Out Of The Ruins Essay

1230 words - 5 pages

Out of the Ruins
Out of the ruins of a crumbled city and a tortured life, we can still find unbelievable strength. In A Thousand Splendid Suns, Mariam and the city of Kabul symbolically follow a similar path. Mariam is belittled by her mother, abandoned by her father and, beaten by her husband but opens her heart long enough to find love and acceptance from Laila and her children. All the while, Kabul, the beautiful and prosperous city positioned at the base of the Hindu Kush Mountains is bombed and destroyed and then given new life. The book uses symbolism and metaphors to tell a story of the power of loyalty and devotion, the human capacity for evil, and the remarkable inner ...view middle of the document...

Nana once told her that to endure was the only skill she would ever need (18). Later, after her first miscarriage, while watching the snow falling, Mariam would recall her mother telling her, “…that each snowflake was a sigh heaved by an aggrieved woman somewhere in the world. That all the sighs drifted up the sky, gathered into clouds, then broke into tiny pieces that fell silently on the people below” (91). The snowflakes are a metaphor for the suffering of women and a reminder of the only skill Nana told her she would ever need: to endure. With this memory, Mariam realizes that along with her mother’s negative portrayal of life, she taught her valuable lessons. These lessons illustrated Nana’s loyalty and devotion despite the dysfunction of their lives. As the story progresses, we see that Mariam holds on tightly to her mother’s advice and excels at perfecting the lesson of how to endure.
Mariam spends the rest of her life married to a man who places little to no value on Mariam as a person, let alone, as his wife. Rasheed is a man who believes that he must maintain power and control over his wife. Her only purpose in life and all the she is capable of is serving him. This is initially depicted in the novel when he leaves Mariam “…to wait out the pain down below, to look at the frozen stars in the sky and a cloud that draped the face of the moon like a wedding veil” (77). The loss of the light of the moon is compared to the horrible way in which Rasheed uses his wife, beginning with the consummation of their marriage. Rasheed and his incomprehensible abuse and control are the perfect example of the human capacity for evil.
Mariam’s marriage to Rasheed would prove to be a relationship of great pain, but would also lead her to Laila. Their relationship starts off poorly because Laila is the second wife of Rasheed. He constantly compares the two women in a way that leaves Mariam feeling inferior and insecure. Mariam soon realizes, though, that Laila has great strength and a kind heart. They quickly discover that they need each other to both give and find strength throughout the course of their lives. Mariam had grown to believe that, “love was a damaging mistake, and its accomplice, hope, a treacherous illusion. And whenever those twin poisonous flowers began to sprout…Mariam uprooted them. But somehow, Laila and Aziza had become extensions of her, and now, without them, the life Mariam had tolerated for so long suddenly seemed tolerable” (256). The bond formed between Mariam and Laila would be the demise of Rasheed and would...

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