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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Why is it important to show that there is also a modern women in Afghanistan in Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns?

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A Thousand Splendid Suns was written by Khaled Hosseini and was first published in 2007. It follows the life of two women in Afghanistan. Through the narrative, the author very clearly shows how difficult life was, and still is, for women in Afghanistan. However, the two female protagonists are both very strong women, which shows that some women in Afghanistan wanted to move away from their traditional lives and become modern women who are treated fairly and equally. The author clearly feels that there is a need for modernization of the role of women in Afghanistan. The author hopes that the characters Mariam and Laila will highlight the need for more modern women in Afghanistan and hopefully inspire other women to no longer put up with their severely restricted lives.

Under the Taliban regime, the role of women is to stay at home, raise the children, and organize the household. Women are not encouraged to receive an education, as this is deemed unnecessary. However, if women in Afghanistan were more frequently receiving a good education, they would be able to contribute more to their society and community. Modern, well-educated women should be able to be part of all aspects of public life in Afghanistan, as this would provide Afghanistan with a lot more opportunities and potential for development and improvement. As Babi, Leila’s father puts it: “a society has no chance of success if its women are uneducated.” Afghanistan undoubtedly needs more modern women in order for its society to flourish further. By showing that modern women exist in Afghanistan, other women might feel inspired to challenge their own situation, too, and strive to become more modern themselves.

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