illustration of two women standing in burkas with two overlapping circles between them and the title A Thousand Splendid Suns written above them

A Thousand Splendid Suns

by Khaled Hosseini
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Who is the opposite of Mariam in A Thousand Splendid Suns in The Thorn Birds?

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Though Mariam in A Thousand Splendid Suns has similar life experiences to Mary Carson in The ThornBirds , she deals with them in a completely different way. Both women are initially consumed by jealousy: Mariam is jealous of her husband's second wife, Laila, while Mary is jealous of her...

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Though Mariam in A Thousand Splendid Suns has similar life experiences to Mary Carson in The Thorn Birds, she deals with them in a completely different way. Both women are initially consumed by jealousy: Mariam is jealous of her husband's second wife, Laila, while Mary is jealous of her niece Meggie for being close to Father Ralph de Bricassart, whom Mary had earlier tried to seduce.

Eventually, however, the two women's paths diverge, and sharply. After Laila stands up for Mariam, Mariam starts to warm to her, seeing her as an ally and a friend rather than a love rival. The two become close, and it is no exaggeration to say that a bond of love develops between them.

As for Mary Carson, however, she never gets over her feeling of bitterness and inadequacy. The ultimate woman scorned, she deliberately sets out to destroy the burgeoning relationship between Meggie and Father Ralph. If she can't have Ralph, then she's absolutely determined that no other woman can, including her own niece.

Unlike Mariam, Mary shows herself to be completely incapable of love and entirely lacking in magnanimity. Unable to give or receive love, she makes certain that no one else in her orbit will be so blessed.

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