Free Public Library
Thousand Splendid Suns
Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled
Hosseini is the story of Mariam and Laila.
Born a generation apart and with very
different ideas about love and family, these
two Afghani women are brought together by
war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the
ever escalating dangers around them, they
form a bond that makes them both sisters and
mother-daughter to each other, and that will
ultimately alter the course not just of their
own lives but of the next generation.
Khaled Hosseini was born in
, the son of a diplomat whose family received
political asylum in the
in 1980. He currently lives in
where he is a physician.
phrase, “a thousand splendid suns,”
comes from the poem by Saib-e-Tabrizi.
Discuss its thematic significance.
mother tells her: “Women like us. We
endure. It’s all we have.” Discuss
how this sentiment informs Mariam’s
life and how it relates to the larger
themes of the novel.
Mariam realizes that Rasheed intends to
marry Laila, she reacts with outrage.
Given that Laila’s presence actually
tempers Rasheed’s abuse, why is Mariam
so hostile toward Laila?
friendship with Mariam begins when she
defends Mariam from a beating by Rasheed.
Why does Laila take this action, despite
the contempt Mariam has consistently
up, Laila feels that her mother’s love
is reserved for her two brothers.
What lessons from her childhood
does Laila apply in raising her own
several points in the story, Mariam and
Laila pass themselves off as mother and
daughter. What is the symbolic importance
of this subterfuge?
In what ways is Mariam’s and
Laila’s relationship with each other
influenced by their relationships with
their own mothers?
Laila’s relationship with her father.
What aspects of his character does she
inherit? In what ways is she different?
refuses to see visitors while she is
imprisoned, and she calls no witnesses at
her trial. Why does she make these
driver who takes Babi, Laila, and Tariq
to the giant stone Buddhas above the
Bamiyan Valley describes the crumbling
fortress of Shahr-e-Zohak as “the story
of our country, one invader after
another… we’re like those walls up
there. Battered, and nothing pretty to
look at, but still standing.” Discuss
the metaphorical import of this passage
as it relates to Miriam and Laila. In
what ways does their story reflect the
larger story of
’s troubled history?
first three parts of the novel are
written in the past tense, but the final
part is written in present tense. What do
you think was the author’s intent in
making this shift? How does it change the
effect of this final section?
Questions adapted from: