Mariam and Laila really have few options as women in a society whose laws favor the dominance of men. They have few basic freedoms: They are not allowed to travel freely, cannot hold property, cannot choose their own friends or spouses, and must obey the rules imposed by their husband. They really have no choice but to do their duties as wives and accept their fate. That they must "endure" their subserviant positions is a fact of life in Afghanistan, and any dreams and hopes they may have that conflict with the status quo--in this case, Rasheed's authoritarian demands--must be put aside. Mariam does find a way for Laila to fulfill her dreams, but it only comes with the greatest sacrifice a person can make for another.