A Thousand Splendid Suns Questions and Answers
by Khaled Hosseini

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Compare and contrast Mariam and Lila in A Thousand Splendid Suns. In spite of circumstances, each finds meaning in life.  

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Life is harsh to both Mariam and Laila, but they manage to find ways to stand up to cruel fate and see some beauty in life. This shows that they are both strong in spirit, even if they don't have much in common otherwise. Mariam is an illegitimate child, having grown up with a bitter mother and an absent father whose love she desperately craves. Laila, on the other hand, has a supportive father and a distant mother. Growing up, she was allowed much more freedom, and she is therefore considerably more headstrong than Mariam.

Both women end up married to Rasheed, however, and have to share the same trials and tribulations of being his wives. Initially, their contrasting backgrounds and beliefs make them wary of each other. Mariam, who has never had much to call her own, becomes jealous of the younger woman. Rasheed is not a good husband, but before Laila came along, at least he was only hers. With the new wife, Mariam feels that once again she is pushed to sidelines, especially when...

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