Literary Essay Example: Theme of Resilience in A Thousand Splendid Suns

Published: 2022-06-08
Literary Essay Example: Theme of Resilience in A Thousand Splendid Suns
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Literature
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 820 words
7 min read

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a mother-daughter story written in 2007 by Khaled Hosseini. The novel revolves around the lives of two women, one of them being Mariam, and the roles they play in their Afghan society. She is an illegitimate child who has to go through the entire stigma that surrounds the nature of her birth and later on suffer abuse from her marriage to her husband, Rasheed. At first, she is so detached and isolated from the real world that she longs for even just a single connection to a human being. In the end, her resilience made her love Laila her husband's second life and regard her as her daughter; this gives them the strength to get through the abusive marriage to their husband together.

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Mariam in the book is forced to marry Rasheed, a husband that grows more abusive with every passing day. Mariam is therefore forced to become resilient to survive under these circumstances. When Laila is introduced to her life, the isolation that Mariam faced before draws her and Laila together. This is what gives her the strength to rise above her limitations. In part one of the first chapter in (Hosseini 2008) Mariam tells Laila, " learn this now and learn this well, my daughter: Like a compass needle points north, a man's accusing finger always finds a woman," in paragraph 26. This shows how much she cares about Laila and she tries to teach her to be strong and endure the hardship presented by their marriage. Her husband tends to shift blame for everything bad that happens in his life to Mariam. In spite of this, she develops perseverance and patience regardless. Mariam's interaction with Laila and everything she does for her reveals her acceptance of the situation and her will to get out of it all stronger and optimistic.

Despite Mariam encountering an insane amount of hardship in her life, her resilience is strengthened, and for a very long time, she never lets all the negativity of her husband make her mean, jaded or cruel. However, when Rasheed at one time tries to kill Laila, Mariam's spirit forces her to lash out at her husband to protect her co-wife. While she was a meek and submissive wife, her resiliency strengthens because of the need to protect the ones she loves. She has to stand up against their abusive husband for the sake of Laila. This love they share acts as her source of strength. The lines of part 3 in chapter 39 the 25th paragraph (Hosseini 2008), the author says, "Mariam now saw the sacrifices a mother made. Decency was but one." This makes use recognize the fact that the women in this text receive very small recognition for the type of sacrifices they have to make. Consequently, it shows just how the two women become closer as mother and daughter.

Through the same incident where Rasheed attempts to murder his second wife, Mariam's resiliency is tested. The authors show Mariam questioning herself in (Hosseini 2008) part 3 of chapter 45 in the 22nd paragraph, "Had she ever been a deceitful wife? She asked herself. A complacent wife? A dishonorable woman? Discreditable? Vulgar? What harmful thing has she willfully done to this man to warrant his malice, his continual assault, the relish with which he tormented her?" At some Point Rasheed made Mariam think that maybe she was to blame for all the domestic violence she and Laila faced. It takes Rasheed trying to kill Laila for Mariam to realize that none of that was of her doing but rather the nature of their husband. This murder attempts hugely tests her resiliency and is the powerful defining moment of her life. Because of this incident, Mariam is challenged to show her husband that she is not as weak and needy as he may think of her. She wants him to know just how strong she can be and that there is a limit to his abuse. Mariam overcomes this by showing him that she is stronger than him, that she can show compassion and love for the people she cares for even though she never received any when she was growing up. She is not like her husband who takes out his resentment of life by abusing other people. Through this act, the author shows the reader that Mariam overcomes her feelings of shame, guilt, and lack of love by showing love and care to others in return.

In summary, the author uses Mariam as an indication of the most potent example that portrays both the suffering and resiliency of women in the Afghan society. Mariam teaches us that we do not have to let our past define us; we should turn that anger and hatred into love, compassion, independence, and optimism. These are the qualities that will make us resilient as the women in the society no matter the circumstances.

Works Cited

Hosseini. A Thousand Splendid Suns. London : Bloomsburry, 2008.

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