Can you please explain Hosseini's use of setting and its prominence please?

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A literary setting includes place and time, and Khaled Hosseini uses both heavily in his novel A Thousand Splendid Suns . Place includes geography, but it also includes the environment. In this novel, the home is as powerful a setting as the villages, city, and countries where the story takes...

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A literary setting includes place and time, and Khaled Hosseini uses both heavily in his novel A Thousand Splendid Suns. Place includes geography, but it also includes the environment. In this novel, the home is as powerful a setting as the villages, city, and countries where the story takes place. It magnifies Mariam, Laila, and Aziza's vulnerability and need for a man in their daily lives.

In Afghanistan, the story moves from a rural area near the village of Herat to the capital city of Kabul. Hosseini also takes us briefly to Shahr-e Zuhak, a formerly peaceful historic city ruins in the Bamiyan Valley that Laila visited with her father. Later the Taliban destroyed the two ancient, giant statues of the Buddha that Laila's father loved. In the end, Laila, Tariq, Aziza, and Zalmai settle in Murree, a resort town in Pakistan. Murree represents a more peaceful and equal existence for Laila and Aziza.

In Herat, Mariam lives in a shack with her mother, Nana. The shack is cramped and run down. Nana is unhappy in her environment, where she was exiled when she became pregnant with Mariam. The shack is both a physical and an emotional prison for both Nana and Mariam. Nana teaches Mariam that women in Afghan society are at the mercy of the men in their lives. They are treated as property and sometimes abused. Mariam’s father, Jalil, also lives in Herat. However, he lives in a fine house with his family. The setting of his home is in stark contrast to Nana’s and represents inequality.

Laila’s family home is in Kabul, where she initially lives with Mammy and Babi. Here, home is a sad place where her mother mourns her brothers. It is also a progressive, hopeful place where Babi teaches her about politics and encourages education. Tariq’s home also represents happiness and hope. Each shows how the influence of one man in the household can dramatically affect women’s daily lives.

Kabul becomes a terrifying and oppressive place when life as Laila knows it is destroyed, and she goes to live with Rasheed and Mariam. For Laila, Mariam and Aziza, the house is a prison, and their household is abusive and lonely. The setting is also multigenerational and takes place over 30 recent, war-torn years in Afghanistan. The shifting political situation—communism, Soviet rule, and then extremism—highlights the continuous plight of Afghan women.

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Khaled Hosseini's second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, takes place in various locations throughout the Middle East, including Herat, a city in Afghanistan, Gul Daman, a village just outside of Herat, Kabul the capital of Afghanistan, and Murree, a city in Pakistan.

The settings are incredibly important to the story because the story follows two Muslim women--Mariam, who is forced into a conservative marriage and lifestyle, and Laila, who is much more liberal and less constrained by conservative values or expectations--and the two women are in constant conflict with their conservative surroundings, having to cover themselves, walk in pairs, and deal with men as the authority in their lives.

Had the novel been written in some place else--say, London?--then the conservative atmosphere would be lost and Mariam and Laila would have much different obstacles to endure. However, since the novel does take place throughout Afghanistan and Pakistan, the conservative values of those societies are then quite important as they shape the lives of the women and how they function in society.

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