Thursday, January 12, 2012

"A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini

"It wasn't easy tolerating him talking this way to her, to bear his scorn, his ridicule, his insults, his walking past her like she was nothing but a house cat. But after four years of marriage, Mariam saw clearly how much a woman could tolerate when she was afraidAnd Miriam was afraid." (Excerpt from A Thousand Splendid Suns) 
I have read this novel a total of three times for three reasons: It is a very powerful and moving story, it is a great story to understand the life of women in Afghanistan after the Taliban took over, and I teach it to my seniors, and I read it again everytime that I teach it.

During this read, the above quote stood out in my mind, and my mind starting racing. I thought about this idea that I got from another book, not sure what book, but the idea stated that everything that we do is done out of fear or love. After many years of thinking about fear and love, I must say that I agree with this. I consciously try and act out of love at all times. Really and honestly, it ain't always easy, but I must say that I try anyway.

I thought about the millions of people during the Jewish Holocaust who endured such horrible treatment with the fear of dying on their minds. I thought about Africans, who were turned into slaves, enduring dehumaning treatment out of fear for their lives. I thought about Immaculee llibagiza, who, in Left to Tell, writes about being huddled in a bathroom for 92 days with seven other women during the Rwanda genocide out of fear of losing her life. People can really endure a lot when fear is involved. However, I wonder how much we can or will endure out of love?

Mariam, the main character in A Thousand Splendid Suns, really, and I mean, really, tolerated a whole lot from her husband and father. In class, today, we talked about the idea of whether or not these men were mean and evil or were they simply following the traditions of Afghan culture which treated women as second class citizens according to Western Society. One of my students said that this novel made him so angry, and he wondered why we, the United States, did not do more to help these women.

This is one of those novels that definitely pulls at a person's heart strings. I thought about the women in this story, even though this is a fictional novel, and my heart was sadden to think that there are women on this planet who have to tolerate so much out of fear. (I do believe that there is truth in fictional works.)

I must say that I truly appreciate Khaled Hosseini for telling this story. I have heard of the stories of the women of Afghanistan, but LORD, I had no clue how bad it could be.

I never, ever need to hear about someones hard times for me to be grateful. I am grateful, because I am grateful. However, this novel made me really think about how great it is to be a women in American even with all of it's problem.

Read this book, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and I'm positive that you will walk away with a lot to think about.....

As reiterated in Who Moved My Cheese: "What would you do if you weren't afraid?" 

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