Our privilege blinds us to see the reality of others, it creates a wall that cuts us off from showing true empathy. All we are left to show is pity and happiness that that isn’t our situation. In A Thousand Splendid Suns there was a lot of diversity in different types of privilege. I took note of my privilege, because of my own past. I grew up in a rural village in Mexico. Many of my cousins, including my mother, married at a young age, had children while they themselves were still children, and married men older and less kind the they themselves.
While I try to stay aware that not everyone lives in a society where women have more rights about their bodies and support systems, at times I fail and fall behind that wall. I know that at times, I think to myself that they could do so much more than just have children. Sometime I truly believe that they could just walk out and live their lives as strong independent women. After reading this book, I feel like I saw my privilege for what it was. I got angry with myself for feeling pity and frustration at Mariam’s and Laila’s hard life. It was not that I thought these women were weak, I saw their strength in fighting to maintain some sense of normality during a time of war for their children and themselves. I cried during the escape chapter and admired their intelligence for coming up with their plan. My mom did not have an escape as tough as Mariam’s and Laila’s, but it did parallel a lot. I was a child when it happened, so I don’t remember much about it, but now I feel like I have a greater respect for my mother. My realization was partly on a level as Mariam’s when she realized all her mother did and why her mother hated her father so much.
Because of my privilege I can’t imagine myself letting a man take my future, but in these book it was so common. “A dry, barren field, out beyond wish and lament, beyond dream and disillusionment. There, the future did not matter”, Mariam is thinking about her life and it seems so empty (Hosseini, 256). But, through her husband’s eyes she lives the life other women would kill for. Through the “eyes” this book provided me with I can see the imaginary world that is the norm for others. The importance of diversity is to show those who live a bubble the rest of the world, so they can have a greater understanding of it, this book accomplished that.
Hosseini, Khaled. A Thousand Splendid Suns. Riverhead Books, 2007.