Study Guide

A Thousand Splendid Suns Poverty

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Poverty becomes a crippling problem in A Thousand Splendid Suns. We see its psychological effects on characters like Rasheed and Aziza. Characters that used to be vibrant and energetic, like Zalmai, become lethargic and inactive as they suffer through poverty.

That's not to say the novel is all about being broke. Sure, we see the effects of systemic poverty, with even hospitals desperately short on cash, but we also see how war only makes the situation worse. In the end, it's only the strength of the human spirit that gets the characters in this novel through all the hardship.

Questions About Poverty

  1. What psychological effects does poverty have on Aziza?
  2. How did Rasheed's loss of his shop change him? How does it affect his relationship with the other characters?
  3. What effects does widespread poverty have on Kabul as a whole?
  4. What causes Kabul's economic collapse?

Chew on This

Poverty is represented like a disease in A Thousand Splendid Suns. The experience of living in impoverished circumstances has undeniable physical and psychological effects on those involved.

Rasheed and the Taliban—two representations of corrupt male authority—use the fear of poverty to maintain control over women.

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