A Thousand Splendid Suns: Key Quotes

A Thousand Splendid Suns: Key Quotes

Key Quotes on Characterization

  • Laila: “Marriage can wait, education cannot.” Laila’s mother’s belief that highlights the importance she placed on her daughter’s education.

  • Mariam: “Tariq’s presence was both an agony and a respite from agony.” Reflects Mariam’s struggles with her emotional attachment to Tariq.

  • Rasheed: “Like a compass needle that points north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman.” - Here Rasheed’s views on women and their place in society are made clear in his pre-judgement and blame.

Key Quotes on Theme

  • Sacrifice: “She was leaving the world as a woman who had loved and been loved back.” This quote illustrates ultimate Mariam’s sacrifice for the love of her pseudo-daughter, Laila.

  • Love and family: “A man’s heart is a wretched, wretched thing, Mariam. It isn’t like a mother’s womb. It won’t bleed. It won’t stretch to make room for you.” This depicts the special bond between a mother and her child and the difference in the love that a man and a woman can give.

  • War and Suffering: “They’ve shot more than thirty bullets into the Buddha. The Buddha hasn’t budged.” This shows the futile nature of violence. Despite all the destruction, there are things that the embattled people hold on to, their resilience in the face of adversity is unwavering.

Key Quotes on Strategy (Power and Control)

  • “It’s our lot in life, Mariam. Women like us. We endure. It’s all we have.” This quote symbolizes the element of resignation to societal norms and roles that Afghan women were used to.

  • “I’ll follow you to the ends of the world.” This illustrates Laila’s obedience to Rasheed dictating that she follows him.

  • “What’s the sense in schooling a girl like you? It’s like shining a spittoon.” Rasheed’s derogatory opinion about educating women, reflecting his misogynistic perspectives.

Key Quotes on Literary Techniques

  • Foreshadowing: “Like a compass needle that points north, a man’s blaming finger always finds a woman.” This is both a general statement on society and a prediction of blame and hardship falling on our female protagonists.

  • Symbolism: “A society has no chance of success if its women are uneducated…It’s like trying to fly a plane without wings.” This symbolizes the potential of women and their necessity in progressing society.

  • Metaphor: “Mariam wished for so much in those final moments. Yet as she closed her eyes, it was not regret any longer but a sensation of abundant peace that washed over her. She thought of her entry into this world, the harami child of a lowly villager, an unintended thing, a pitiable, regrettable accident. A weed. And yet she was leaving the world as a woman who had loved and been loved back. She was leaving it as a friend, a companion, a guardian. A mother. A person of consequence at last.” This quote, at the point of Mariam’s death, uses the metaphor of ‘a weed’ to explore Mariam’s sense of self-worth. It’s a significant reflective moment that encapsulates her personal growth. This is a woman who sees that she has ultimately mattered, that she has made a difference.