What is the significance of Laila's childhood trip to see the giant stone Buddhas above the Bayiman Valley?  

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ladyvols1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 21, of "A Thousand Splendid Suns," Laila and Tariq are taken by Laila's Babi to see the massive Buddha sculputres.  They climbed to the top and could see the whole Bamiyan Valley below them all the way to the Hindu Kush.  This trip was significant for Laila in a couple of ways.  One important lesson from this trip was a realistic lesson on her country's history.  As Babi stated,

"You see, some things I can teach you.  Some you learn from books.  But there are things that, well, you just have to see and feel."

Laila also learned the humanity of her father on their visit.  Babi tells Laila the story of her mother.  He tells her that he used to bring his wife to the same spot, and she loved the adventure.  He talks about her laugh and how captivating she was.  Laila, listens carefully to her Babi and feels very affectionate toward him.  She learns that often he felt that he wanted to leave the country and move to America.  He wanted to live by the sea, but they knew he would never leave because her Mother would never leave.  This was Babi's true commitment, to Laila's mother.

"From then on, she would always remember Babi this way: reminiscing about Mammy, with his elbows on the rock, hands cupping his chin, his hair ruffled by the wind, eyes crinkled against the sun."

Read the study guide:
A Thousand Splendid Suns

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