How does the main character's--Mariam's--journey of learning to read impact her as one of the protagonists in A Thousand Splendid Suns?

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In A Thousand Splendid Suns, readers are introduced to two female protagonists--Laila and Mariam.  Laila has been fortunate enough to grow up in a progressive household, and her parents believe that her education, although she is female, is important.  Mariam, on the other hand, lives in the countryside with her mother, and her mother believes that the only education she needs is learning how to "endure."  But Mariam does not give up her dreams, and although she is not granted the opportunity to get an education in town where her father lives, she does continue her quest to gain some type of education locally.  Mariam does learn to read and is taught by Mullah Faizullah.  The primary purpose of Mariam's learning to read is to read from the Koran, which, although based in religion, is still a subversive act in her small village.  Learning to read does set Mariam up as one who has the potential for strong acts, and these types of strong acts play out over the course of the novel.

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A Thousand Splendid Suns

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