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Nadine
Posts: 2,456
Registered: ‎10-30-2006
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Three Men

[ Edited ]
The woman's lives are the focal point of this story but I also found the three men, as husbands and fathers, very interesting.

Jalil, Mariam's father had three wives, nine children and illegitimate Mariam. Although he was Moslem, he did not strike me as "king male" in his household. He certainly was controlled by his wives and caved into them over the disposal of Mariam. He didn't just throw Mariam and her mother Nana out in the street or mistreat them. He did provide for them, though it seems, with his wealth, he could have done better. However, they were taken care. He also seemed to care about his daughter and did visit her once a week. In this country, I gather most citizens considered a daughter a burden and the men seemed to want only sons. Then he caved into his wives again and rushed Mariam into an arranged marriage with someone he did not know. He still seemed to care but he just appears to be a weak man. I wonder what would have happen if Mariam had refused to sign the marriage contract.

Babi, on the other hand, seemed like a an enlightened father and husband. He really did love his daughter and provided her with every educational opportunity, whether he could afford it or not. He also appeared to be a considerate husband with a wife who was most impossible at times.

And then there is Rasheed who seems to fit the stereotype of the fundamentalist Moslem. Actually, we know the least about him. His wives exist only as his slaves to take care of his needs and provide him with sons. They are chattel to him. A daughter is a non-entity to him. He is cruel and more so since he uses Mariam as a "whipping boy" for the actions of Laila.

Babi dies in Part 2. I have not finished the book yet so I do not know the fate of the other two men, or even if they continue to be relevant. But I do find the contrasts in these men interesting. I only wish Hosseini had given us a bit more insight into Rasheed.

Message Edited by Nadine on 08-12-2007 12:41 PM
Inspired Wordsmith
Sunltcloud
Posts: 933
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Three Men

From what I have read in other books about Afghanistan, there are many variations of male behaviour - as is the case in other societies - and the intensity of male domination seems the highest in rural areas, areas where there is little support for women other than family. And we know that even families turn against their females when rules/laws are not obeyed.




Nadine wrote:
The woman's lives are the focal point of this story but I also found the three men, as husbands and fathers, very interesting.

Jalil, Mariam's father had three wives, nine children and illegitimate Mariam. Although he was Moslem, he did not strike me as "king male" in his household. He certainly was controlled by his wives and caved into them over the disposal of Mariam. He didn't just throw Mariam and her mother Nana out in the street or mistreat them. He did provide for them, though it seems, with his wealth, he could have done better. However, they were taken care. He also seemed to care about his daughter and did visit her once a week. In this country, I gather most citizens considered a daughter a burden and the men seemed to want only sons. Then he caved into his wives again and rushed Mariam into an arranged marriage with someone he did not know. He still seemed to care but he just appears to be a weak man. I wonder what would have happen if Mariam had refused to sign the marriage contract.

Babi, on the other hand, seemed like a an enlightened father and husband. He really did love his daughter and provided her with every educational opportunity, whether he could afford it or not. He also appeared to be a considerate husband with a wife who was most impossible at times.

And then there is Rasheed who seems to fit the stereotype of the fundamentalist Moslem. Actually, we know the least about him. His wives exist only as his slaves to take care of his needs and provide him with sons. They are chattel to him. A daughter is a non-entity to him. He is cruel and more so since he uses Mariam as a "whipping boy" for the actions of Laila.

Babi dies in Part 2. I have not finished the book yet so I do not know the fate of the other two men, or even if they continue to be relevant. But I do find the contrasts in these men interesting. I only wish Hosseini had given us a bit more insight into Rasheed.

Message Edited by Nadine on 08-12-2007 12:41 PM


When Mr. Hosseini was asked about the predominantly negative roles of men in his second book, he pointed to the enlightened Babi.
Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006
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Re: Hosseini's male ideal in the novel

[ Edited ]
Your wonderful post made me think about what the author would consider the male ideal.

He emphatically rejects the conventional Afhani masculine paradigm -- the petty tyrant like Rasheed, or the romanticized tribal warrior like the "brooding, charismatic Tajik commander Ahamad Shah Massoud, the Lion of Panjshir" for who Laila's two brother fight and are killed. But their mother, along with a great many others in Kabul (and the West as well), persist in idolizing his "handsome, thoughtful face" and "soulful black eyes."

In A thousand Splendid Suns, his male ideal seems to be similar to Mariam's loyal teacher, Mullah Faizullah, who advocated for Mariam to attend regular school. Another would be Laila's gentle father, Babi, or even Zaman, the generous director of the Kabul orphanage. In other words, decent, intelligent men with integrity who shun extremism of any sort.

They too are trapped in this violent culture, but unlike tyrants like Rasheed, they try to do the right thing under the most impossible circumstances.

Men not so different, I suspect, from Dr. Hosseini himself.

Message Edited by IBIS on 08-13-2007 09:51 AM
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
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englishculture
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Three Men

What about Tariq? He's obviously the antithesis of Rasheed, and he deserves some mention. He treats Laila with respect and great tenderness. He also has a mixture of intellect, sensitivity, and the ability fight if necessary.

He also took on the responsibility of raising another man's son as his own, and was overjoyed at the news that he had a daughter.
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scheeber
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎10-15-2008
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Re: Three Men

Tarq definitely was a turning point- character (so to speak) in A Thousand Splendid Suns. He proves to Laila that not everyone man in the world would hurt her. Miaram probably heard stories about him, and knowing how kind and loving he was to Laila would surely make her days fill with hope for a better tomorrow. I seem to picture him as somewhat of a superhero; he visited Laila after he was perceived as dead. He gave the two women the hope and will to get out of the situation that they were in. Miriam and Laila were already very strong women, but Tariq helped them realized how strong they really were.
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