What are the psychological impacts of wearing a burqa for both Mariam and Laila in A Thousand Splendid Suns?
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The women's responses to being forced to wear burqas demonstrate their self-image. Mariam doesn't mind wearing the burqa--it provides security for her, especially since she does not view herself as worthy or attractive. The burqa allows her to hide; so psychologically it furthers Mariam's poor self-image and her desire and ability to continue her hiding.
In contrast, Laila has always had positive reactions to her physical appearance, respect from her family members as a female, and a healthy sense of independence. When she is forced to wear a burqa by her abusive husband, she bristles and begins to lose some of her confident, positive self-image.
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