A Thousand Splendid Suns- Cultural Arts Review

Posted on October 7, 2013 by


The media can portray religions very differently than what they actually are. Whether religions are described in movies, books, the news, or on a television show, religion is viewed in many different ways. Some media resources display religion very well and accurate, but some media resources do not. In the novel A Thousand Splendid Suns written by Khaled Hosseini, Hosseini writes a very dramatic and inspiring story about Muslim women. Hosseini writes about Afghan women during the Afghan Civil War and rise of the Taliban Government. He writes a fiction tale about two women and how society discriminated against these Afghan women. A Thousand Splendid Suns was published in 2008, but I most recently read this book this past summer. Muslims have created many stereotypes throughout the world due to past events and the way Muslims are portrayed through the media. A Thousand Splendid Suns has a very powerful plot and describes the life of Muslim women very well and very realistically.

Muslim women are treated very differently in Afghanistan than American women are treated. Muslim women are meant to serve their husbands. They are supposed to stay home and clean, cook, and mend the house. American women were treated this way in earlier years, but women in America today play a major role in society. Hosseini’s novel displays these ideas very clearly. In his story, he portrays two women married to a man, Rasheed. Rasheed is very abusive and rude to his wives. Rasheed is described as an extremist and his two wives Laila and Mariam, are abused and discriminated against constantly. The story takes place during the Afghanistan Civil War, and the Taliban are trying to take over Kabul, which is where Rasheed, Laila, and Mariam live. Laila and Mariam become very close friends and eventually kill Rasheed because of his abusiveness. Mariam takes blame for this crime and helps Laila run away because Laila is much younger than Mariam. Mariam is tried, and sentenced to death because of her actions.

In the story, Mariam and Laila are simply Rasheed’s slaves. Laila and Mariam are also required to have wear burqa’s at all time in public because of Rasheed’s command. Rasheed is very conservative and is also very religious. Rasheed does a lot of praying, and constantly orders Laila and Mariam to do the same. Laila and Mariam are constantly serving Rasheed to the best of their ability. This is the more traditional lifestyle of Muslim women. Throughout time women have gained more rights, but the story’s time is set in the 1990s. During this time women still were fighting for their rights and they continue to fight for their rights today.

 In Hosseini’s novel, he does very well describing the way Muslim women are treated. Hosseini himself used to live in Afghanistan and has experienced the way women are treated personally. Although the book is fiction, Hosseini’s story is very realistic. Hosseini does a good job explaining and writing accurate information about Muslim women. Even though the women are treated worse than most, Hosseini is very honest and precise in his story.

Hosseini’s novel also strives for people to have empathy for Afghanistan. The story clearly demonstrates the struggles of everyday Afghans, and their living conditions during the civil war. The book describes horrific scenes describing the civil war and how the Taliban came into power. Hosseini’s story is truly one that shows many different sides of Afghanistan during the civil war.

 A Thousand Splendid Suns is truly a masterpiece. Hosseini is an incredible author that displays Islam very accurately and very precise. Although the story is violent and brutal is shows the true struggles of Muslim women. Although his story is an extreme case, it is sad to think that is how some women were treated. The media can be very inaccurate or illogical, but Hosseini’s story is very realistic and sends a powerful message to the reader.

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