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Personal Study Notes and Paragraph Plan

Question: How does the character of Mariam develop throughout the course of the novel? Introduction: ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ is a novel written by Khaled Hosseini. This novel focuses on Mariam’s and Laila’s lives in Afghanistan. It is written third person point of view from the perspective of an omniscient narrator. The story takes place in Herat and Gul Daman to start with. It opens up with an introduction to Marian’s life as an Afghan girl growing up with her mother, Nana, in the outskirts of Herat. Mariam is the scorned illegitimate daughter of a wealthy businessman, forced at age fifteen into marrying Rasheed, who grows increasingly brutal when she fails to produce a child. Mariam’s and Laila’s lives cross when Laila’s parents die when a rocket destroys the house and kills her parents. Then Laila is taken in by Rasheed and Mariam. This personal study is going to focus on Mariam and the way she changes throughout the story. Paragraph Plan: • Paragraph One: ○ The rising action began when Marian started telling the story of her childhood ○ Mariam called a ‘harami’ her whole life which led to her knowing her life was a long path of hardship from her very early years. ○ Quote: “Nor was she old enough to appreciate the injustice, to see that it is the creators of the harami who are culpable, not the harami, whose only sin is being born.’’, shows how Mariam was never wanted to begin with, neither by her father or her mother (page 4) ○ Mariam was always fully aware that her life wasn’t the easiest way however she still managed to love her mother who didn’t miss out on every occasion to show her how resentfully she felt about her • Paragraph Two: The life that Mariam and Laila share together under Rasheed’s roof and how gradually they begin to trust and support each other in their hardship that they have in their marriage. The truce finalised when Laila asked Mariam to drink ‘chai’ with her, and the friendship began. ○ Quote: ‘And this fleeting, wordless exchange with Mariam, Laila knew that they were not enemies any longer’ showing how the boundaries were broken and that Mariam became keen of the girl ○ Mariam started getting used of Laila and Aziza’s company, Aziza became like a child Mariam never been able to have to her

Quote: ‘And she marvelled at how, after all these years of rattling loose, she had found in this little creature the first true connection in her life false, failed connections’, shows how much Aziza made Mariam happy, how tied together they two were and that after all those years of being disowned by her father and loveless marriage with Rasheed, she’d found somebody that she loved with all her heart and was loved in return. ○ Mariam was ready to swallow up her own pride and the terrible experiences she had with her father so she could get some money for basic elements like food for Aziza. She sacrificed her dignity for the good of the child

• Paragraph Three: ○ Rasheed was beating Laila up when he found out she was talking to her sweetheart love, Tariq – the climax of the novel. ○ Quote: ‘He’s going to kill her. (...) He really means to. And Mariam could not, would not, allow that to happen. He’d taken so much from her in their twenty-seven year of marriage. She would not watch him take Laila too.’ showed the level of attachment her and Laila had, how much they loved one another. ○ Quote: ‘(...) it occurred to her that this was the first time that she was deciding of the course of her own life’. Showed how all her life Mariam did as she was told by everybody else as she didn’t have the strength to stand up for what she believed in.
○ ○ Mariam is arrested for murdering Rasheed and is executed in the stadium in front of thousands of people. Quote: ‘ One last time, Mariam did as she was told’

Conclusion: By the end of the novel we’re faced to the climax that happened when Mariam decided she isn’t going to let Rasheed kill Laila and she took her faith in her hands knowing about the consequences. Firstly Mariam is an insecure little girl who was brought up by a resentful mother who never wanted to have her as she was a child out of wedlock. Afterwards we get to the stage when Laila’s compassion and love that Aziza gave her melted her fossil alike heart. By the end of the novel Mariam’s grew stronger and more secure thanks to hers and Laila’s relationship they shared together over the years of marriage.