Study Guide

A Thousand Splendid Suns Women and Femininity

By Khaled Hosseini

Women and Femininity

If there's one subject that A Thousand Splendid Suns focuses on, it's the nature of women. Laila and Mariam live through a rough period for women's rights in Afghanistan. They're controlled by the government, treated as property by their husbands, and forbidden from taking part in society. Yet, through their strength and resilience, the two women are able to overcome these obstacles. It might not always be pretty, but that's the point. The women in the novel aren't like Princess Peach waiting for their Mario—they're incredibly tough women trying to take control of their own lives.

Questions About Women and Femininity

  1. How do the differences between Mariam and Laila's upbringings affect their views on women's place in society?
  2. How do the lives of women change during the different regimes in Afghanistan?
  3. Based on the events of the novel, would you say that Nana's advice on the relationship between women and men is true? Why or why not?
  4. How does the novel view motherhood?

Chew on This

While many novels define femininity as soft or sensitive, A Thousand Splendid Suns uses characters like Mariam and Laila to show that femininity is actually defined by inner strength and courage.

A Thousand Splendid Suns argues that men's fear of women does not only damage the individuals involved, but also society as a whole.