Soraya Taheri is a very kind person who feels very guilty about an episode in her past that she describes to Amir in the following way:
"When we lived in Virginia, I ran away with an Afghan man. I was eighteen at the time...rebellious...stupid, and...he was into drugs.... We lived together for almost a month. All the Afghans in Virginia were talking about it."
Her father becomes very angry as a result of Soraya's rebellion, and her mother has a stroke while Soraya is away. Soraya says, "When I came home, I saw my mother had had a stroke, the right side of her face was paralyzed and...I felt so guilty. She didn't deserve that." Soraya is a generous and sweet person who later dedicates herself to taking care of Amir's father. Her only sin is a moment of brief indiscretion that she had as a young woman.
Soraya is similar in some ways to Ralph de Bricassart, the kindly priest who secretly loves Meggie in The Thorn Birds. He cannot resist consummating his love with Meggie, though he always feels guilt and regret over his secret love for her and for the secret indiscretion he shared with Meggie. He only finds out after Dane's death that Dane was his son, and upon hearing Meggie tell him this long-buried secret, Ralph suffers greatly:
"There was a wail, the sound of a soul passing between the portals of Hell. Ralph de Bricassart fell forward out of the chair and wept, huddled on the crimson carpet in a scarlet pool like new blood, his face hidden in his folded arms, his hands clutching at his hair."
Like Soraya, Ralph suffers for a mistake he made many years before, and he feels tortured with guilt for not having realized that Dane was his son. Also like Soraya, his sins are only those of youthful passion, not brutality and hatred.
The character in A Thousand Splendid Suns who is most like Soraya is Mariam. She is a loving daughter who is punished for being a harami, or bastard. She experiences the feeling of exclusion. As Hosseini writes, "Nor was she old enough to appreciate the injustice, to see that it is the creators of the harami who are culpable, not the harami." Later, she goes to her father's house when he does not show up to take her to a movie, and he refuses to admit her to his home. She sleeps outside, and her mother commits suicide, thinking her daughter has deserted her. Therefore, Mariam, a kind and loving daughter, also suffers for a moment of youthful recklessness; her only sin is to want a moment of happiness for herself, like Soraya.