A Thousand Splendid Suns: Writer's Techniques

A Thousand Splendid Suns: Writer’s Techniques

Narrative Voice

  • Khaled Hosseini adopts an omniscient third-person narrative which allows the author to delve into the lives of different characters, providing a variety of perspectives on Afghan society.
  • The switching narratives between Mariam and Laila offer contrasts and comparisons in their lives, further emphasising themes like patriarchy, female solidarity and resilience.
  • Hosseini’s choice of objective narration eliminates personal bias while providing a raw and honest depiction of reality, making the narrative more powerful and poignant.

Imagery and Symbolism

  • Powerful imagery is used throughout the novel to evoke an understanding of the harsh Afghan landscape and the brutal realities of war.
  • Notable symbols like the kolba (Mariam’s childhood home) reflect her isolation and marginalisation, while the buzkashi tournament mirrors the violence and chaos in Afghanistan.
  • The recurring imagery of the burqa symbolises women’s suffocation and oppression in a patriarchal society.
  • The title’s symbolism, taken from a poem about Kabul’s beauty, serves as an ironic contrast to the city’s war-torn reality, thus underlining the impact of destruction and the hope for restoration.

Linguistic Techniques

  • Hosseini’s use of local Afghan dialect such as words like “harami” and “Tashakor” add authenticity to the narrative and establishes the setting.
  • Descriptive language portrays the harsh realities of life under Taliban rule and the degradation of Kabul, amplifying the depth of the characters’ suffering.
  • The contrast in language when describing peaceful pre-war times to that of the war and post-war era further emphasises the shocking change brought on by the conflict.

Use of Characterisation

  • Characters like Mariam and Laila are used to explore and critique societal norms including gender inequality, child marriage, and women’s rights.
  • Dynamic characterisation of Mariam and Laila – from victims to resilient survivors – reflects on women’s agency, even in a society that seeks to limit it.
  • Contrasting characters such as Rasheed and Tariq serve to emphasise the diverse male attitudes towards women in the Afghan society.

Themes and Motifs

  • Themes like female solidarity, resilience, and hope are regularly reintroduced and explored throughout the novel to underscore women’s capacity to endure and overcome adversity.
  • The domestic realm serves as a significant motif to reflect the prison-like existence of women, and yet it also becomes a space for comfort, allyship, and resistance against patriarchy.
  • The recurring motif of physical and emotional scars left by war, abuse, and loss shed light on the lasting impact of trauma.