illustration of two women standing in burkas with two overlapping circles between them and the title A Thousand Splendid Suns written above them

A Thousand Splendid Suns

by Khaled Hosseini
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How are Tariq in A Thousand Splendid Suns and Luke O'Neill in The Thorn Birds similar and different to each other?

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The characters of Tariq and Luke O'Neill are vastly different, though they are minimally alike if you consider their life circumstances. Tariq is genuinely in love with Laila and remains so even when they are separated for years. Tariq and Laila are separated from one another when he leaves Kabul with his family for Pakistan as the war worsens. Rasheed hires a man to lie and tell her that Tariq is dead. With this information, Laila marries Rasheed to protect herself and her unborn child fathered by Tariq.

On the other hand, Luke O'Neill develops an interest in Meggie knowing that she receives sums of money regularly from Ralph De Bricassart, who oversees Drogheda after Mary Carson bequeaths all her possessions to the Catholic church. While Laila and Tariq are separated by circumstances they cannot control, Luke barely sees his wife. While she works for the Muellers, he is focused on his work at the cane fields and prefers to spend time with his friends.

Laila and Tariq are reunited after the war, while Meggie leaves Luke and never sees him again, despite her having given birth to his daughter Justine. He sends a few half-hearted letters to her promising he has almost saved up the money to purchase them a wool farm, but this correspondence eventually stops. In terms of the men's personalities, Tariq and Luke are polar opposites, with the exception of their mischievousness. Tariq is kind and protective of Laila, whereas Luke is selfish and neglectful.

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