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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Student Question

What significant events occur in Chapter 5 of A Thousand Splendid Suns?

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Mariam turns 15 years old at the beginning of the chapter. She has a special wish for Jalil: Her father had already told her about a special American cartoon that was playing at his theatre, and Mariam wants to be taken to see it along with her brothers and sisters. It is Pinocchio. Jalil promises to send the car for her at 12 noon the next day, but he never shows up. Mariam decides to make the trek across the stream and up the hill for her first visit to Herat to find him. She catches a ride to Jalil's house, where she sees his car. But the chauffeur tells her that Jalil is not at home, so Mariam decides to wait. Despite the driver's protests, she spends the night outside. The next morning when the driver attempts to put her in the car to take her back home, Mariam rushes through the gate into the garden. When she looks up, she sees Jalil's face in a window. He has been there the entire time but has refused to see her. After the driver escorts her home, he tries to shield her from a horrifying sight: It is Nana's lifeless body, swinging from a rope in the weeping willow.

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