Who was Justine in The Thorn Birds most like in The Kite Runner and in A Thousand Splendid Suns?

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The character of Justine O’Neill in The Thorn Birds is the daughter of Luke O’Neill and his wife Meggie (formerly Cleary). While her mother and grandmother, Fiona Cleary, are both strong women, Justine sees that the rural Australian life and the patriarchal society have taken a toll on them. Her...

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The character of Justine O’Neill in The Thorn Birds is the daughter of Luke O’Neill and his wife Meggie (formerly Cleary). While her mother and grandmother, Fiona Cleary, are both strong women, Justine sees that the rural Australian life and the patriarchal society have taken a toll on them. Her father is far more interested in work and money than his family and is an uncaring father to the girl. Determined to live independently and not be dominated by a man, the ambitious Justine leaves and pursues a career as an actress. A headstrong girl, she is contrasted to her kindly, almost saintlike brother, Dane. In the end, Justine finds a male partner who matches her personality, and she does get married.

Justine resembles Soraya in The Kite Runner. Soraya’s father, General Taheri, is uncaring toward his daughter, like Luke is. The domineering general upholds the restrictions on female education and social involvement. Similarly to Justine, Soraya is rebellious against the narrow social strictures and her father. She pursues her personal and professional goals, in this case to become a teacher. She also finds a happy marriage with Amir.

In A Thousand Splendid Suns, the closest parallel seems to be Aziza. The daughter of Rasheed and Laila, she suffers from her father’s unfeeling attitude toward her and hid generally misogynistic outlook. However, his behavior is far more harsh than that of the other fathers, as he places his daughter in an orphanage when the family falls on hard times. Aziza is also a minor character. Another similarity would be to Laila, who is bold and curious but must accommodate her husband’s brutality. The scope of her role is more like that of Justine, and she too ultimately finds a happy marriage.

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