Conflict And Setting In The Novel A Thousand Splendid Suns

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The role of women in Afghanistan is an unjust and unreasonable position in which they are continuously denied many freedoms and rights. The women in the story engage reader's interest and feelings; their personalities are almost real and existent. It is amazing that Hosseini, a man, could have so much insight into the feelings of women at particular situations. Housseini positively depicts the persona of Afghan women and their ability to endure gender inequality, denied education and Taliban rule. Khalid Hosseini's “A Thousand Splendid Suns”, is an epic tale of two young Afghan women; Laila and Mariam. Although they differ greatly in age and routine, they share the same heartache, pain and sorrow of living in a country ruined by political oppression and war.

In the story “A Thousand Splendid Suns” A simile is used; “ 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, Mariam.” (pg. 7)

This simile is effective in which it paints a literal image of a compass, and how men in Afghanistan, in Nana’s opinion have overpowered women. The harshness of the simile exemplifies Nana’s detrimental character and the persuasive impact she has on her daughter. Than there's symbolism “On the bus ride home from the doctor, the strangest thing was happening to Mariam. Everywhere she looked, she saw bright colors: on the drab, gray concrete apartments, on the tin-roofed, open-fronted stores, in the muddy water flowing in the gutters. It was as though a rainbow had melted into her eyes.” (pg. 87)

At this time in the novel, Mariam is finally encountering a happy and positive experience. Her pregnancy literally has her glowing to the point that she is seeing the world around her as a beautiful place. The bright colours are effective in representing the euphoria Mariam bathes in.

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This just shows that there really is a struggle for women rights in the book, seems like some women can’t even enjoy being pregnant or let alone enjoy life.

As the book continues there’s so many problems within the world for women.“Treacherous daughters did not deserve to be mothers and this was just punishment.” (pg. 93) The alliteration in this passage is relevant because it reinforces the fact that Mariam is very upset and plagued with guilt and grief that she is unable to deal with. The alliteration is written in such a way that Mariam’s thoughts are expressed blatantly and without emotion. The way in which this is stated almost has a snide perception, as this is very fitting to Mariam’s self doubt and lack of confidence that is later intensified throughout the novel. Symbolism again “And when the rockets began to rain down on Kabul, people ran for cover. Mammy did too, literally. She changed into black again, went to her room, shut the curtains, and pulled the blanket over her head. “ (pg. 172)

Throughout this section Mammy’s change in clothing often represents political and emotional destruction the people of Afghanistan are experiencing. In this passage specifically, Mammy wears black and essentially shuts herself from the outer world, which can also be an expression of the withdrawal and avoidance she undergoes as a result of war. Struggle just continues from here and doesn’t really get better at all.


A Thousand Splendid Suns displays various emotions given from the people during the time of the Soviet-Afghan War and the era of the Taliban. The author takes the reader back in time to fictional characters like Mariam and Laila who have developed a strong wall of endurance by the time of Taliban rule. Women were inferior to men, causing tension in society, and a precise representation of this was successfully demonstrated in the novel by the author’s use of conflict and setting. Through plot, the author is able to demonstrate the violation of human rights, especially to women and children of Afghanistan. A Thousand Splendid Suns allows the reader to thoroughly comprehend the tragic struggle of citizens of Afghanistan during the Soviet-Afghan war through the utilization of various literary elements.

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Conflict And Setting In The Novel A Thousand Splendid Suns. (2021, September 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from
“Conflict And Setting In The Novel A Thousand Splendid Suns.” Edubirdie, 09 Sept. 2021,
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