How do Laila and Mariam learn from each other in A Thousand Splendid Suns?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

By the time Laila arrives in the household, Mariam has already come to hate her husband, Rasheed. Mariam is none too happy about the new arrangement, and she resents the young girl's presence. But when Laila defends Mariam during an argument with Rasheed, the older woman begins to soften. When she presents Laila with some hand-knitted baby clothes, the ice is permanently broken. The two agree to share chores in the hopes of making things easier for themselves, but Rasheed's anger toward both of them intensifies. Nevertheless, the two women now have a friend on whom to rely. The younger Laila learns from Mariam's experiences, and Mariam comes to respect the independent nature of her new, young friend. When Laila invites Mariam to join her on her planned escape from Rasheed's home, it gives them both hope. After their escape fails, the woman unite in keeping their spirits up during the trying years ahead. In the end, Mariam realizes that she must confess to the murder of Rasheed in order for Laila to avoid charges against her, and Mariam's sacrifice allows Laila and Tariq to live the life together that Mariam had always dreamed for herself. Mariam's memory lives on in Laila, who returns to the older woman's childhood home in order to better understand and remember her. Laila knows that she has never had a better friend, and she hopes that her unborn child will be a girl so she can name her after the woman who gave her life to assure Laila's future.

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A Thousand Splendid Suns

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