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Thousand Splendid Suns: Impact of Post Colonialism and Patriarchy on Women of Afghanistan in the Novels of Khalid Hosseini

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Postcolonial studies an emerging and interesting field of academic study that deals with colonialism and imperialism basically the cultural legacy of both and in particular focuses on the human consequences of the controlled and exploited colonized people and their resources and property. The Imperial powers is critically and theoretically analysed through this. The study is viewed through critical lens the reader is supposed to analyse the effects and explain the relationship between the chew and the effects of imperialism and colonization. Through this we get an idea of the extent of power one has over the other. The field of study gained prominence since the late 1960 Edward said is the person coined the term orientalism. The definition of the term is debated and discussed long time and it's basically the study of the society and the European Nations and colonies they occupied in the modern period. Over 85% of the globe was under the invasion of the European empire and by the time the First World War began they had established their control for several centuries. After the Second World War to a great extent the European empire disintegrated and this led to widespread interest in criticism and study of the post-colonial literature in our times. Colonial studies is succeeded by post-colonial studies. The way and means by which the colonies were formed and the mechanism of control at various stages is a very interesting and thrilling field of study for scholars.


Patriarchy is a social system in which males hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property. Some patriarchal societies are also patrilineal, meaning that property and title are inherited by the male lineage

Khaled Hosseini

Born in 1965 to diplomat father who served the Afghan foreign ministry and to a Farsi professor who taught history at high school in Kabul Hosseini was the eldest of 5 children. The family relocated to Paris in 1976 due to political instability and pressure. In 1980 while preparing to return to motherland then the communist and Soviet invasion into Afghanistan took place one after another. The family had sought political asylum in the United States and eventually granted one and moved to California in 1980. After graduating from high school in 1984 enrolled at Santa Clara University and earned a degree in biology in 1988. After obtaining a medical degree from San Diego school of medicine in 1993 house residency was completed at the medical centre of cedar Sinai Los Angeles after which he started practicing medicine. After a visit to Karbala is permanent, he decided to write the kite runner which actually was short story that was developed later into a full-fledged novel. First published in 2003 by riverhead books which turned out to be launch of world's biggest literary career of our times. He is the most popular Afghan in the world also recognized as bestselling author. All his works has been published in over 70 countries and sold more than 50 million copies worldwide. Fortunate enough to be appointed as goodwill ambassador refugee agency UNHCR. After trip affected by the situation of his countryman and the country that established a Foundation in his name called the Khalid Hosseini foundation. Some contemporary women writers of Khalid Hosseini are Kiran Desai, Tashlima Nasrin, Anita Desai, Arundhati Roy, Mahesweta Devi who also dealt with same or similar themes of the struggle of women in society. What sets him apart from the rest is the way he portrays his character’s n the way he explains plight, the body language and the feelings which leaves you feeling of having seen a movie or something in real life for he can really weave a picture with his wonderful words and expressions. The Kite Runner won exclusive books boeke prize in 2004. Thousand splendid suns won British book awards in 2008. And the mountains echoed for fiction, good breaks choice award 2013. A thousand splendid suns in California book award silver medal in 2007.

Authors writing style.

Uses very simple language and occasionally some words borrowed from other languages just to bring in the right effect. Most of the novels deals with specific spans of time which is actually parallel to the real history of Afghanistan it's more of historical realism. The themes are undaunted and quite fearless he didn't hesitate to picturize the actual scene of bloodshed and huge massacre which was an everyday event in Afghanistan. Most part of the novels are very gloomy and the struggle of hopeless humans. Themes range from love racialism colonialism feminism friendship and internal conflicts

The kite runner

The shockingly emotional and gripping story of redemption guilt and betrayal which thrills and moves you at the same time. Story of two young kids brought up in Kabul, Afghanistan who were as thick as thieves as good as brothers and experts in kite flying which was very popular Afghan past time. Just like kites battling in the sky war comes to Afghanistan which makes an extremely dangerous place to live. What t haunts Amir is his betrayal towards young friend who was more than a brother to him. The story is basically army quest for redemption as for America from Afghanistan leaving a husband and his father back in their war torn homeland. The Novel introduces as to a world of Afghanistan n it's culture which is quite fascinating, strange but familiar at the same time. It has a well-constructed storyline which is very grouping and explores the vast and wide art of storytelling. Amir comes back to country and makes a very different set of sacrifices in a way setting things straight. Through the Soviet military intervention Afghanistan's monarchy fell and the Novel is set against the backdrop of tumultuous events where a set of people fled to Pakistan as refugees and still others to the United States and the Taliban regime started. The book ends with Amir rescuing Hasan’s son after two decades to atone for his transgression. It was for over 2 years New York times’ bestseller number one. Over 7 million copies sold in the United States following positive reviews even the controversies were started in Afghanistan regarding the lot and the rape scene. A movie was made in the year 2007 of the same name and ran to packed houses. Just like all his other works kite runner also tigers multigenerational period and focuses on parent child bonds. Frequently question about the autobiographical aspects of the book as the parallels are pretty obvious. Khalid Hussain has admitted to having had a great amount of survivor’s guilt as he left the country when it was invaded. The novel was translated into 40 languages for publication in more than 40 countries. In 2014 even the 10th-anniversary edition was released by Riverhead beta foreword by Hosseini and the new gold-rimmed cover.

While kite runner was about the father and son relationship this novel focuses and mother-daughter and women to women relationship. the past few decades of war-torn Afghanistan's real picture of the shocking and volatile events is picturized very clearly. The Taliban invasion which was preceded by the mujahedin and then dating back to the Soviet invasion it clearly chronicles the Afghan history. Miriam and Lila two struggling characters of the novel remain in our memory n hearts forever. Sacrifices are named choices.

The mountains echoed.

This is the third book of Khalid Hosseini which is published in the year 2013. Is memory a blessing or is it a curse? this question is raised a number of times in our mind while we read with this book. The themes of gratitude and guilt simultaneously feature all along the Novel small acts of vengeance between siblings results in lifelong guilt trip and moral burden. In Iran international and national copyright, records is not well recognized hence by 2017 almost 18 unofficial Persian translations of this novel called ”the mountains echoed” in Iran 3 million copies sold within the first seven months of its publication and it was well-received all across the world, especially in the United States. Hosseini is very successful in making characters and chapters very complex.

The stories spans numerous generations and is set in his homeland Afghanistan and the west. The author committed to saying that the title was inspired by the poem nurse's song of innocence by William Blake where the sound of children's voices accord in the mountains. It analysis the strong bonds between parents and their offspring and how at times the past can hauntingly come back and ruin the perfect present. We get to see a lot of historical realism, where there is a detailed mention of the pre-Soviet era and the account of the mujahedeen’s fight against the Soviet Union , the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan and eventually the American invasion after the September 11th twin tower attack by terrorists.

When The kite runner was focused on the dynamics of two sets of men, the fathers and sons and two male friends, thousand splendid suns focus about the bond between two women and mothers and daughters. This novel The Mountains echoed revolves around sibling relationships which is refracted through the lives of brothers and sisters in different pairs through different generations

A thousand splendid suns

The novel revolves around two women caught in the same horrible circumstances of patriarchy n colonialism under the same roof who share a spouse a house and a couple of children. Both the women are exposed to domestic abuse, rape, violence and oppression of various kinds. It's about Afghan women who were forced to marry men twice and thrice their age. Interesting story about two women that lives with their secrets and their struggle to live and then muddle through life but with that glimmer of hope intact in their eyes who set out on a complicated n confused journey together. the past few decades of war-torn Afghanistan's real picture of the shocking and volatile events is picturized very clearly. The Taliban invasion which was preceded by the mujahedin and then dating back to the Soviet invasion it clearly chronicles the Afghan history. Miriam and Lila two struggling characters of the novel remain in our memory n hearts forever. Sacrifices that they make are referred as choices.

Status of recent research at the national level related to the problem (with recent references)

Divya Sylvester department of English Scott Christian College Nagercoil article in research journal of English language and literature.2017 Pangs of oppression: Study of women in Khaled Hosseini thousand splendid suns. The study conveys the light of women especially in Afghanistan subservient where they believe women should stay at home and their children to continue the family language and legacy they looked just as reproductive objects.In her paper the situation of hopeless bottoms colonialism patriarchy terrorism war rape and natural calamities.

Deconstruction of hegemonic masculinity: subordination and subsequent rise of women in Khalid Hosseini a thousand splendid suns. Enough paper discusses about the inequality prevailing in the history of humans and how women face more challenges than men and how they sucker physically verbally psychologically at sexually in the hands of men.

Dr Madhavi mohair, Assistant professor in English, Nagpur in her research paper New Saga of gender friendliness in Hussain A thousand splendid suns. July 2017. Presenting representation of Afghani women through the eyes of young generation writers like Khalid Hussain who is trying to change the current scenario of the third world countries and working towards the upliftment of these women and children.

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Status of recent research at the international level related to the problem

Ramphipathamrong and Chalathip was what ,Chiang Mai University in their paper: representations of Afghan women in Khalid Hussain is The kite runner, thousand splendid suns, and the mountains echoed. The author’s female characters are shown as oppressed victims of patriarchal and postcolonial setup. Twice oppressed those Afghan women who suffer under the colonial power the patriarchy and the Taliban law. The resistance very well depicted of the female characters under the oppressive circumstances.

Legitimate and illegitimate beginning: a critical analysis of Mariam’s character in a thousand splendid suns. February 2017 in this paper the resilience and resistance of the protagonist is well documented.

Dasrath Neupane & Ramnath Khanal2 PhD scholar, Dr. K.N. Modi University, Rajasthan, India Professor, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal Reasons behind Spousal Aggression in A Thousand Splendid: Suns by Khaled Hosseini. 2017 it deals with the grave punishments women are subjected to and the ways by which they were reduced to just objects of desire reproduction and a human toy with which men play games.


The research objective is to understand feminist rejection in the post-colonial era a study on Khaled Hosseini.

Interpreting dammit to expose the hidden patriarchal agenda that Di limit women slides for patriarchal AIMS.

Emphasizing the impact of social-cultural events and trauma due to patriarchal issues faced by women all over the world at large

Data and Detailed Methodology/Testing of hypothesis

The literature survey will consider the important applications by scholars interpreting patriarchy gender and feminist issues used by Khalid Hussain in various works to off patriarchy post-colonial tools comparative method

The outcome of the study

This proposed research is expected to expand the horizons of understanding patriarchy and it impact on women especially of Indian and Afghanistan.

Several studies had been done on this and based on this study the significant outcomes can be evaluated.

Using the previous data of the studies which had been done new policies can be framed new resolutions made and well planned agendas be brought in place for the up liftment on women and girl children who are the most affected victims of the solution.

Women’s life she be reconstructed with aid from within and outside the country.

Hopefully with expert guidance, effective planning liberal funding proper execution of plans life should return to normal for those traumatized women out there who have resisted patriarchy colonization and oppression.

List 10 Journals related to the proposed topic

  1. A comparative study of human suffering and female identity in the novels of Khaled Hosseini; PhD thesis Jiwaji University, Gwalior by Avdesh Tundelkar, 2016
  2. Comparative study of A thousand splendid sons and The kite runner with Sudha Murthy’s Gently falls the Bakulaant Mahashweta by Shruti Mohanty, International journal of English Language literature and humanities, Vol 5, issue 11, November 2011
  3. Representation of Afghan institution of marriage in Khaled Hosseini’s ‘and The mountains echoed’ & ‘A thousand Splendid Sons’: cultural study by Rana Kashif Shakeel and Sadiya Qamar, Feb 2015, International Journal of English and literature, vol 5, issue 1, Feb 2015
  4. From the certainty of turmoil to the turmoil of uncertainty: Articulating childhood trauma in Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, International Journal of Scientific and Research Publication, Vol 8, Issue 5, May 2018, ISSN: 2250 - 3153
  5. Imen Ben Hamouda, Department of English, Institute of Applied Studies and Humanities, University of Tunis
  6. Courageous Women: Study of resilience in Khaled Hosseini’s novel A thousand Splendid Sons, Mohammed Imran, Umair Faroo, Suhail Gafoor,Hamara Gul, M.Phil Scholars in English, Language in India, 1930-2940, Volume 17, January 2017
  7. Study of women in Khaled Hosseini’s A thousand Splendid Sons, Research journal of English Language and literature, Vol 5, Issue 4, October – December 2017, ISSN 2395 – 2536
  8. The new saga of Gender friendliness in ‘A Thousand Splendid Sons’ by Dr. Madhavi Rahil, Assistant Professor in English, Kevel Ramani Kanya Mahavidhyala, Jeri Patka, Nagpur, International Journal of Multi-disciplinary studies, Volume 3, Issue 7, July 2017
  9. Divya Sylvester, Research Scholar, Department of English, Scott Christian College, Nagercoil
  10. Superego, guilt, redemption and atonement in Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite runner by Hesham Khadarwadi, International Journal of Humanities , Social Sciences and Education, Vol 4, Issue 2, February 2017, ISSN 2349 – 0373
  11. Resistance as facet of post-colonialism in women characters of Khaled Hosseini’s “A thousand Splendid Sons”, International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature, ISSN 2200 – 3592, Vol 2, No.3, May 2019
  12. The Kite Runner and the problem of racism and ethnicity , Akram Sadat Hosseini, M.A. Scholar, Department of English Literature, Faculty of Humanities, Rafsanjan Universoty, Kerman, Iran , International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, ISSN 2300 – 2697, Volume 74, 2016


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  2. Mambrol, N. (2016, 04 06). Literary Theory and Criticism. Retrieved from Literiness:
  3. Zirakyar, R. R. (2009, 12 09). PASHTUN-BASHING IN KITE RUNNER: A PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATION. Retrieved from Dawat Independent Media Center (DIMC):
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Thousand Splendid Suns: Impact of Post Colonialism and Patriarchy on Women of Afghanistan in the Novels of Khalid Hosseini. (2022, March 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 9, 2023, from
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