Why is Sanaubar's leaving "far worse than death" in The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini?

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Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Afghanistan, which is the setting in which The Kite Runner (Hosseini) begins, the culture places great constraints upon women, and for a woman to run away from her husband was unthinkable, a disgrace which is probably difficult for most of us today in the western world to understand. It is perhaps akin to the disgrace of a woman doing something like this 150 years ago in the United States. Not only did Sanaubar run away; she ran away with "a clan of traveling singers and dancers" (6). While some Muslims engage in singing and dancing, large numbers of Muslims believe these activities to be completely forbidden if men and women are together. Had the culture permitted this, a troupe of singers and dancers would likely be well beyond the pale; at the very least, the women are not likely to be appropriately garbed. If one's mother dies, that is sad. If one's mother runs off as Sanaubar does, that is even worse for the family, who now has a family member who disgraced the entire family.

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The Kite Runner

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