow older and less attentive. Michael D. Langan in the Buffalo News wrote that Hosseini’s A Mountain Echoed a sprawling, multigenerational tale says that Khaled Hosseini is arguably one of the best storytellers in English since the British writer Joseph Conrad. Hosseini’s literary abilities are such that he is able to do what all great artists do: take individual stories and, through the alchemy of insight, compassion and expression, universalize them—thereby turning them into art. What Conrad did for Africa, Hosseini now does for Afghanistan. He has the capacious heart and soul of an optimist, but the eye of a realist. He is not ashamed to know and show compassion.

The novel has also a lyrical evocation of the lives of its characters. A Thousand Splendid Suns is the hopeful story of two women’s inner lives. Julie Foster writes in Publisher Weekly says that “searing epic…tale is a powerful, harrowing depiction of Afghanistan, but also a lyrical evocation of the lives and enduring hopes of its resilient character. A Thousand Splendid Suns is the powerful and at times violent story of two women’s. The author bewitching narrative captures the intimate details of life in a world where it’s struggle to survive and skillfully inserts this human story into the longer backdrop of recent history” (Foster n.p). Despite all the pain and heartbreak, the novel is never depressing; Hosseini barrels through each grim development unflinchingly, seeking illumination. Kirkus writes about A Thousand Splendid Suns that: “This Afghan-American author follows his debut (The Kite Runner, 2003) with a fine risk-taking novel about two victimized but courageous Afghan women and artistic triumph, and surefire bestseller, for this fearless author” (Kirkus)

Hosseini in the novel describe the suffering and strengths of the female in the Afghan society. They are treated as their lands not as an individual. Huntley Kristine in Booklist praises the novel, calling it: “Unimaginably tragic, Hosseini’s magnificent second novel is a sad and beautiful testament to both Afghani suffering and strength. Readers who lost themselves in The Kite Runner will not want to miss this unforgettable follow-up.” (Kristine n.p) Hosseini told through the alternating voices of two women, the story spans the turbulent period from the 1970s to post-9/11. The multigenerational story is set mainly in the city of Kabul, Hosseini’s birthplace. Afghanistan and its culture are as integral to the story as the relationship between the two women, Mariam and Laila, and their abusive husband, Rashid. San Francisco published the article: Women’s fate entwine as Afghanistan spirals into war says that “Hosseini revisits Afghanistan for a compelling story that gives voice to the agonies and hopes of another group of innocents caught up in a war….Mesmerizing…A Thousand Splendid Suns is the painful, and at times violent, yet ultimately hopeful stories of two women’s inner lives. Hosseini’s bewitching narrative captures the intimate details of life in a world where it’s a struggle to survive, skillfully inserting this human story into the larger backdrop of recent history” (Foster n.p).

Hosseini writes beautifully but question the very optimistic and cheery ending of the novel. Hosseini now felt drawn to tell a contemporaneous story about Afghanistan’s women. The brilliant result is A Thousand Splendid Suns, a novel about two women protagonists, Mariam and Laila. The trajectory of their lives forms the double plot of the book, and although the narrative is in the third person, the point of view itself shifts to that of the character whose plotline is being developed. London Guardian published an article Behind the Veil. As the rains return, the cinemas open, the children play and the orphanages are rebuilt, the reader cannot help but feel that Hosseini’s understandable longing for a beautiful return to life for the oppressed people of Afghanistan has made for an ending that is just a little flimsy (Cousineau 2010).

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a gripping tale of physical and psychological violence, of extremes of hope and despair. It is, too, a powerful portrait of female suffering and endurance under the Taliban. Ultimately, this novel lacks some of the fine shading of The Kite Runner, but it is equally memorable. Cheryll Reed writes in the Chicago Sun-Times that “The violence is as graphic as you would expect in any book that details the atrocities of war…. More than likely, A Thousand Splendid Suns will tear at your heart and make you better understand the legacy of violence our soldiers are fighting against in Afghanistan” (Reed 2). Hosseini successfully evokes his female characters inner lives––not an easy feat for a male author––while a few observed that Mariam and Laila fail to resonate emotionally. Yvonne Zipp published an article in Christian Science Monitor says that “The fact that Hosseini began by thinking of his main characters as ‘other’––to the extent of wondering ‘about their inner lives, whether they had ever had girlish dreams’––is a huge hurdle…. If A Thousand Splendid Suns is a little shaky as a work of literature, at least a reader feels that Hosseini has more at stake than where the book ends up on the bestseller list” (Zipp 13).

The purpose of taking up this topic is that it gives a fresh angle to the study of shadow of oppression and violence through Fanon’s theory of violence psychology.

3. Research Methodology

This paper explores the violence as a tool of aggression and resistance. A certain method has been used to jot down this research work and that method is called qualitative methodology. The primary source for this research paper is the actual text of the novel while the secondary sources are internet, critical books and essays by different writers, news articles and journals. This research paper is divided into five chapters.

Chapter # 1 introduces the topic and anticipates the scope of writer’s writing.

Chapter # 2 is of literature review which has critical analysis of the writer.

            Chapter # 3 contains the violence as a tool of aggression.

Chapter # 4 contains the violence as a tool of resistance by applying the theory of violence psychology by Frantz Fanon.

Last chapter, chapter # 5, of the research paper is conclusive in nature which gives the sense of the Research query having been answered.

4. Violence as a Tool of Aggression

Khaled Hosseini is able to attract his readers by exposing the reality of female oppression and violence in an Afghan society. Throughout the novel, there are four females who allow readers a glimpse of the struggle they had to endure each and every day. Nana, Mariam, Laila, and Aziza enable the reader to develop an understanding of the way life was for them. It was a life of chaos, hardships, oppression, violence, and war that destroyed their normal way of life. Fanon’s concern is not about showing compliance with the universal norms, but to repel the oppressor through violence as a cathartic liberation of the soul. Violence and oppression against women is not a new thing for centuries. Khaled Hosseini shows women as the main victims in the male society, which are oppressed by the male oppressors. Women are treated rudely and they had been considered as useless and inferior being by their family and society. Similarly, J. M. Coetzee’s In the Heart of the Country, Magda hopes to reinterpret the physical solidarity shared between human beings: “I am pressed but not possessed, I am pierced but my core is not touched.” (Coetzee 16)

The heroines like Mariam and Laila break free from the shackles of oppression, with no sense of guilt, no sense of remorse and this is what Fanon’s concern of the true liberation of self from the self. According to Fanon, the colonial subject is ‘dehumanized’ by colonialism to such an extent that ‘it turns him into an animal’ (Fanon 42). It then becomes natural for the colonizer to deploy violence in the colonial context because the dehumanized colonial subject will not respond to anything else. In the preface of The Wretched of the Earth, Sartre usefully summarizes Fanon’s analysis of violence and situates it within musicalized discourse by stating that: “The native cures himself of colonial neurosis by thrusting out the settler through force of arms” (Fanon 21).

In all of Fanon’s works, the physical and human cost of violence is made present. Expressing frustration he notes that when: “the native is tortured…he complains to no one” (Fanon 92). This is the attitude of the Afghan women, presented in the novel, that they were mistreated by the dominating male members of the family but they complain to no one because they had no right to complain against men in that society. As Fanon views violence as the currency of colonialism, it becomes an omnipresent feature of daily life of the colonial subject.  As I have already mentioned in the previous chapters, I am going to explore this act of violence in Mariam and Laila’s character, the protagonists of the novel, by applying the theory of violence psychology by Fanon. I have chosen violence as a tool of aggression and resistance for my research topic as I discussed in the previous chapters, but in this chapter I am going to explain violence as a tool of aggression in the characters of the novel.

Mariam and Laila were abused and mistreated by their husband, Rasheed. The only thing that got them through the day was the thought of providing a better life for their children. Aziza and Zalmai are what give Laila and Mariam the strength to persist in a society that is against them. Mariam was brought up in isolation, living in a small kolba with her mother, Nana (Adhisti 2010). The only others in her life were her father, Jalil, and a few towns people that came to visit, the most special being Mullah Faizullah with whom Mariam had a special bond. Mariam was a harami or bastard, and her mother never missed a chance to remind her of this “At the time, Mariam did not understand. She did not know what this word harami –– bastard ––meant… Later, when she was older, Mariam did understand… that a harami was an unwanted thing; that she, Mariam, was an illegitimate person who would never have legitimate claim to the things other people had, things such as love, family, home, acceptance” (Hosseini 4).

When it came to Mariam’s father, Nana always told her that he did not truly care about her although he showered her with gifts and brought her bliss. Behind closed doors Jalil was her father, but he had an image to uphold so their relationship never went outside of the kolba. Nana reminded Mariam constantly of Jalil’s wrongdoings and told her she was unloved and not wanted. She told Mariam how Jalil had blamed her for Mariam, that she forced herself on him. She engraved the message in her brain that: “Like a compass needle that points north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman. Always.” (Hosseini 7) Although Mariam denied what her mother continuously told her, she would eventually realize that this statement was the truth. Mariam, however, acknowledges that her father is powerful and wealthy man and he is able to use his power for or against them as he sees fit: “Only one skill. And it’s this: tahamul. Endure.” (Hosseini 17)

This quote was said to Mariam by Nana, when Mariam asks if she can attend school. Nana laughs and says that the only skill women need is to be able to endure life and they do not teach this skill in school. She goes on to say how there is no need for school and says, because of this word, she felt worthless. Nana constantly made this statement a reality by stating that: “There is nothing out there for her. Nothing but rejection and heartache.” (Hosseini 18) When Mullah Faizullah told Nana that Mariam wanted to go to school, Nana made Mariam believe that she would always be seen as filthy harami and would go nowhere in life. Her fate was already decided for her according to her mother’s and society’s terms. Mariam was raised with this idea that she was of no value and would never live a normal life or find happiness and it carried on into her future: “It’s our lot in life, Mariam. Women like us. We endure. It’s all we have… There is nothing out there for here.” (Hosseini 18)

Nana takes her anger out on Mariam, who is blamed for the mistakes of her life. Mariam is mostly meek, obedient, and submissive who is all the time being ruled by her husband and her father. He treats her like a possession: “Of all the daughters I could have had, why did God give me an ungrateful one like you? Everything I endured for you…What a stupid girl you are!” (Hosseini 26) Even though Nana has had a hard life filled with many struggles, it is still not an excuse to treat a child like this. Mariam realizes her mother’s life is not the life she wanted and she is sick of Nana blaming her for everything (Evans 2012). She feels like Nana purposely does not want her to be happy because of everything she has put Nana through: “You don’t want a good life for me. You’re the one with the wretched heart.” (Hosseini 27)

Mariam just wants to be loved. She wants to feel the way she does when her father Jalil comes to visit all the time and not just while he is there. The struggle to be loved by her father was a major part of Mariam’s childhood. He was the epitome of the life she dreamed of. She looked forward to his visits and worshipped him. He was the best dad she could have asked for, until he abandons her in the most hurtful way in order to save his name. Nana hanged herself because Mariam wanted to spend her life with her father. Mariam cannot help but blame herself for her mother’s actions, and when she needs love the most, Jalil sends her off to be married. He wants no part of her. Mariam begs and pleads to stay but Jalil is a coward and does not say anything. Little does he know, is that sending Mariam off to marry Rasheed would probably be the worst mistake of his life.

Mariam soon realizes that everything bitter Nana said towards Jalil was true. If only she had realized this sooner, then she could have saved Nana from committing suicide. Nana may not get the mother of the year award she was all Mariam had, and after she was dead Mariam realizes how much she really did love her mother. The struggles Mariam endures mainly occur throughout her marriage to Rasheed, a man much older than her. Throughout the marriage, Mariam is exposed to the power a male has over his wife. She now understands the dominance that Nana had always warned her of. Mariam conforms to Rasheed’s ways and to the image he wants for all Afghan women. She endures what she has too, wears the burqa Rasheed purchased for her, cleans the house, and obeys every command she is told (Gunjate 2012).

In Rasheed’s eyes, Mariam is seen as a sex object, but after she fails to conceive multiple times, she is seen as a failure. The disappointment from Rasheed causes Mariam to blame herself for not being able to get pregnant. From this point on in their relationship, everything Mariam does is wrong in Rasheed’s opinion and she must put up with his abuse and anger. Rasheed ignores her, does not make conversation, and gets upset at the tiniest of things. If his food is not the way he likes, she is beaten, if she does not do what he wants, she is beaten “There was always something, some minor thing that would infuriate him, because no matter what she did to please him, no matter how thoroughly she submitted to his wants and demands, it wasn’t enough…she was nothing but a burden to him” (Hosseini 90).

Mariam was forced to struggle with his abusive ways and the feeling of being unloved. She was mostly seen as a meek, obedient and submissive wife who is all the time being ruled by her husband. He treats her like a possession that is in a way a psychological violence: “His powerful hands clasped her jaw. He shoved two fingers into her mouth and pried it open, then forced the cold, hard pebbles into it. Mariam struggled against him, mumbling, but he kept pushing the pebbles in, his upper lip curled in a sneer… Tears were leaking out of the corners of her eyes. ‘CHEW!’ he bellowed. Mariam chewed. Something in the back of her mouth cracked…he was gone, leaving Mariam to spit out pebbles, blood, and the fragments of two broken molars” (Hosseini 94).

In this quotation, the harshness of tone and words shows the bitterness of context or the situation. Mariam once could not make an appropriate food for Rasheed and he gives her this punishment to make her realize that the taste of food she made for him. There is so much anger and rage behind the actions of Rasheed against the oppressor, Mariam, in this context. Here, by this quotation, the violent and aggressive behaviour of male character against female is also what takes us towards feminism. It also shows the submissive and weak position of a woman in Afghan society. In spite of all these circumstances, the character of Mariam appears as an important role because the action is taking on her in the narrative, and this is because without the oppressed, the power of an oppressor has no significance. So the power of an oppressor is appeared as dependency on the oppressed one. Hence, the narrative gives power to Mariam because the readers heartedly have sympathy for her.

Another main protagonist of the novel is Laila who is raised as a lucky girl as she has parents who love her as a precious one for them and also has the right to go to the school in the same society where Mariam has no right to get education. Laila is also lucky because she has friends at school and also has a boyfriend, named Tariq, whom she loves by heart and soul and also receives the same passion of love from his side. The above situation represents as she is the happiest woman in the world but she has a tragedy in her life that she loses her elder brothers in her childhood and later, in the novel, she also meets so many tragedies in her life like Mariam (Rahayu 2011). The death of her brothers leaves the impact on her mother and she is always living in mourning and she is also angry with Laila’s father, Babi, as in the flashback of Laila, in a fight between her parents, she says: “That’s your business, isn’t it, cousin? To make nothing your business. Even your own sons going to war. How I pleaded with you. But you buried your nose in those cursed books and let our sons go like they were a pair of haramis” (Hosseini 100).

From this quotation, we can perceive how much anger is evident in the speech of Laila’s mother. A notable thing here is that not all women in Afghan society are in the submissive position like Mariam. But, some women are like Laila’s mother who can raise their voice against their miseries. The word ‘war’ here is sketching the political history of Afghanistan in that period of time. The whole world knows that the political condition of Afghanistan, in the previous century, was brutal and violent but these lines of the novel explore and identify the impacts of war on the citizens of the country. People were stuck during this violent period of war in Afghanistan. The mothers, like Laila’s mother, were losing their sons because of this war time.

The most important and notable thing here is that Laila’s mother shows anger against a man, her husband. It means that in the Afghan society where men like Rasheed live, some men like Babi also live in that same society who are kind and give respect to their wives and also gives them the right to lament and to complain for their miseries and mishappenings to their husbands. The word ‘harami’ in the novel always has an aggressive tone. First, in the start of the novel, we see this word was associated with the anger from the society. But, here, the word shows a mother’s anger against her husband for losing her sons in the war. Laila spends a peaceful childhood but when she arrives to the teenage, the political condition of the country is turned violent. War that started near the Afghani borders has erupted in Kabul and it disturbs the civilian’s life. One summer day, a rocket kills Laila’s good friend, Giti: “Giti was walking home from school with two classmates. Only three blocks from Giti’s house, a stray rocket struck the girls. Later that terrible day, Laila learned that Nila, Giti’s mother, had run up and down the street where Giti was killed, collecting pieces of her daughter’s flesh in an apron, screeching hysterically. Giti’s decomposing right foot, still in its nylon sock and purple sneaker, would be found on a rooftop two weeks later” (Hosseini 161).

After this the political condition of the country goes worse to worse. Civilians have to move to the other areas which are safe for them. Most of the people begin to move to Pakistan even Tariq’s family also moves to Pakistan. When Laila’s family decides to move Pakistan, unfortunately, their house is blown up: “Something hot and powerful slammed into her from behind. It knocked her out of her sandals. Lifted her up. And now she was flying, twisting, and rotating in the air, seeing sky, then earth, then sky, then earth. A big burning chunk of wood whipped by. So did a thousand shards of glass, and it seemed to Laila that she could see each individual one flying all around her, flipping slowly end over end, the sunlight catching in each. Tiny, beautiful rainbows” (Hosseini 173-174).

At this moment, Laila loses her parents and her cheerful life comes to an end. The hardships of Laila’s life start after this event. Rasheed and Mariam nurse Laila back to health and after she recovers, a stranger, Abdul Sharif brings her news that Tariq has died. Devastated and realizing she is pregnant with Tariq’s child, Laila agrees to marry Rasheed. Rasheed puts on a show of compassion and kindness in the beginning, but then his manipulative nature emerges fully after the marriage when they settle into a routine. However, after Laila gives birth to a daughter, Aziza, the women come to see themselves as allies against Rasheed’s abusive, manipulative ways. Day to day, Mariam and Laila bear the oppression they are faced with. They feel worthless and when they do something wrong they must apologize (Ratnaningsih 2009).

Through Mariam and Laila have carefully plotted a plan before they bring Aziza out of the house, it still leaves high level of anxiety. Those are the fear of being noticed by Rasheed that they are fleeing away and the fear of being busted by Sharia police (Neupane 231-235). Then indeed, the fact is that finally officer thanks to a man who has affected helping their getaway handles them. Eventually, Mariam and Laila are sent home and handed to Rasheed to make them pay their ill-fated effort. Rasheed’s high level physical aggression is all the cost.” Laila didn’t see the punch coming. One moment she was talking and the next she was on all fours, wide-eyed and red faced, trying to draw a breath. It was as if a car had hit her at full speed, in the tender place between the lower tip of breastbone and the belly button. She realized she had dropped Aziza, that Aziza was screaming. She tried to breathe again and could only make a husky, choking sound. Dribble hung from her mouth” (Hosseini 239-240).

It is still continuing that Rasheed seems to accumulate all his efforts to make the torture on Mariam worse. Briefly after repeating sound of battering with no screaming even pleading from Mariam, Laila witnesses Rasheed dragging Mariam into the tool shed. “Mariam was barefoot and doubled over. There was blood on his hands, blood on Mariam’s face, her hair, down her neck and back. Her shirt had been ripped down the front.” (Hosseini 240) Rasheed then locks Mariam in the tool shed while Laila and Aziza in a light-closed room and deprives them from food and water for four days. Finishing those all dying punishment he warps it by uttering word of threat that if she does it again he will surely punish her again starting from Mariam, then Aziza and finally Laila herself. “I’ll make you watch… And, with that, he left the room. But not before delivering a kick to the flank that would have Laila pissing blood for days.” (Hosseini 243)

In opposition to Zalmai, Aziza turns in her own fate as unlucky since Rasheed insists to have Laila sent her to be a beggar in one mosque – that later will be an orphanage instead. Since Laila refuses to agree, Rasheed then without much doubt unleashes his anger in the form of physical force. “Laila did not notice that Rasheed was back in the room. Until his hand was around her throat. Until she was lifted off her feet and slammed against the wall. Up close, this sneering face seemed impossibly large. Laila noticed how much puffier it was getting with age, how many more broken vessels charted tiny paths on his nose. Rasheed didn’t say anything. And, really, what could be said, what needed saying, when you’d shoved the barrel of your gun into your wife’s mouth” (Hosseini 267).

Rasheed’s economic condition is worsening contributed by his burning shoes shop, and also betting fired from some jobs like kebab restaurant and others. These situations also come as one of supplies of Rasheed abusive behaviour that is increasing in quantity. “After the fire, Rasheed was home almost every day. He slapped Aziza. He kicked Mariam. He threw things. He found fault with Laila, the way she smelled, the way she dressed, the way she combed her hair, her yellowing teeth” (Hosseini, 297). Another instance of his aggression is: “And then he was on Laila, pummeling her chest, her head, her belly with fist, tearing at her hair, throwing her to the wall…He went on kicking, kicking Mariam now, spittle flying from his mouth, his eyes glittering with murderous intent, kicking until he could ‘t anymore” (Hosseini 272).

Learning that Laila has met with Tariq at his back from Zalmai, Rasheed is very angry. Rasheed responds it with “Well, what do you know? Laila and Majnoon reunited. Just like old time.” (Hosseini 300) Then Rasheed gradually asks his boy the more detailed explanation. Soon after she considers it has been clear enough he releases his anger in merciless attack toward Laila after escorting his boy to go upstairs locking all doors and unbuckle his belt to put it on his knuckles. “Without saying a word, he swung the belt at Laila. He did it with such speed that she had no time to retreat or duck, or even raise a protective arm. Laila touched her fingers to her temple, looked at the blood, looked at Rasheed, with astonishment….Rasheed swung the belt again …He caught her, threw her up against the wall, and struck her with the belt again, the buckle slamming against her chest, her shoulder, her raised arms, her fingers, drawing blood wherever it struck” (Hosseini 308-309).

It ends with the murder of Rasheed by Mariam, when she hits the shovel on Rasheed to save Laila. Rasheed’s aggression against his wives both psychologically and physically can be seen by his behaviour. The recorded psychological aggressions are keeping silent towards Mariam, using harsh tone to Mariam, faulting Mariam’s cooking, hurting Mariam to marry Laila, undervaluing Mariam in front of Laila, unjust faulting towards Mariam when Laila gets problems, etc. Rasheed’s physical aggressions are:

  1. Physically insulting Mariam after repeatedly faulting her cooking
  2. Severely punishing both Mariam and Laila over leaving the house
  3. Being more abusive towards his wives Laila and Mariam as well as daughter Aziza.

The outline of Rasheed’s aggression over his wives was reviewed from chapter to chapter in parallel with the development of the plot storied. From that in-depth study, it was noted that aggression of Rasheed tends to grow bigger and bigger in terms of intensity and quality that usually evolves from psychological to physical aggression.     

5. Violence as a Tool of Resistance

In the previous chapter, violence is described as tool of aggression through the novel, now in this chapter, violence will be found as a tool of resistance. Scientifically, resistance is the opposition that a substance offers to the flow of electric current. Hence, resistance is actually the reversal or the reaction of something and if it is a tool of violence, then, it means that it is a violent reaction to something. According to Fanon, violence out of violence is the only way to liberate the self. He argues that violence is actually the ‘natural state’ of the colonizers and colonized men should fight with them only through the language of violence, because they only speak and understood the language of violence (Faith 2011).

In this chapter, we are going to discuss the women reaction towards the male dominant society and their fight for their rights and for their liberation through the novel A Thousand Splendid Suns. The inequality between men and women can be obviously observed in the society, in which patriarchal system allows the men to have the power and control towards women. Even, man’s inhumanity towards woman is made justifiable by the government. In fact, Afghanistan government had their fair share in inhumanity. Because of the chaos occurring in the country, the people of Afghanistan believe that the practice of inhumanity is possible. People treat other people with little respect. Rasheed can even beat Mariam and Laila to a pulp with no consequences due to the lack of support for women by the government. For example on questioning of Laila about law and maintaining order, Officer Rehman says: “As a matter of policy, we do not interfere with private family matters, hamshira.” (Hosseini 238)

This shows the difference between men and women and how the Taliban put more restrictions on women than on men, as we can see the strict rules by them for women:

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.

You will not, under any circumstance, show your face. You will cover with burqa 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 closed immediately.

Women are forbidden from working.

If you are found guilty of adultery, you will be stoned to death (Hosseini 248-249).

Despite the lack of government support, Mariam and Laila try to resist the victimization of women and display endurance to challenges. It causes women constantly must fight for their rights and do struggle to survive. But, in the meantime, some of them are converted in the psychological defects and finally they are forced to commit suicide, like Nana. The ‘jinn’ in the body of Nana, Mariam’s mother, represent her psychological defect, in fact. The condition when the ‘jinn’ enter in her body is described in the novel as: “Nana collapsing suddenly, her body tightening, becoming rigid, her eyes rolling back, her arms and legs shaking as if something were throttling her from the inside, the froth at the corners of her mouth, white, sometimes pink with blood. Then the drowsiness, the frightening disorientation, the incoherent mumbling”, (Hosseini 10).

Something uncontrollable that hurts her violently can observe through this piece of text. The uncontrollable condition of Nana is somewhere associated with Jane Eyre’s Bertha Mason, which is called as ‘The Madwoman’ after the thesis of The Madwoman in the Attic by Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar. “She is an ominous character, full of uncontrollable passion, violence, sensuality, and madness, almost bestial in her behaviour.” (Rogers 3) Nana and Bertha both are alienated women from the society by the male dominance or the male oppression. Both are facing mental illness and psychological defects and both finish themselves by committing suicide but cannot do anything for their rights and for their liberation because the patriarchal system was so much powerful in the societies of both women.

First time in the novel, the woman appears as lamenting or having an aggressive tone against a man is Laila’s mother. She has the courage to raise the question about her miseries against a man in that same patriarchal society as she questions about her dead sons against her husband as follows: “That’s your business, isn’t it, cousin? To make nothing your business. Even your own sons going to war. How I pleaded with you. But you buried your nose in those cursed books and let our sons go like they were a pair of haramis” (Hosseini 100). But her circumstances are slightly different because Laila’s father, Babi, is appeared as a kind and educated person who allows his women to get education (Accad 1992).

Khala Rangmaal, real name is Shanzai but her students, at her back, calls her as Khala Rangmaal, sometimes calls Laila by a nick name ‘Inqilabi Girl’ which means ‘revolutionary Girl’. This name foreshadows her courage of wanting a change in her life or in her city.  Laila is the leading role who wants to change her life after her marriage with Rasheed and under the same circumstances in which Mariam is living. Mariam bears Rasheed for several years but never think about to get rid of him. In spite, she always wants to please him by every possible source but he never pleases on her and always treats her as an inferior and as if she is the thing, such a hateful thing. Laila is the girl who has the stomach to take action to get rid of him and take a risk of elopement as: “She hid the money in a pouch she’d sewn in the lining of her checkered winter coat…Laila hoped to have a thousand afghanis or more…half of which would go to the bus fare from Kabul to Peshawar….her wedding ring…as well as the other jewelry” (Hosseini 221).

Laila saves all these things as planning for her elopement from Rasheed’s house, or perhaps from that country or that society where patriarchal system is imposed. The Inqilabi Girl is appeared as a brave girl since her young age as she has the courage to warn the boys who fleer on her in the street, like Khadim, as once he mocks her in the street and says: “You’re so very pretty, Yellow Hair. I want to marry you.’ and then waved the gun at her and said, ‘Don’t worry…This won’t show. Not on your hair.’ Laila replies her in a warning tone as: ‘Don’t you do it! I’m warning you.” (Hosseini 105) Throughout the novel, there are several examples of physical abuse but Laila always has courage in her attitude and behaviour. The one of the more extreme ones being in chapter 40 when Rasheed tries to turns Aziza, Laila and Tariq’s mutual daughter, into a beggar so she could get money for the family. After Laila snapped and said no to Rasheed’s idea, he physically abused her by slapping her across the face to show that she cannot raise her voice in front of him. “The slap made a loud smacking sound, the palm of his thick-fingered hand connecting squarely with the meat of Laila’s cheek. It made her head whip around. It silenced the noises from the kitchen. For a moment, the house was perfectly quiet” (Hosseini 266).

But the most important and noticeable thing here is the reaction of Laila as: “Then Laila punched him. It was the first time she’d struck anybody,…Laila watched the arch of her closed fist,…It made a sound like dropping a rice bage to the floor. She hit him hard. The impact actually made him stagger two steps backward” (Hosseini 266-267). Laila is always a courageous and brave, Inqilabi Girl who can show resistance in her actions against this patriarchal system. Laila gave birth to her son Zalmai in an unfavorable environment. Although being mistreated by the society and her husband, Laila still gave in everything to make sure that she gives birth to her child. This has shown the inner strength of women.

Mariam, Laila and Rasheed join a crowd rushing the nearest hospital as Laila has gone into labour. The Taliban officials guarding the door tell the group that: “This hospital no longer treats women.” (Hosseini 254) They inform them that there is only one hospital for women, Rabia Balkhi. When one member of the crowd shouts that there are no resources at that hospital, the Taliban soldiers shrug off the protest and threaten the crowd by shooting their guns into the air. At Rabia Balkhi, Mariam tries to get help for Laila. Joining the mob of wounded and upset women, Mariam asks a nurse for help and the nurse tells her to wait. They wait most of the day. Finally, when they are brought to a dirty delivery room, the female doctor working informs Mariam and Laila that the baby is breeched and they will need to perform a caesarian. Mariam is horrified to hear that Laila will have to undergo the operation without anesthesia.

The kind-hearted doctor removes her burqa to perform the surgery, having one of the nurses stand guard while she does so. The procedure begins and Laila fights the urge to scream as long as she can. Through these women’s ability to work together, Hosseini shows that hope exists by elevating women rather than degrading them. Mariam’s behaviour with Laila after Rasheed and Laila’s marriage is also some kind reaction against her miseries. She has to share her husband with another woman and this is the fault of Rasheed more than Laila but Mariam cannot say anything to Rasheed so she behaves rudely with Laila. Mariam has so much anger in her inner self against Rasheed from the start but she cannot do anything. Once she thinks and questions to herself that: “Had she been a deceitful wife? She asked herself. A complacent wife? A dishonorable wife? Discreditable? Vulgar? What harmful thing had she willfully done to this man to warrant his malice, his continual assaults, the relish with which he tormented her? Had she not looked after him when he was ill? Fed him, and his friends, cleaned up after him dutifully” (Hosseini 309).

So many complaints she has against Rasheed but she can only questions to herself because she has no right to complain with him about her miseries. The word ‘this man’ here shows the anger of Mariam against Rasheed. After her friendship to Laila, this Revolutionary Girl is now becomes like a daughter to Mariam and she loves her and her children very much. When Tariq comes to meet Laila, Mariam arranges their meeting on the upper floor of the house. In the evening, Rasheed comes to know about Laila’s meeting with Tariq and he starts beating Laila. He is beating and beating her badly and Mariam cannot bear it. “She went to stop him, but he shoved her back.” (Hosseini 308)

Rasheed is continuously beating Laila badly and Maraim tries to save her from him but she cannot so powerful to stop him. Mariam thinks that he is now trying to kill Laila because he carries her at her neck so tightly. Mariam goes out of the room and comes with shovel. “Mariam steadied her feet and tightened her grip around the shovel’s handle. She raised it. She said his name. She wanted him to see…Mariam raised the shovel high, raised it as high as she could, arching it so it touched the small of her back. She turned it so the sharp edge was vertical, and, as she did, it occurred to her that this was the first time that she was deciding the course of her own life. And, with that, Mariam brought down the shovel. This time, she gave it everything she had” (Hosseini 311).

First of all, Fanon’s theory of violence out of violence is appeared in this quotation, very first time in the novel. Fanon believes that the oppressors rule upon oppressed and create new form of government upon them only through violence. So, according to Fanon, they only can understand the language of violence and oppressed people should talk to them in the same language, through which they becomes able to rule upon them. Here, in this context of the novel, Mariam appeared as following this concept of violence. She understood that she cannot change Rasheed or cannot change her life through her submissive position nor she can do this through any polite way. So, finally at this moment she suddenly decides to take a violent action for liberation and kills Rasheed (Bulhan 2004).

This is the first violent action of the oppressed one, Mariam, against the oppressor, Rasheed. Also, this is the last action of the oppressed because Mariam kills Rasheed and now she and Laila, both, are free from Rasheed. This liberation is the great achievement for them. After the liberation Laila is free to live with her soul mate and lover, Tariq and Mariam also free for choosing her future according to her self-satisfaction, either to turns herself to Taliban in the case of murder or to live in her kolba once again. The reversal of action appears at the moment when it happens. Always, in the novel, Rasheed is the one who has the authority to take violent action upon his women, but now one of his women take suddenly a violent action upon him and he cannot do anything for his self-defense, as same as, early in the novel, Mariam and Laila cannot do anything for their self-defense (Candraningrum 2018).

Also, it is the reversal of power at the same time. While this action is taken, the power position or the authority suddenly moves from the oppressor to the oppressed one and oppressor moves to submissive position. This situation is somewhere associated with the time of decolonization. At the time of decolonization, the natives were having so much anger and they decided to grt rid of the colonizers. So, they started violent movements and they get freedom from the colonizers only through violence. Here, Mariam is the character, who acts as a native and takes violent action to get rid of her colonizer, Rasheed. Through taking this action, Mariam realized that even she can do this. Even, she can take a step for her and Laila. This realization of the self is also associated with the time of decolonization or with the time of Fanon. The oppressed natives realized that they can liberate themselves from the colonizers when they started the movements of violence (Pope 2008).

In this context, Fanon’s theory is fully applied on the novel. In the whole novel, situation of women is like the colonized people at the time of colonization and at the end the act of decolonization is taken by Mariam and finally they are free from the male oppressors.                                             

6. Conclusion

A nation without a conscience has no future. There are still some rays of hope. We still have a conscience. The findings of my research have shown the severity of the problem, violence and oppression against women. In the case of A Thousand Splendid Suns, Mr. Hosseini quickly makes it clear that it intends to deal with the plight of women in Afghanistan, and in the opening pages, the mother of one of the novel’s two heroines takes portentously about ‘our lot in life,’ the lot of poor uneducated ‘women like us,’ who have to endure the hardships of life, the slight of men, the disdain of society. After the mother commits suicide, the teenage Mariam–the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy man, who is ashamed of her existence–is quickly married off to a much older shoe maker named Rasheed, a piggy brute of a man who says it embarrasses him ‘to see man whose lost control of his wife’ (Shihada 2019).

Rasheed forces Mariam to wear burqa and treats her with ill-disguised contempt subjecting her to scorn, ridicule, insult even ‘walking past her life she was nothing but a house cat’. Violence against women is a pervasive and prevalent problem worldwide affecting physical, social, economic, cultural and legal aspects of women lives. From a cross-cultural perspective, it is shown what needs to be done to confront the violence in women lives. Apart from legislation and women’s consciousness raising, police, hospitals and other institutions need to be sensitized to domestic battering, sexual harassment, female circumcision, and machismo. The lives of millions of women in Pakistan are circumscribed by tradition, which enforced extreme seclusion and submission to men, many of whom enforced with violence, their virtual control as proprietors over women.

For the most part, women bear traditional male control over every aspect of their bodies, speech, and behaviour with stoicism as part of their fate but exposure to media work of women rights groups and independent effort have heralded the beginning of women’s rights awareness seeking into the secluded world of women. The education of women will help not only in protection of their rights but also in their fruitful participation in the labor force and economic activity. Peter Marsden, in his book The Taliban, War, Religion and the New Order in Afghanistan, indicated that the women in Afghanistan have been out of the way in the society and enjoyed no privileges to cooperate with male member outside the family.

The masculine mindset in Afghan society means that the girls have the rights to be wives only and the boys have to be the crown of the families, thus women are burdened all over Afghanistan. Though, Hosseini supports his views about masculine hypocrisy in the disguise of men in patriarchal society. But by admitting as a concrete reality, the society can feel the tinge of falseness behind laws. Though men forbid women to fully avail the opportunities, still there is an idea of transformation that has been depicted trough the character of Odelia Varvaris. She is an embodiment of courage, bravery and is capable of making self-decisions at the right time to move ahead in the society.

The importance of light becomes double when a person is under the sway of darkness of hopelessness and disappointment. Sun imagery is both literal and figurative. Suns and its lights are the representations of the memory. Life is a journey and with the passage of time this journey imprints good and bad memories on human mind. Khaled Hosseini ends his novel on a message of optimism. There is no carnival but there is hope and aspiration for betterment. In the light of sun imagery, transformation is hopeful vision for the future of a nation. It comes in a society by the individual efforts of people who try to challenge the so called conventional standards of inequality in patriarchal societal settings. To avoid it, people must confront their internal guilt, fear, remorse, and regret to get a purified and enlightened self.

There is a sun that resides in human mind which demands human attention. There is a need to have the inherent potential in people to develop their own individual voices and to pursue the complexity of their identity in order to bring about transformation in the society. So, Hosseini critically presents the female suffering and endurance in order to throw light on the patriarchal society, the horrible Taliban regime and the loss of their loved ones. Today, the future of the women of Afghanistan is certain. The mistreatment of women is still very prevalent. Women are still forced into marriages. Marriages still often lead to domestic violence, be it emotional, or physical at the hands of their husbands. Education for women is still controversial, with many schools for girls being destroyed.

All these injustices happening to Afghan women are unacceptable. Martin Luther king said, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”  

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Saliha Huda is an M.Phil Scholar currently enrolled in University of Lahore.
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