Thousand Splendid Suns

Does A Thousand Splendid Suns Benefit the Grade Nine Curriculum?

Books are an authentic treasure, you can never be lonely in the company of a good book. The deeper you read into them, the more our minds and imagination soars. Nonetheless, books not only entertain us, they provide us with valuable knowledge, contain words of wisdom, and encourage us to be more aware of social injustice. That is to say, the novel A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini should be included in the grade nine curriculum because it delves deeply into the emotional and controversial aspects of society, provides a background and history of global issues, and is a story that promotes courage and growth.

A Thousand Splendid Suns dives into the emotional and controversial factors of society. There are several disputable issues that this book discusses including basic female and human rights, warfare and the biased laws created under an individual’s leadership, and sexual abuse within a marriage. “Mariam heard the answer in his laugh: that in the eyes of a Taliban, being a communist and the leader of the dreaded KHAN made Najibullah only slightly more contemptible than a woman.” (Hosseini, 279) Instead of targeting all their hatred and violence towards their enemies, the Taliban chose to personally attack and effect the citizens’ daily lives, specifically its women. In turn, women were lead to believe that they were powerless living in their own home. “Had she ever been a deceitful wife? She asked herself. A complacent wife? A dishonorable woman? Discreditable? Vulgar? What harmful thing had she willfully done to warrant his malice, his continual assaults, the relish with which he tormented her?” (346) In addition, this book goes deeply into the theme of abuse within marriage and is portrayed commonly through Mariam and Laila. Finally, Mariam’s character significantly developed at this point in the novel. It took a long, painful time, and even an attempted murder for Mariam to recognize that it was not her fault.

This story promotes courage and growth in the characters throughout the novel. In part four of A Thousand Splendid Suns, the two protagonists have encountered an insane amount of pressure and difficulty throughout their lives, however their morales played a big role in their relationship and inspired one another to do great things. Laila has figured out, by the end of the book, that Rasheed’s abuse and the death within her family, (the most strenuous chapters of her life), don’t define her. “I’m sorry, Laila says, marveling at how every Afghan story is marked by death and loss and imaginable grief. And yet, she sees, people find a way to survive, to go on.” (395) She and the other females in this novel represent the ability women have to change, adapt, and strive for the better thus representing the theme of women and femininity. Afghanistan and other societies around the world need to see that women like Laila and Mariam are the ones who lead the community to rebuild their nation. “I also know that when this war is over, Afghanistan is going to need you as much as its men, maybe even more.” (114)

A Thousand Splendid Suns provides a valuable background and history of our global issues. The novel captures the intimate details of life and has skillfully inputted literary devices into human stories and recent history. Khaled Hosseini’s story shows both Afghan suffering and strength. It strongly represents the theme of warfare and conflict from beginning to end. This, in turn, is important because it signifies character development and each character’s journey of fighting. “And now, after more than a decade of sacrificing everything, of leaving behind their families to live in the mountains and fight for Afghanistan’s sovereignty, the Mujahideen were coming to Kabul, in flesh, blood, and battle-weary bone.” (159) Although many issues in the novel have become better over time, they still exist in some parts of the world. Finally, the historical link portrayed in the novel created imagery and made it easier to imagine the conditions Mariam and Laila were put through.

In conclusion, the grade nine curriculum should include the book A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini and take advantage of its emotional and controversial aspects, the courage and growth promoted, and the background and history of global issues. It encourages us to be more aware of social injustice while still entertaining us with literary details. Finally, “Hosseini’s prose in A Thousand Splendid Suns can stun a reader with its powerful, haunting images… a novel that leaves the reader marvelling at how this amazing storyteller can once again render the historical events of a beleaguered country into an intimate and unforgettable personal drama.” - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution