“Like a compass needle that always points north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a women. Always you remember that, Mariam. ” In this quote its shows oppression women faced and how they were always blamed for everything because men had the power. The mood is tragic, filled with despair, and very sad; at other times, it is uplifting and hopeful. The tone had very sad moments in this novel, which emphasizes the oppression and hardships the women faced. The hopefulness comes from the women’s actions and ability to continue to persevere towards their freedom.
Women must endure much injustice in patriarchal Afghan society. In Thousand Splendid Suns, the book takes place in warfare. War is what destroys the soul of women in Afghanistan. War leads to women being oppressed in Afghanistan socially, culturally, and politically. The women in the novel are seen as oppressed yet hopeful. Socially Mariam and Laila are faced with oppression publicly in streets, abused, and didn’t receive an education. In the streets women were not to leave the house without a male or they would receive beating and lashes.
When Rasheed tells Mariam “I will follow you to the ends of the world. This shows the oppression that women weren’t allowed to leave a relationship hey had to suffer and suck it up. This shows the misogyny and women shouldn’t be placed behind a male rather beside a male. Mariam was abused the most in this novel. She was physically beaten with belt, forced to eat rocks, and slapped. Rasheed controlled her physically but could not control her soul. “Taliban confiscated stuff, gave a kick to someone’s rear, whacked the back of a head or two but sometimes there were public beatings, lashing of soles and palms”.
Rasheed was not the only one being abused inside the house, but outside women would get beaten and punished for the littlest things. Education is said o be the most powerful thing in society. In this novel, women are told not to get an education because it is not “ladylike” and women should be housewives taking care of children. “Girls were forbidden from attending school. All schools for girls will be closed immediately”.
Education was a threat to male dominance because it empowered women. Laila’s dad says, “a society has no chance of success if its women are uneducated. When her dad tells her this, it proves the power of education for women and its importance in society. Socially women are oppressed in war because of the control the male have over omen in every aspect of their life. Socially war did not give the power to women to speak up for their rights. The culture in this novel is based on the shame of women. Women that were not covered or acting in a certain matter were beaten and killed. Islam is used in this novel but the radical Islam where beliefs are taken by Taliban’s.
In a Thousand Splendid Suns it says that before the Taliban’s came, women were allowed to wear short skirts, have a job, and live a normal life with freedom. “I have customers, Mariam, men, who bring their wives to my shop. These women come uncovered, they talk to me directly, and hey look me in the eyes without shame. They wear makeup and skirts that show their knees. Sometimes they even put their feet in front of me for measurements, and their husbands think nothing of a stranger touching their wives’ bare feet! They think they’re being modern men, intellectuals, on account of their education, I suppose.
They don’t see that they’re spoiling their own nang and namoos, their honor and pride. ” Rasheed says this to Mariam when he wants to protect women by covering them. Likewise he aims to dominate and control them. Rasheed gave these women a bad reputation because hey are not covering up which is a cultural thing. The burqa was not used for religion, instead oppression. The piece of clothing was decided by a man. The burqa was supposed to hide the beauty of women, yet in the novel it is used to control women. Women are shamed for what they wear and how they talk.
Other than the fact that women cannot get an education, somehow they are also not allowed to be doctors. “Man and women would be seen in different hospitals, that all female staff would be discharged from Kabul’s hospitals and sent to work in one central facility”. According to the Taliban culture they do not llow female to work in the capital city hospital and not give birth there because they do not want males and females mixed in once place. Marriage at a young age and marrying more than one wife was a cultural thing that treating them differently is also another way that leads to women hating each other.
Rasheed say that Mariam is a trusty Volga automobile while Laila equates to a Mercedes Benz one that requires special care. At the end they both get beaten and abused the same way by Rasheed. Mariam psychological journey is mostly based on gender based culture. The culture oppression on women shows he human experience for their survival throughout the novel. Women had to cover up when the war happened, were shamed, and their freedom and basic human rights were taken away from them. The women do not have a say in politics and cannot make political decisions.
They do not want women in government because they want men to always be in power and they did not want to lose that status to women. The women are faced with the consequences of the political decisions of men resulting in war. Women cannot vote nor have a voice in politics. They have to sit and endure everything that’s going on. “You try this again nd I will find you. And, when I do, there isn’t a court in this godforsaken country that will hold me accountable for what I will do. ” This shows that the legal system at the time was also corrupted because women could not look for support legally.
Rasheed was threating Mariam id she thinks of running away he will not be accountable for killing her. “God has made us differently, you women and us men. Our brains are different. You are not able to think like we can. Western doctors and their science have proven this. This is why we require only one male witness but two female ones. ” In court, two women were equal o one male. You can see that women were untrusted or not believable according to sharia law that Taliban practice. In this quote the Taliban judge is speaking on behalf of Mariam case he expresses that woman inferior to men.
Meet our real masters, the Taliban are puppets. These are the big players and Afghanistan is their playground”. This quote is when Rasheed is talking to Mariam, praising the Taliban and saying Taliban’s are doing good for Afghanistan. Rasheed would of course love the Taliban because they give more power to men and oppress women. Hamida Ghafour speaks about Sexual politics between en and women. Afghan women cannot make political decisions, even though they end up facing the consequences. He also speaks about War on terror; the country is facing terrorism that is destroying the country and Islamic religion.
He also says “Unable to control the chaos outside” this chaos has to do with the effect on the war, but it’s not just the outside that there is chaos also inside the house with all the disagreements and abuse. The critic also connects to the Kabul beauty school saying this program teaches women to be more economically independent which can help many women that need that power o live life. I strongly agree with that fact in many developing nations women don’t have a say in the government, which is really important because no voice means you will be oppressed and marginalized.
Chua talks about the Lifestyle of Afghan women the struggles they face in the west and their own country being an immigrant and oppressed. He states also the different privileges of middle class vs lower class. For example Laila Is from the middle class she educated and has great parents that are supportive while Mariam is from the lower class not very educated therefore treated worse than Laila. Another heme mentioned, which I also agree with is Fate vs free will when he says “fate is to become co wives of the same misogynistic, brutal man”.
This shows that fate is a character that doesn’t trust women and makes them suffer yet some of the character gets out of their fate like Laila that ends up living her life with Tariq and her kids. The critic also speaks about that educated women are threat that why the Taliban’s and men that are too culturally don’t want their women learning because it’s a threat to the males power and status. Many of the critic’s opinions I agree with and can relate to it as I was reading the ovel, including the one about education for women is a threat to men including cultural man that don’t women to be empowered.
Lousia says that relationship of the women and abusive husband, which makes it’s a violent story. For example, when Rasheed gives Mariam stones to eat and then starts slapping her I personally could imagine this happening like it’s a real life scenario. The critic also thinks Oppression in the Islamic belief about the burqa. I disagree with this idea I don’t think the author trying to show how oppressive the religion instead trying to show how the culture is so embedded that it’s practiced as an xcuse for a religion.
Another aspect of these characters is Shame leads to destroy their soul, I agree with this because for example, Mariam leaves her mother where then she then kills herself, and then the author tells us the shame Mariam went through which resulted her to marry Rasheed. This novel was very relatable because coming from a Muslim woman perceptive I personally think that in many Muslim countries that are at war we see women suffering spiritually and physically. I’m from Iraq a country that is currently fighting ISIS just like Taliban’s they both have the same ideology. In Isis-controlled reas of Iraq and Syria, women are treated as property.
They are beaten, whipped and killed as punishment for a range of crimes. ” Women in Iraq are treated as property that’s because the environment is warfare with the Iraqi military and ISIS. There is a lot of corruption political because no one is following the legal system. Isis also shut down all the women clinics and restricts men and women in the same hospital. As Muslim women I don’t think that this is a religious crisis it’s more of a cultural crisis because there ideology is based mostly on the culture of Islam not the religion.
This is true because we see countries like Jordon, Qatar, and UAE that are Islamic countries but their women are allowed to have education, allowed to go out, and wear what they want. In war we see that misogyny is practiced by the males to destroy women. In conclusion, War is one external conflict because it is something that is happening on the outside, but it affects them psychologically. The conflict brought horror and fear upon the people, but the war affected every aspect of their life by making extreme choices.
Many children lost their parents and the only choice was to go get married at a young age to survive just like Laila. The war also affected them because they lost hope in humanity because they wanted to leave the country and didn’t have faith in it would get better. Men treat women like objects. Women have to cover and can’t leave anywhere without a man it shows the control that man had over women the lack of rights women had. One more internal conflict is the survival of the soul when dealing with oppression and stress faced in the novel. War gives women more oppression, trauma, and abuse.