A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

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Chapters 30-32 Summary

The next day, Laila remains in bed. When Rasheed returns in the evening, he makes a spectacle of showing Laila the wedding band that he has bought her (he traded in Mariam’s wedding ring to make the purchase). But Laila does not want to accept such a gift and asks him to take it back. Rasheed tells her that he spent much money on the ring and then rambles on about flowers and a dress fitting. Laila interrupts him and tells him, “I’d just as soon we get it done,” and Rasheed interprets her submission as eagerness.

Laila had been planning to run away to Pakistan, but the new changes in her body make her realize that she cannot leave. Her missed menstrual cycle, full breasts, and daily nausea are all signs that Tariq is still alive in the baby growing inside her. Already Laila understands the sacrifices that a mother must make for her child. At the wedding, Laila cannot bear to look at Mariam. That night, after Rasheed is asleep, Laila punctures her finger with a knife and smears the blood on the marital sheets.

During the day, Mariam and Laila rarely cross each other’s paths, and when they do, Laila quickly apologizes for getting in Mariam’s way. However, in the evening, Rasheed insists that they all eat together as a family. At dinner one night, Rasheed compares both women to grades of cars, and Laila flashes him a glance full of hatred. Then Rasheed tells Laila that she must never leave the house without him to accompany her, claiming that it is his duty to protect her honor. He also tells her that anything that she needs will be provided by Mariam. A few days later in the yard, Laila approaches Mariam to talk about Rasheed’s orders, and Mariam tells Laila that she would rather die than take orders from Laila. But Laila does not want Mariam to act as her servant; she simply wants to thank her for having taken care of her. Mariam threatened, Laila hurt, the two women remain distanced from each other.

Laila remembers a...

(The entire section is 544 words.)