Theme: A just individual has obligations to his/her own society.
I need to analyze this theme as it is embodied in the text of A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini including an explanation with a substantial analysis of the theme and its implications in the text.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini explores the tensions between duty, cultural norms, and individual freedoms and desires in a group of Afghan women. The major theme of the novel is how women manage to live within such an oppressive society, maintaining the values of loyalty to their families while still sustaining their own personal ethics.
The conservative society of Afghanistan in this period is what is known as a "shame" culture, in which the actions of any member of a family, but especially women's lack of chastity, brings shame upon the entire family. Thus while the existence of Mariam as an illegitimate daughter brings shame on Nana and her family, it is not shameful for Jalil to commit adultery.
Mariam and Laila both suffer greatly throughout the book from their attempts to conform to the norms of their society, being forced to subsume their own desires for freedom, love, and knowledge to the dictates of a brutal patriarchal system.
In your essay, you might want to focus on how Mariam's final choice satisfies both her obligations to her society and her desire for a younger generation to have the freedom she cannot enjoy under the Taliban.