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What does the burqa symbolize in A Thousand Splendid Suns? And what are some spots in...

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nicole4o7 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 24, 2010 at 12:30 AM via web

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What does the burqa symbolize in A Thousand Splendid Suns? And what are some spots in the book that really show this?

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mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted April 24, 2010 at 12:58 AM (Answer #1)

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In the book A Thousand Splendid Sons the burqa has not been worn by Mariam until she marries.  Her husband lets her know once she is his wife that she may no longer go out in public because he does not want other men looking at what his wife has because it belongs to him.

Mariam has a difficult transition wearing the burqa because she can not see when she walks and i makes her trip.  Her husband uses the burqa as a form of control and demonstration of ownership.

Later he marries a second wife and she is taken told she has to wear the burqa.  Laila had always been raised to be a strong willed woman and the burqa is the husband's way of once again controlling his wife and possessing her.

"Oh,I also ask that when we are out together, that you wear a burqa."(223)

For both women the burqa is a sign of imprisonment.  At first Mariam thinks it is her husband's way of demonstrating that she is his and that he values her, but later she realizes he is looking at naked women's pictures and that he is a hypocrite.

To Laila the burqa gives her freedom in a different way.  It allows her to hide from others so that they will not see her sadness and embarrassment at being married to Rasheed.  She is also able to look around where otherwise her eyes would not be able to look.  She does not like it and feels imprisoned but she uses it too enable herself to hide from the world.

When the Taliban takes over the country the burqa becomes an imprisonment for women.  It is an indication that they have no rights and do not want them to be seen or heard.

"Attention women: You will stay in your homes at all times.

"You will not, under any circumstances show your face.  You will cover with the burqa when outside.  If you do not, you will be severlybeaten."(278)

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ranysalim | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 26, 2010 at 3:10 AM (Answer #2)

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something very horrible

It is an enveloping outer garment worn by women in some Islamic traditions for the purpose of hiding a female's body when out in public. its like a long dress which cover from head to toe, it has only a few inch opening in the eyes area which is cover by a fence (from fabric not metal). When walking with this you feel like you are blind. When the weather is hot it feels like steam room.

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