The Kite Runner and a Thousand Splendid Suns: A Summary


The Kite Runner and a Thousand Splendid Suns: A Summary

Many people lead a happy life with secrets, which they feel that if exposed, they will be disgraced to the society, to their friends and family. When people are in this situation, they lose hope in themselves. Khaled Hosseini shows through The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns that whatever happens there is always a second chance that fate gives you to make up for what you have done in the past. Hosseini shows that when family secrets are revealed it will lead to abashment, and results in suffering, humiliation, and pain. In order not to lose hope you have to fight, or forgive.

This hopeful message of Khaled Hosseini in The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns is that although family secrets lead to shame and suffering, the only way to right past wrongs is through forgiveness that leads to redemption. Secrets within a family result in unhappiness and lasting in disgrace. In The Kite Runner, Hosseini shows secrets can bring shame through each person in the household. Whether it is Baba, Amir, Hassan, Ali, Rahim, they all have secrets. For example when Amir was hiding and watching Hassan getting raped, he says “I opened my mouth, almost said something.

Almost, the rest of my life might have turned out differently if I had. But I didn’t I just watched Paralyzed. ” (Hosseini 78). Amir received a chance to stand up for Hassan or run away to protect himself and he chose to run. Amir never told Hassan that he was hiding in the ally and that he had watched him get raped. Amir accidently stumbles upon the rape scene and continues to watch because he feared Assef and his gang. He does not want to get hurt because he has a family reputation to protect. People would talk; a Pashtun saving a Hazara is unheard of in Afghanistan.

When Hassan comes home, Amir and Hassan never play together anymore, they used to play together, read stories, but everything changes from that day forward because Amir decided not to stand up and fight Assef. As a result Amir would suffer from his shame for many years. Instead of sharing this atrocity with Baba, Amir tells Baba that Hassan stole his watch and money. When Ali and Hassan heard this they both leave the house to seek a new home in Bamiyan. From that day Amir regrets his decisions as he lost his friend and his brother to a stupid lie that Amir said.

Amir never gets a chance to say sorry. For years Amir thought the Haara that he would play with, the Hazara that would stand up for him, the Hazara that people pointed at, was Amir’s brother. Baba had a mistress and Hassan was their offspring. Amir is evident in this following scene when he is talking to Rahim Khan: “He and Sanaubar had Hassan, didn’t they? They had Hassan”. “No they didn’t”… ” Then who—“ “I think you know who”… ” Did Hassan Know. ”… ”You bastards, I muttered stood up you goddamn bastards! I screamed all of you; you bunch of lying goddamn bastards! ”How could you hide this from me? From him? ”… ”Please think Amir Jan it was a shameful situation. People would talk. ” ”I’m thirty-eight years old and just found out that my whole life is one big fucking lie! ” (Hosseini 234)

This secret was kept for nearly three decades. Baba never told this to anyone except Rahim Khan and Ali, because Baba was worried about his reputation and his honour. If he had told this to everyone, people would disrespect him and this would have affected his position in society. He never told anyone, because Hassan and his mother were Hazaras and Baba is a Pashtun.

People hated the Hazaras therefore a Hazara child being a Pashtun’s son is very rare and socially unacceptable even more so in a wealthy family. A Hazara and a Pashtun are not always a good combination in an Afghan culture because you will be chastised from both sides, and the only way Baba could protect his honour is by not telling anyone, not even Amir. Whenever Amir and Hassan walked, Assef would target Hassan more than Amir because Hassan was a Hazara. This reflected the cultural norm where Pashtuns always target Hazaras because they are the minority in Afghanistan.

If Baba or Amir stood up for Hassan, then they would be questioned as to why they stood up for a Hazara, then Baba’s secret would have been revealed. If Amir wants escape from this painful secret and the regret then he has to past make wrongs right. At the end Baba dies a weak man, lonely man, with regret; it takes Amir to restore justice. Like The Kite Runner that shows how secrets can lead to family shame, so does A Thousand Splendid Suns. When you are born a Harami you stay a Harami, and when you are called a Mistress you stay a mistress no matter what happens you will be remembered has a mistress or a Harami.

This same situation happens with the characters of A Thousand Splendid Suns, Mariam and Nana. When Nana is with her friends, when she talks about how Jalil said she was the mistress and that she forced him to do this act: “Jalil didn’t have the dil either, nana said, to so the honourable thing to stand up to his family, to his wives and in-laws, and accept responsibility for what he had done. ”” You know what he had told his wives by way of defence? That I forced myself on him, that it was my fault” (Hosseini Pg. 6) Nana is a housekeeper, which means she is from a family with low regard in the cast system.

Jalil took the wrong decision of being in an affair with Nana, and he has no intension of marrying her because she is from a poor family Jalil also has a family of three wives and multiple children. Time passed and Nana when gets pregnant Jalil finds out; he took her to the woods, although Jalil provided them with a home, with food. Every week Jalil would come and meet Nana and Mariam. The only reason he does not accept them is because she is poor, and got pregnant before marriage, and therefore had a Harami (bastard) child.

Jalil, who has a legitimate family, never accepts them because he fears people will talk about them. Jalil is a well connected wealthy man, and has a family reputation to sustain, “He was one of Herat’s best-connected men, friend of the mayor and the provincial governor. “ (Hosseini 6) He cannot just kick all that to the side just for a housekeeper, and a Harami child. Hosseini further shows the presence of secrets in another horrible life of a young girl named Laila. Due to war, their relationship does not have a chance to live up to what they have dreamed about.

They are in love she ends up pregnant, yet war drives Tariq away and makes him leave everything, and everyone. Tariq had sworn to Laila that he would come back but she doesn’t know how and when. In this waiting phase Laila loses her parents and she was left on the road, Rasheed comes and picks her up and brings her to his home. Laila had no other choice but to accept the offer, because of Tariq’s baby that is in her womb and to survive. By taking this decision Laila has to tell many lies, and the first lie starts on the first day of their marriage.

Later, when she was sure that he was asleep, Laila quietly reached beneath the mattress for the knife she had hidden there earlier. With it she punctured the pad of her index finger then she lifted the blanket and let her finger bleed on the sheets where they had lain together. ”(Hosseini 197) In order for Laila to save the baby, she must do a dishonourable act. If she gets kicked out, then they both do not have a chance of survival, but if they do survive then Laila would lose her reputation and her child would be called a Harami.

Laila was forced to make this decision by the society, by her child; Mariam had to make this agreement because she has no one to support her in life. These secrets create suffering before they make things right, we have to acknowledge the obstacles that causes the suffering. Khaled Hosseini of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns show that families secrets result in will defiantly see shame and suffering by what they have done in their life, or what others are doing to them in their life. The humiliation brings pain to the person, their family, and loved ones.

This incident occurs in The Kite Runner when Amir sees Hassan getting raped. As a result, it changes the whole friendship between Amir and Hassan after the rape scene. Amir said to Hassan Post the rape scene “I (Amir) want you to stop harassing me; I want you to go away. I snapped. ” (Hosseini 94) What Amir wants to do over here is that he wants Hassan to beat him up, slap him, and say names to him because Amir is embarrassed in front of Hassan, he wants to get a punishment, but Hassan does not do anything to Amir because the pain that Hassan has gone though, he will never forget.

Hassan has no hard feelings for Amir, but he is acting this way because whenever Amir would get in a fight he would stand up for him, but when Hassan is getting beaten up, he does not stand up and fight back instead, watches like a coward. When Amir knew that Hassan will not beat him up, Amir finds a way to kick him out of the house because he could not stand Hassan being around him and keep on remembering what he had done was wrong. Amir is humiliated that he could not stand up for Hassan, and also lied to Hassan, Baba, and Ali.

When Amir told Baba that we should get new servants and get rid of Hassan and Ali, Baba got mad so this plan did not work out for Amir: “Baba have you ever thought about getting new servants”…”why would I ever want to do that? Baba said curtly” …” Is this about you and Hassan? I know there’s something going on between you two, but whatever it is you have to deal with it, not me, I’m staying out of it. ”(Hosseini 95) Amir got rejected. By this Baba is very close to Hassan because only Baba and Ali know that Hassan is Baba’s son, and if he leaves this house Baba will be broken and sad.

Baba loves Hassan as much as he does Amir, and Baba will never lose Hassan at any cost. Now Amir he has to get rid of Hassan by accusing him of stealing money or a watch, Amir gets his money and watch that he got for his birthday, and went to Hassan huts and put it under Hassan matters, “Then I took a couple of the envelopes of cash from the pile of gifts and my watch, and tiptoed out. ”…”Entered Ali and Hassans living quarters by the loquat tree. I lifted Hassan mattress and planted my new watch and a handful of Afghani bills under it. ” “I waited another thirty minutes.

Then I knocked on Baba’s door and told what I hoped would be the last in a long line of shameful lies. ”(Hosseini 110) Amir had no other choice but to do this, because he could no longer suffer. By doing this Hassan has been accused of being a theft, although Baba forgave Hassan, but Ali did not want to stay, and they leave. As a result Amir does not get peace, Amir gets restless, and by Hassan leaving, it brings pain, suffering, and makes him hate himself. Becasue he never gets chance to say sorry, to Hassan, tell him that how coward he is to not stand up for him.

After this day Amir is in search of how and when to say sorry to Hassan. Other places where pain happens throughout The Kite Runner, is when Amir went to Afghanistan and rescued Hassan son Sohrab. The Taliban kidnapped Sohrab and Amir went to rescue him and he did, but Sohrab thought he was dirty so he said no one wants to touch me: “Because I don’t want them to see me…I’m so dirty”… “I’m so dirty and full of sin”…”Those men—they did things…the bad man and the other two they did things…did thing to me. ”(Hosseini 335) Sohrab has lost hope in himself, in life, because of what he has gone through.

What the bad people do to him, Sohrab thinks he is full of sin and people would make fun of him. He is so hurt that he hates himself; he has become a living statute. By this much pain and suffering one goes through, they will hope for a better, time, life and a better zindagi. Pain and suffering happens to both of the characters in A Thousand Splendid Suns. Mariam was a Harami (bastard) child, even though she did not know the meaning of the word Harami, but she is hoping to go to her dads house and live with him, her sisters, brothers, and would have a happy life.

When Mariam goes to her dads house the outcome is unpleasant: “I’m here to see Jalil Khan I’m Mariam, his daughter. ”…”Let me in the house” “I’ve been instructed not to, look no one knows when he’s coming back it could be days. ” “This is enough. You’ve made a scene. ” “Jalil khan says that I need to take you home. ”(Hosseini 30) Mariam is very hurt that Jalil does not let her in the house, no matter how hard Mariam tried to go into the house she was not allowed in because she was a Harami child. When Miriam’s mother dies, she went to her dad’s house, but it was not permanently.

In less than a week Mariam was married off to a 45 year old guy. After that day on, Mariam just hated Jalil because of what he did to her, and that he did not stand up for her, and accepted her, this really humiliated Mariam in front of everyone. When Mariam was married of to Rasheed, she did not see a happy day, until Laila comes into the family, at first Mariam and Laila were not good to each other, but as days past they became good friends and they made a plan to escape. When Rasheed got insanely mad, he beats up Laila, he is trying to kill her today, “without saying a word he swung the belt at Laila”…”Rasheed swung the belt again. (Hosseini Pg. 308)

This is when Laila is eventually going to die because Rasheed has gone crazy. Rasheed wants to kill Laila today because he finds out that Aziza is a Harami child, and Tariq is her father, and also that Laila had met Tariq. Rasheed did this because he does not want other people talking, touching her wives, and it makes him mad when that happens, and that when his own wives are teaming up on him, “In the tool shed, Mariam grabbed the shovel”…”She said his name, she wanted him to see. Rasheed he looked up. Mariam swung.

“She turned it to the sharp edge that was vertical, and as she did, it occurred to her that this was the first time that she was deciding the course of her own life. And with that Mariam brought down the shovel. This time she gave it everything she had. ”(Hosseini Pg. 310-311) Both Laila and Mariam were tired of this abusing life, tired of getting beaten up, and pushed around for no reason. This is why Mariam had to take this decision because fate had given her the second chance to make things right and she did not think twice and took the opportunity to kill Rasheed.

Mariam is like Amir from The Kite Runner, She never stands up for herself, or others, she is very sensitive, she fears that she will get hurt. On this day she does not fear, because she is doing the right thing, she is standing up or what is wrong. By Mariam standing up for what is wrong, she ends all the bad things that have happened in their lives. Both Mariam and Laila were fed up with the abusing that they would get from Rasheed every day, the pain, so they took action and ended all this.

Although Mariam died, she died proud and without any regret, she gave freedom to herself and Laila Hosseini shows that in spite of the overwhelming feeling of shame, there is also hope. Hosseini shows through his main characters, Amir, Mariam, and Laila, that when fate gave them a second chance, they seized the opportunity, and eventually they claimed their pride. Amir gets a second chance to make things right by getting Sohrab and facing his fears by fighting Assef in Afghanistan: “We have some unfinished business, you and I”, Assef said. “You remember don’t you? “All right” I said “When it’s all done only one of us will walk out of this room alive Assef said. ””If it’s him, then he’s earned his freedom and you let him pass, do you understand? ”(Hosseini 300)

This is the first time Amir stood up for someone, he risks his life to make things right, to achieve his pride back. Amir has gotten a second chance to do so, and Amir never lets this chance go by. This redeems him by facing his fears. Amir presented a new life to Sohrab, by taking him to America: “Mr. Faisal thinks there is a way I can take you to America with me. ” “He does when can we go? (Hosseini 357) By doing this Amir is redeeming his crowdedness, by protecting Sohrab because he failed to protect Hassan and Amir does not want to lose Sohrab at any cost. When they both come to America, Sohrab is a living statue; he does not talk, does not play with anyone.

Sohrab just sits quietly doing nothing. When they go to the park, Amir runs for the kite, It makes Shorab smile a little and that smile says that there is still hope: “It was only a smile, noting more, it didn’t make everything all right, it didn’t make anything all right only a smile, a tiny thing, a leaf in the woods shaking in the wake of a started bird’s flight. (Hosseini Pg. 391)

Amir brought Sohrab from an orphanage to a home, to a family, because Baba could not do the same with Hassan, by Amir doing this it right Baba’s wrongs. By Sohrab just showing a tiny smile made Amir happy that there is still hope that Sohrab could be better again. Hosseini shows through the characters that they are shameful, but that does not mean they have to lose hope, there is still that one smile, one little hope left to live life to the fullest. If life gives them a second chance seized the opportunity.

This is also what Mariam and Laila do in A Thousand Splendid Suns. When a young woman in an Afghan society has no one in her life, then she is married off in hope that she will survive the devastating circumstances occurring in Afghanistan at present time. The same arises with Mariam. When her mother dies she has no other option but to get married. As a result, she marries Rasheed. In Jalil’s eyes, Mariam becomes ill-worthy of his respect. Mariam is very loyal to Rasheed. She did whatever she could to please him, but Rasheed is an animal.

He would abuse her every day; there has not been a day where she is not ill-treated. Mariam waited years to get a chance where she could run out of her setting. She gets this chance when Laila joins the family, and they flee, like freeing birds from their cage. Mariam and Laila are fed up with the abuse. They escape with Tariq and her children, and Mariam gets arrested of killing her husband, but she is happy. She has no regrets what so ever, because she is now free. Mariam was then taken to Ghazi Stadium and is stoned to death. “Knell the Talib said”… Knell here hamshira, and look down. ”

“One last time, Mariam did as she was told. ”(Hosseini 329) Mariam is happy that she is going to die, because she is fed up with the world calling her Harami, and that she was being abused every day. By dying she gives freedom to herself; Mariam dies proud. She also gives freedom to Laila when they escape with Tariq and go to Pakistan. Laila’s parents die in a bomb blast and she is left all alone on the streets of Kabul. Rasheed finds her and brings her home and then marries Laila the next day.

Laila agrees, because there was no other choice, just like Mariam. Laila sees how Rasheed abuses Mariam, and becomes friends with Mariam and they make a plan to escape. Laila and Mariam both get a second chance to escape these horrendous lives that they are living and that is exactly what they do; they did not let the opportunity go by Laila is pregnant with Tariq’s baby, and they are coming up with names, and they all pick one. If it is a girl Laila knows what she will name her, she is going to Tribute Mariam by naming her daughter Mariam: Tariq likes Mohammed.

Zalmai, who has recently watched superman on tape, is puzzled as to why an afghan boy cannot be named Clark. Aziza is campaigning hard for Aman. Laila likes omer. But the game involves only male names because if it is a girl Laila has already named her. (Hosseini 367) By Laila naming her child after Mariam she shows her love, and respect for Mariam. It also ensures that Mariam is not forgotten. In both The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns Hosseini illustrates that one should not lose hope in themselves, no matter what disasters strike.

One should not lose hope, because one day they will get the chance to make things right. While Amir, Mariam, and Laila had secrets and were told secrets that they could not share, they suffered though pain, and humiliation. They receive a second chance to make things right. The journeys the characters venture through illustrate the main moral of the story; that hope most not be lost in difficult circumstances because fate will deliver its second chance to heal life and fill it with love, happiness and aspirations.

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