Women`s struggle against gender discrimination as seen through the major characters in Khaled Hossein`s a Thousand Splendid Suns - USD Repository

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WOMEN’S STRUGGLE AGAINST

GENDER DISCRIMINATION

AS SEEN THROUGH THE MAJOR CHARACTERS

  

IN KHALED HOSSEINI’S A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS

AN UNDERGRADUATE THESIS

  Presented as Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Sarjana Sastra in English Letters

  By

LUCIA ERI STYANINGSIH

  Student Number: 064214066

  

ENGLISH LETTERS STUDY PROGRAMME

DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH LETTERS

FACULTY OF LETTERS

SANATA DHARMA UNIVERSITY

YOGYAKARTA

  

WOMEN’S STRUGGLE AGAINST

GENDER DISCRIMINATION

AS SEEN THROUGH THE MAJOR CHARACTERS

  

IN KHALED HOSSEINI’S A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS

AN UNDERGRADUATE THESIS

  Presented as Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Sarjana Sastra in English Letters

  By

LUCIA ERI STYANINGSIH

  Student Number: 064214066

  

ENGLISH LETTERS STUDY PROGRAMME

DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH LETTERS

FACULTY OF LETTERS

SANATA DHARMA UNIVERSITY

YOGYAKARTA

2010

  

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

  First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to The Almighty God,

  

Jesus Christ for His blessing and guidance since through the year especially in

the process of finishing my thesis.

  I am particularly grateful to Adventina Putranti, S.S., M.Hum, my advisor for her great understanding and patience in supporting me during the writing process of this thesis. I also wish to express my gratitude to my co- advisor Drs. Hirmawan Wijanarka, M.Hum for giving advice on this thesis.

  I would also like to show my proper appreciation to all lecturers of English Letters Department and to all of the staff of Faculty of Letters, Sanata Dharma University.

  My greatest gratitude is also dedicated to my beloved parents and sisters. My father: Karyono Wignyotanoyo, my mother: Sri Wiryanti, S.Pd, my sisters:

  

Agustina Dwi Widyaningsih and Fransiska Dina Aryanti. Thank you so much

for the love, prayers and support you have given me.

  My sincere gratitude goes to Alex Budiyanto, S.T. for his caring, support, tender love and great patience.

  To all my classmates of Sastra’06 especially Siska, Via, Mella, Ionk and Elis, thank you so much for the great friendship and care for all these times.

  Finally, to anyone whom I do not mention here but have given me a hand, I want to say thank you.

  Lucia Eri Styaningsih

  TABLE OF CONTENTS TITLE PAGE ................................................................................... i

APPROVAL PAGE ........................................................................ ii

ACCEPTANCE PAGE ………………………………………….. iii

Lembar Pernyataan Persetujuan …………………………………….. iv

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ……………………………………... v

TABLE OF CONTENTS ………………………………………… vi

ABSTRACT ………………………………………………………. viii

ABSTRAK ………………………………………………………… ix

  CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION A. Background of the Study ……………………………....

  1 B. Problem Formulation ………………………………….

  5 C. Objective of the Study …………………………………

  5 D. Definition of Terms ……………………………………

  6 CHAPTER II: THEORITICAL REVIEW A. Review of Related Studies ……………………………..

  7 B. Review of Related Theories ……………………………

  9

  1. Theories of Characters and Characterization ……

  9 2. Theories of Setting ……………………………..

  12 3. Theories of Gender …………………………….

  13

  th th

  C. Review on the Late 19 and Early 20 Century of Afghanistan ……………………………………………..

  15 D. Theoretical Framework ………………………………..

  19 CHAPTER III: METHODOLOGY

  A. Object of the Study ………………………………………

  21 B. Approach of the Study …………………………………...

  22 C. Method of the Study ……………………………………..

  23 CHAPTER IV: ANALYSIS

  A. The Portrayal of the Two Major Characters ……………

  25 1. Characters of Mariam ………………………….

  25 2. Characters of Laila …………………………….

  36 B. The Description of the Society ………………………...

  47 1. The Description of Time and Place ……………..

  47 2. The Characteristics of the Society …………….

  53 C. The Struggle Against Gender Discrimination Reflected through Mariam and Laila …………………………….

  61

  1. The Struggle to Get Freedom of Choice in the Society …………………………………………

  61

  2. The Struggle to Get the Same Opportunity in

  3. The Struggle to Equality between Wife and Husband in Marriage …………………….

  76

  4. The Struggle to Get the Same Position in front of the Law ………………………………………

  82 CHAPTER V: CONCLUSION ……………………………….

  84 BIBLIOGRAPHY ……………………………………………..

  88

  

ABSTRACT

  Lucia Eri Styaningsih (2010): Women’s Struggle Against Gender

  

Discrimination as Seen through the Major Characters in Khaled Hosseini’s A

Thousand Splendid Suns. Yogyakarta: English Letters Department, Faculty of

Letters, Sanata Dharma University.

  The thesis discusses the novel of Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid

  

Suns. The novel is worth-discussing because it deals with modern woman issues

  which also happen in many societies. The novel presents Mariam and Laila as the main characters who struggle against gender discrimination in Afghanistan.

  There are three objectives in conducting this research. The first objective is to reveal the characteristics of the major characters. The second one is to know what kind of society the author describes in the novel. The last objective is to know the struggle against gender discrimination reflected through the major characters.

  In conducting the thesis, the writer employs library research. Primary data are gained from the novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns. Whereas, the secondary data used in answering the problems are collected from some relevant and supporting references. The writer also applies the socio-cultural historical approach proposed by Rohrberger because literary work cannot be separated from its civilization in every period. In additional, the theory of gender is utilized to know the struggle against gender discrimination reflected through the major characters.

  The result of the analysis shows that the major characters struggle against gender discrimination. They show some characteristics that make them different from other women in the patriarchal society they are living in. Mariam is described as an obedient woman. She is also imaginative, patient, honest, critical and wise. This characteristics form her to obey almost all the rules for women in her society although actually she criticizes those rules to show her struggle against gender discrimination. Unlike Mariam, Laila is described as attentive, smart, courageous, confident and independent person. These make her aware of her rights as a woman in the society. Laila shows something different to the society that women are not a weak creature. Mariam and Laila struggle to get freedom of choice in the society, to get the same opportunity in education and career, to get equality in marriage and they also struggle to get the same position in front of the law.

  

ABSTRAK

  Lucia Eri Styaningsih (2010): Women’s Struggle Against Gender

  

Discrimination as Seen through the Major Characters in Khaled Hosseini’s A

Thousand Splendid Suns. Yogyakarta: English Letters Department, Faculty of

Letters, Sanata Dharma University.

  Thesis ini membahas tentang novel karangan Khaled Hosseini berjudul A

  

Thousand Splendid Suns. Novel ini layak untuk dikaji karena berkaitan dengan isu

  tentang wanita yang juga terjadi di berbagai masyarakat. Novel tersebut menampilkan Mariam and Laila sebagai tokoh utamanya yang berjuang melawan diskriminasi gender di Afghanistan.

  Ada tiga perumusan tujuan dalam menulis skripsi ini. Yang pertama adalah untuk mengungkap karakteristik kedua tokoh utama. Yang kedua adalah mengetahui karakteristik masyarakat yang dideskripsikan oleh pengarang. Tujuan terakhir adalah untuk mengetahui perjuangan melawan diskriminasi gender yang direfleksikan melalui kedua tokoh utama.

  Dalam melaksanakan penelitiannya, penulis menggunakan studi pustaka. Data primer skripsi ini diperoleh dari novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns. Sedangkan data sekunder yang digunakan untuk menjawab pertanyaan-pertanyaan diatas diperoleh dari beberapa referensi yang relevan dan mendukung. Penulis juga menggunakan pendekatan sosio-kultural-historis yang dikemukakan oleh Rohrberger sebab karya sastra dalam pembahasannya memiliki nilai sejarah.

  Selain itu digunakan juga teori gender yang berguna untuk mengetahui bagaimana perjuangan melawan diskriminasi gender direfleksikan melalui kedua tokoh utama.

  Hasil analisis memperlihatkan bahwa kedua tokoh utama berjuang melawan diskriminasi gender. Mereka memperlihatkan karakteristik yang berbeda dengan wanita-wanita lain dalam masyarakat patriarkal dimana mereka tinggal. Mariam digambarkan sebagai wanita penurut. Dia juga memiliki sifat imajinatif, sabar, jujur, kritis dan bijaksana. Karakteristik ini membentuknya untuk selalu mematuhi hampir semua peraturan untuk perempuan di masyarakat walaupun kenyataanya dia mengkritisi semua peraturan tersebut untuk menunjukkan perjuangannya melawan diskriminasi gender. Berbeda dengan Mariam, Laila digambarkan sebagai seorang yang penyayang, cerdas, pemberani, percaya diri dan mandiri. Karakteristik ini membuatnya selalu sadar akan haknya sebagai seorang wanita dalam masyarakat. Laila memperlihatkan sesuatu yang berbeda kepada masyarakat bahwa wanita bukan makhluk yang lemah. Mariam dan Laila berjuang untuk mendapatkan kebebasan dalam memilih dalam masyarakat, kesempatan yang sama dalam pendidikan, kesetaraan posisi dalam pernikahan, dan mereka juga berjuang untuk mendapatkan posisi yang sama didepan hukum.

CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION A. Background of the Study Men, consciously or unconsciously, have oppressed women. Allowing

  women little or no voice in the political, social, or economic issues. By not giving voices and value to women, men have therefore suppressed the women. Men have made women the ”non-significant Other”. Female is not male, and therefore becomes “the Other” (Bressler, 1990: 42).

  In reality there is still much gender discrimination. Until nowadays, in many places, women’s position is lower than men. In the Western countries like United State and England, the government and society has permitted the equality between men and women. However, in the Middle East countries like Egypt, Arab, Pakistan, and Afghanistan women’s position are lower than men. It means that women have no enough power in the society.

  National identity in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, and recently Afghanistan is being molded on the basis of the Islamicisation of civil society, and severe curtailment of freedom for women (Loomba, 1998: 226). This is the real situation of women who live in those countries.

  Montagu in her book, The Superiority of Women, states that men have power over women. They control women in many ways and let them to be dependent to men. People assume that women cannot do work better than men do

  To release themselves from this wrong assumption women have to realize that they are not inferior. Women have to be aware of their rights. After centuries living under oppression, women start to react against gender discrimination. Women struggle to gain their rights. They want to get the equality between men and women. As a woman, the writer is interested in observing deeply about discrimination of man and woman.

  The writer takes a novel titled A Thousand Splendid Suns which is written by Khaled Hosseini in 2007, to be explored because the relationship between the main characters with the society and the people around them in the novel has arisen interest to the writer. This is the story of two strong Afghan women of different ages from different areas. They are Mariam and Laila. They represent the women in Afghanistan. There is the imbalance relationship between men and women within which women are positioned to be subordinate to men. They do not get many rights in their life as women. They do not get their rights because of the environment around them, like the family and the society especially in the difficult political times that moment.

  Khaled Hosseini is one of the examples of male writers who are interested in women’s issues. Hosseini's depiction of Mariam and Laila's plight would seem a sadly accurate version of what many Afghan women have experienced. Mariam and Laila live under gender discrimination in the society. As in reality Afghanistan is an Islamic country, women who are living in Afghanistan get severe curtailment of freedom as what Loomba has stated before.

  In the novel, the author does not only focus on the two main female characters but he also describes the situation in Afghanistan in 1954-2003 when the story took place. Jacobs and Robert state that the setting influence characters. The surroundings where the characters live in portray the characters themselves (1987:191). This novel reflects the way of life and way of thinking of the society in Afghanistan in 1954-2003. There are many volatile events of Afghanistan's last thirty years. Political unrest, deteriorating law and order situation, years of wars have left Afghanistan bleeding and made millions of Afghanis homeless and destitute. The two major characters, Mariam and Laila also suffer from it. The government pressure and religious movements became the great influence to the society and characters in the novel. The writer is interested in two major characters who are struggling against gender discrimination.

  According to Wellek and Warren there is a relationship between literature and society that “literature is an expression of society (1963:95). It means that the author inevitable expresses his experience and total conception of life. The situation and condition of the society may also express in the literary work as the setting of the story even as the author’s critical view toward the society. By reading a literary work, readers can learn about the social life and its values and the social issues in a certain period.

  There are many regimes in Afghanistan; one of the most crucial times in the novel toward women’s condition is under Taliban reign. Since the Taliban became a military and political force in late 1994, women and girls in Afghanistan were systematically discriminated against and marginalized, and their human rights were violated. This resulted in the deteriorating economic and social conditions of women and girls in all areas of the country, in particular in areas under Taliban control. Women and girls continued to be severely restricted in their access to education, health care facilities and employment.

  In A Thousand Splendid Suns, through Mariam and Laila’s characters the novel reveals the struggle against gender discrimination which is applied in the modern era in the novel. Both of them struggle to get their rights in their life and brave to face bad situation toward women in Afghanistan especially in the crucial political time under Taliban.

  From the reasons conveyed above, the writer is interested in analyzing Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns from gender study’s point of view.

  The writer will analyze Mariam and Laila’s personality to see how they struggle to get their rights that reflects the struggle against gender discrimination. As Mariam and Laila shows different personality toward the women’s condition in Afghanistan. They are brave against old thought that exists in the society which positions men as the center power and women as weak creatures that always dependent to men. They want to break those wrong assumptions. The writer gets the struggle against gender discrimination through the major characters based on their characteristics, their way of thinking and the way they struggle against the patriarchal society where they live in.

  B. Problem Formulations

  This thesis will discuss the idea of feminism in Khaled Hoseini’s A

  

Thousand Splendid Suns. Therefore based in this literary work, the problem

  formulations which will help focus the discussion are:

  1. How are the major characters of A Thousand Splendid Suns presented?

  2. How is the society in which the characters live described in the novel?

  3. How is the struggle against gender discrimination reflected through the major characters?

  C. Objectives of the Study

  In this study, there are three objectives of study. The first, the writer wants to reveal the description of the major characters in the novel. The author describes the major characters in specific way.

  The second objective is to know what kind of society the author describes in the novel. The writer wants to know the situation and circumstances that become the background of the major characters.

  The third objective of this research is to know the struggle against gender discrimination presented through the major characters as the result of their struggle to face the condition in the society which positions men as the central power and women as weak creature that always dependent to men.

D. Definition of Terms

  There are some terms to be explicated in order to gain clear explanation and avoid misunderstanding to the readers. The terms are:

  1. Discrimination Negative behavior directed toward some group. Discrimination as the term used here, is behavior that is unfair to a group target. Discrimination can be practiced by an individual or an institution. In most instances, discrimination is directed against a relatively powerless group by members of a powerful dominant group.

  2. Gender Gender refer to ways of seeing and representing people and situation based on sex difference (Goodman, 1996 : vii). While Maggie Hum states gender as “ A culturally-shaped group of attributed and behaviors given to the female of the male” (1990: 84)

  3. Character According to the Glossary of Literary Terms, character means the person presented in a dramatic or narrative work who is interpreted by the readers as being endowed with moral and dispositional quality that are expressed in what they say, the dialogue and by what they do the action. (Abrams, 1981:20)

CHAPTER II THEORETICAL REVIEW In this chapter, the writer focuses on various studies and theories related to

  the literary work discussed. It includes the reviews from many critics and some theory of character and characterization, setting, and gender.

A. Review of Related Studies

  Rosalina Dau, one of the alumni of Sanata Dharma University writes a thesis based on gender study. Her thesis which entitled Ideas of Feminism

  

Revealed through the Main Character in Chewlow’s Not Married Not Bothered

  emphasizes on the struggle against gender discrimination that the main character does. Rosalina Dau shows the struggle of the main character in the novel named Riley Gordon against patriarchal society as can be seen in the following quotation.

  Riley Gordon is truly aware of her rights. She does not let people especially the patriarchal society; tell her how it is to be a good woman. Unlike women around her who are so much influenced by the patriarchal society’s point of view about women. She defines herself as an independent woman. Riley Gordon frees herself from the bound of domestic duties that have been identical to women for centuries (Dau, 2008:2). Riley Gordon also shows that a woman can stand independently without a husband especially for the women living in Great Britain as seen in the following quotation.

  Riley Gordon has highlighted what is means to be a spinster not because the circumstances but because of her own choice. Riley is an independent heroine who dos not think that as a woman she needs to be accompanied

  Another study of gender can be found in the thesis of Ratri Widyaningrum who was the student of English Letters of Sanata Dharma University entitled Idea

  

of Feminism in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. The thesis emphasizes the struggle

  against gender discrimination through the main character named Esther Greenwood.

  Esther breaks all of the traditional rules that a female in her time should have been following. She is trying to break out the mold of the traditional woman. She never intended to gt married, hates the idea of serving man, and always tries to have carrier on her own (Widyaningrum, 2003:49).

  Esther is described as independent and brilliant which shows women’s strength. She thinks that she deserves to be treated equally as men. She thinks that women have freedom to do what they want. Esther believes that she will never be equal with the importance of a male in the society. All Esther wants is to have visible rewards for her efforts, and to be treated equally with men.

  Hanita Soraya who was the student in English Letters in Sanata Dharma University also writes a thesis based on the study of gender entitled The Ideas of

  

Feminism Seen in the Characteristics of Mrs. Clandon and Gloria in Shaw’s You

Never Can Tell. Hanita Soraya analyzes the struggle against gender discrimination

  in the society through the two main characters in one of Shaw’s works. A part of the analysis can be seen in the quotation below.

  Feeling oppressed by her husband’s bad temper, Mrs. Clandon realized to change her life. She decided to divorce from her husband. Mrs. Clandon’ decision of leaving her husband is in favor of independence to decide what she wants for her life. Other character, Gloria tries to keep her relationship with Valentine in her own way. She shows her liberty in deciding what she wants to do dealing with her relationship (Soraya, 2005:50-51).

  The two main characters Mrs. Clandon and Gloria show their quality of being independent in their life. Mrs. Clandon is really sure that she can live her life without her husband. Gloria becomes an educated woman and have characteristics like have principles, dares to express her opinion and ideas that shows women’s strength. Both of them reveal the struggle for gender equality through their personality.

B. Review of Related Theories

1. Theories of Characters and Characterization

  Robert and Jacobs say, “Character in literature generally and in fiction specially, is an extended verbal representation of a human being, the inner self that determines thought, speech, and behavior. Through dialogues, actions and commentary, the author captures some of the interaction of character and circumstance” (1987:119).

  EM. Foster in his book Aspect of the Novel states two types of characters. They are “round” and “flat’ character. “A round character has many realistic traits and is relatively fully developed by the author… it may be considered as dynamic: that is they demonstrate their capacity to change or to grow (1987:120-121). As contrasted with the round character, “flat characters are essentially undistinguishable from their group or class, therefore they are not individual but representative” (1987:121).

  Meanwhile, Roger B. Henkle divided characters into major and minor characters. The characters that are observed most often in the story can be considered as major characters. These characters are given a good deal of attention and then shored into the background or off scene as attention turns elsewhere (1977:90). The reader will give his fullest attention to these major characters because, if he understands them, he presumably understands the focal experiences of the story. The major characters perform the key structural function in the story. Meanwhile, minor characters or the secondary characters in the story perform more limited functions. They can function in various ways; as elements of society that makes up the human context as average or normal points of reference, as foils to the major characters or they can be symbols of aspects of the governing state of being (1977:100).

  Characters in a story are different from one another because they have certain personalities and ‘physical attributes’ that distinguish them. According to Murphy, there are nine ways in which an author characterizes his/ her character in a novel:

  1. Personal description The author can describe a person’s appearance and clothes. Here the author describes the character in details.

  2. Character as seen by another Besides describing a character directly, the author can describe the character through other’s perspective and opinion. Through this, the readers may get a reflected image.

  3. Speech The author gives a description of character through what the character says.

  The author presents some clues to character whenever he states his or her opinion.

  4. Past life The author gives the readers some keys or clues to any event that have helped to shape a person’s character, so that we can learn something about the character’s past life.

  5. Conversation of other The author describes the characterization of a character through conversation of others and their saying to him. It gives the readers clue to the characters of the person spoken about.

  6. Reaction The author can give us a clue to a person’s characterization by letting us know how that person reacts to various situations and events.

  7. Direct comment The author can describe or comment on a person’s characterization directly.

  By giving comments explicitly, the readers will understand what kind of person he or she is.

  8. Thought The author can give us direct knowledge of what a person is thinking about.

  Here, the readers have a privileged position to come to the in most thoughts of a person in a story.

  9. Mannerism The author describes the character through his mannerism or his habits (1972, 161-173).

  The nine methods above are the ways that the author gives to make the readers understand the characters in the story. Usually, an author does not use one of these methods exclusively, but generally blends them skillfully.

2. Theories of Setting

  Abram defines setting of a narrative or dramatics work as “the general, locale, historical time, and social circumstance place. The description of the place should reflect the conditions and geographical circumstances of that place” (1981:75). Leo Hamalian and Frederick R. Karl state that setting does not always mean place and time, but it also means people’s attitude in a certain time and place (1978:516). Jacobs and Robert state that the setting influence characters. The surrounding where the characters live in portrays the characters themselves (1987:191).

  Murphy in Understanding Unseen gives his opinion by stating that the setting of the novel is the background against which the characters live out their life. Usually setting concerns with the place and time in which the characters live. These can give a great effect upon their personalities, actions and way of thinking (1977:141).

  According to Wellek and Warren there is a relationship between literature and society that “literature is an expression of society (1963:95). It means that the author inevitably expresses his experience and total concept of life. The situation and condition of the society may also express in the literary work as the setting of the story even as the author’s critical view toward the society.

3. Theories of Gender

  Gender is a special characteristic of either man or women that is socially and culturally constructed (Fakih, 1996: 8). In almost all societies, it is assumed that women are weak and sickly creatures. They are less intelligent, uncreative, emotional, and irrational in thinking. On the contrary, men’s characteristic is considered as strong, intelligent, rational, and physically powerful. It is claims that men are superior while women are inferior because of these qualities.

  From the past, women are treated unfairly in society. They received prejudge mental statement of their being female. People assumed that superiority is determined biologically. In society, people interpret pregnancy, birth, and nursing as great burdens and it makes women fell that they are placed to an inferior position by their biological functions (Montagu, 1953: 38). The traditional presumption builds gender discrimination. It brings disadvantages to women particularly. Gender discrimination restricts the opportunity of women to develop their intelligence and skills, and as a result, women lack of opportunities to develop their potentials in many spheres. Moreover Montagu says that the society has conditioned women to accept the concept that they cannot do better than men.

  It makes women oppressed and they hesitate to change and accept the challenge to omit the gender inequality.

  Joan Robinson Acker strengthens her opinion. According to him, women are higher positions of power, that they earn less than men; they are present in a small proportion in the more prestigious occupations. Women are unequal to men in many ways, are differentially evaluate on the basis of sex, but this is irrelevant to the structure of stratifications system (1977: 495-7).

  Magie Humm states that gender identity that differentiates men and women culturally, is socially constructed and can be challenged and changed.

  Gender inequality begins very early in the patriarchal society through its dominant institutions (1992: 21).

  Women are defined as ‘other’ or they are ignored, rendered, invisible and silent, if they do not fit the patriarchal scheme. Outside the dominant definitions of male dominated culture, women exist only as insane, inarticulate or irrelevant (Madsen 2000:18). Being a woman in patriarchal society means that accepting the fact that they will not be considered as a whole integrity. Women are considered as the second class citizens, and their presences only be considered as the minor role in patriarchal society.

  Gender is social construct designed to limit the range of life choice available to humankind for the suitable operation of social institution. The position of women as the ‘other’ and ‘inferior’ as well as the imposition of compulsory heterosexuality resultant from this ideology of gender are responsible for that “negative socialization” which all women share (Birch, 1994:5-6).

  th th C. Review on the Late 19 and Early 20 Century Afghanistan.

th th

Afghanistan in the late 19 and early 20 century was in transition regime.

  There were eight period of regime in the 1933 up to 2003. They were Rule of Mohammad Zahir Shah (1933 – 1973), Presidency of Mohammad Daoud Khan (1973 -1978), Communist Rule-pre Soviet invasion (1978), Afghan-Soviet War (1979 – 1989), Dr. Najibullah's Regime (1989 – 1992), Mujahideen government and civil war (1992 – 1996), Taliban Rule (1996 – 2001), and post-Taliban rebuilding (2001-2003).

  th

  Khaled Hosseini is one of the early 20 century Afghanistan famous and socialist authors. One of his great novels is A Thousand Splendid Suns. The writer in this chapter tries to present the sociocultural-historical background of the Afghanistan in those regimes which is the setting of the novel itself. In this period, the political, social and economic life of Afghanistan was in transition era.

  Zahir Shah gave women equal rights under the constitution of 1964. Some women benefited, attending college and abandoning the veil, but for most women, little changed. Zahir Shah did little to improve the abysmal living conditions of the vast majority of Afghan. Life expectancy was 37 years, 1 in 3 children died in child birth, and illiteracy was 80-90. There were few paved roads, only one doctor for every 50,000 Afghans and electricity in just a few major cities. Unemployment was wide-spread and key government jobs and army positions went to the King’s family. Unions and political parties were banned (Moghadam, 1997).

  The Prime Minister Mohammad Daoud did not want to repeat the haste and mistake of his predecessor Amanullah and declared veiling a “voluntary option”. By now women were expected once again to abandon the veil, marriages expenses were curtailed, and women were encouraged to contribute to the economy. The 1940s and 1950s saw women becoming nurses, doctors and teachers. In 1964 the third Constitution allowed women to enter elected politics and gave them the right to vote. The first Minister was in health department, elected to the Parliament along with three other women. In 1965 People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), a Soviet-backed socialist organizations was formed. The same year also saw the formation of the first women’s group, the Democratic organization of Afghan Women (DOAW). The main objectives of this women’s group was to eliminate illiteracy among women, ban forced marriages, and do away with bride price (Moghadam, 1997).

  The 1970s saw a rise in women’s education, faculty in the universities, and representative in the Parliament. The year 1978 saw the rise to power of the controversial PDPA. It is during PDPA rule that rapid social and economic change, echoing some of the 1920s themes, was implemented and mass literacy for women and men of all ages was introduced. Massive land reform programs, along with abolition of bride price and rising of marriage age were also part of the PDPA agenda. In October 1978 a decree was issued with explicit intention of ensuring equal rights for women. Minimum age of marriages was set at 16 for girls and 18 years for boys. The revolutionary pace of social change caused concern among the mullahs and tribal chiefs in the interiors. They viewed compulsory education, especially for women, as going against the grain of tradition, anti-religious and a challenge to male authority. The PDPA’s use of force in bringing the changes to fruition, combined with a brutal disregard for societal and religious sensitivities, resulted in massive backlash from the rural population (Dupree, 1998).

  During the era of 1978 women were employed in significant numbers in Universities, private corporations, the airlines and as doctors and nurses but, for the nation as whole, it was a period of anarchy and destruction (Moghadam, 1997).

  Beginning with the Soviet Union (Russia) occupation in December 1979, Afghanistan witnessed a decade long war. Fuelled by external forces, funding, and political interests by the United States, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and China, the Mujahideen fought against the Soviets. During the Soviet war, many civilians including numerous women and children were killed by the communist government and their Russian allies. However, in the Afghan capital and in some of the major cities under the communist government's control, women did get to enjoy some basic freedoms (Mendelson, 1998).

  The Afghan countryside was the breeding grounds for these “freedom fighter”. Suspicious of the Soviet socialist agenda to annihilate the tradition culture and religion of Afghanistan, the Mujaheedin was able to gather forces to form their own revolutionary army. Their battle cry was in the name of Islam, emphasizing a reversal of all socialist policies including those that guaranteed women liberties through education and employment (Mendelson, 1998).

  In 1989, when the Soviets left Afghanistan, the country was in disarray and became the site for civil war with the government transfer power in 1992. That year the Mujahideen took over Kabul and declared Afghanistan an Islamic state. The Mujahedeen entered Kabul and burnt down the university, library and school women were forced to wear the burqa and fewer women were visible on television and in professional jobs (Mendelson, 1998).

  The period from 1992-1996 saw unprecedented barbarism by the Mujahideen where stories of killings, rapes, amputations and other forms of violence were told daily. The Mujahideen took Kabul and liberated Afghanistan from the Communists and the Mujahideen formed an Islamic State. Eventually a civil war broke out, and during this time, gross violations of abuses occurred not only against women but the population in general. Massacres and mass killings occurred and the war took on an ethnic tone. To avoid rape, forced marriages, young women were resorting to suicide (Mendelson, 1998).

  Later in 1996, the same consortium (U.S.A., Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia) supported the Taliban to encounter the “mismanaged” politics and “unexpected” brutalities of the Mujahideen. It was extremely short lived, and very soon the Taliban set up Amar Bil Marrof Wa Nahi An al-Munkar (Department for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice) to monitor and control women’s behavior. The Taliban made sweeping changes in the social order and used the radio to broadcast its new laws (televisions were banned). Daily, Radio Sharia reminded the citizens of their duty to the country and Islam, and listed the changes men and women needed to make to conform to the new fundamentalist regime. For women, this meant no longer being able to go outside except to buy food. If women did leave home they had to be accompanied by a mahram (male relative). Women had to wear the burqa and no makeup or fancy shoes. White shoes were forbidden since that was the color of the Taliban flag.

  Women and girls could not go to school nor visit male doctors. Women, who were doctors and teachers before, suddenly were forced to be beggars and even prostitutes in order to feed their families. During the rule of the Taliban, women were treated worse than in any other time or by any other society. Not unlike the Mujahideen, the Taliban too indulged in forced marriages and rapes (Marsden, 2002).

  In the late 2001, The United Front (aka Alliance) together with the United States attacked the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and forced them out of Kabul. The restrictions on Afghan women were officially lifted and they were allowed to once again work and go to school. Unfortunately, today, the abuses of women continue as the government is too weak to enforce many of the laws, especially in the rural areas, and in once Taliban supported areas (Marsden, 2002).

D. Theoretical Framework In conducting this research, the writer needs theories that have been stated.

  The writer needs theories of characters from Robert and Jacobs, EM. Fosters and Roger B. Henkle. Those theories of character are applied to see how the characters are presented and to analyze those characters. Theory of characterizations from MJ. Murphy will be used to recognize the characters’ personality.

  Theories of setting will be helpful in understanding the meaning of the term setting itself. Since, theories of setting will help the writer in connecting the significance of the setting towards the characters in the story.

  The focus of this study lays on the struggle against gender discrimination therefore the writer uses theory of gender to scrutinize the struggle against gender discrimination in this novel. The theory of gender is important to support the struggle against gender discrimination of the main female characters in the novel.

  Therefore the reader will understand the main female characters’ way of thinking, their view of life and what they actually want to do. The two preceding theories related to each other as well as the theories of gender. They cannot be separated for it is one unity to find and understand the point in this research.

CHAPTER III METHODOLOGY A. Object of the Study This novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, is written by Khaled Hosseini. It

  was published in 2007. A Thousand Splendid Suns is Khaled Hosseini's second novel. A Kite Runner is his first book. A Thousand Splendid Suns is not clearly autobiographical as The Kite Runner; however, one cannot help but imagine that the two remarkable women in the novel, Mariam and Laila are drawn from life, that their revealed lives reflect the lives of thousands of Afghani women who have endured despite the odds.

  A Thousand Splendid Suns , was written after Hosseini traveled back to his

  native Afghanistan to examine for himself the nation’s situation in the aftermath of decades of turmoil. This novel is number one national bestseller in The United States.

  The idea of this novel focuses on the major characters named Mariam and Laila. They represent the women in Afghanistan. There is the imbalance relationship between men and women within which women are positioned to be subordinate to men in the real life. A Thousand Splendid Suns itself consists of 443 pages in 51 chapters and it is divided into two big parts, the story of Mariam and the story of Laila.

B. Approach of the Study

  The writer applies sociocultural-historical approach to analyze the problem arising in this thesis. The writer uses one of the sociocultural-historical approaches proposed by Mary Rohrberger.

  In her book, Reading and Writing about Literature, sociocultural-historical approach aims that the only way to locate the real work be in references to the civilization that produces it. She defines civilization as the attitude and actions of a specific group of people and point out that critic investigates the social environment in which a work was created and which it necessarily reflects. The literature is not created in a vacuum period because it produced by the civilization in every period, and also embodies ideas significant to the culture that produce it (Rohberger, 1971:09). The writer uses sociocultural-historical approach to find

  th

  out the answer of the problem of social condition of Afghanistan in the late 19

  th and the early 20 century.

  In sociocultural-historical approach it is stated that the literature is not created in a vacuum period because it produced by the civilization in every period.

  It means that it is necessary to analyze the society in literary work because it is not produced in a vacuum period. Therefore, it is impossible to analyze A Thousand

  

Splendid Suns without being awareness of the situation and condition of the

  society at that time. After understanding the situation and condition of the society at that time in the novel, the writer will get the idea of the society’s concept about women and their existences. It is reflected through the main female characters in the novel, Mariam and Laila. The sociocultural-historical approach helps the writer to understand the condition of the society in the novel dealing with gender discrimination. Thus, how the approach applies in this study.

C. Method of the Study

  The study is a library study. It means that the main procedures that the writer uses to gain data is by reading the whole text and taking important notes that help the writer to analyze the novel. The novel become the main source. Some theories on character and characterization, setting and gender were compiled from some books in the library as well as from the internet.

  The writer also made a critical analysis. The writer tried to analyze the work so objectively that the writer could make a reasonable analysis.

  The writer used theories of setting to recognize what kind of society the novel has. After recognizing the society, the writer tried to enter and comprehend the way of life of the society. The writer had to match the reality found in the society in the story with the theories of setting.

  The second step was to analyze the two main female characters in the novel using theories of character and characterization. It is important to know the characteristics of the main female characters in the novel to see the way of life and the way of thinking of the characters that make them different with the other members in the society. They can be traced by looking the dialogues, action, habits and how the characters behave. In this step, the writer also had to start to relate the effect of the society to the characters.

  The last step was entering the two main female characters’ mind to find the relation between their characteristics with their struggle against gender discrimination that they have as seen through their characteristics. This was the part when the three important aspects in this research were mixed. The writer had to see the society that conditioned the characters to have certain characteristics. From their different characteristics, the writer could see how they created the struggle against gender discrimination. At last the writer made a conclusion of the research.

CHAPTER IV ANALYSIS In this chapter, as the first step, the writer would like to discuss the

  character of Mariam and Laila. The second step, the writer will explain the society where the major characters live in. The last step, the writer wants to reveal the struggle for gender equality as seen through the major characters.

A. The Portrayal of the Two Major Characters This research takes the two major characters as the center. Robert B.

  Henkle elaborates that the characters that are observed most often in the story can be considered as major characters. The major characters in this novel are Mariam and Laila. They play important role in this novel because they dominate the whole story. The story in the novel is mostly about them. These two major characters live in a patriarchal society and they take the readers by understanding their characteristics that are reflected through dialogues, actions and commentary the author captures some of the interaction of the characters and the circumstances.

1. Character of Mariam

  Mariam is one of the major characters because she is one of the most often observed characters in the novel. Mariam is also a round character. She demonstrates her capacity to change or to grow. Mariam has some characteristics, they are:

a. Obedient

  Mariam is an obedient child. Murphy states that a person’s character in the novel can be revealed through how that person reacts to various situations and events. At a young age, Mariam is recognized as an illegitimate child of Nana and Jalil. Mariam lives with her mother, Nana. Nana usually calls her as a harami or bastard children. Mariam does not have any opportunity to get formal education in the school like her other stepsisters and stepbrothers. Her mother forbids her to go to school because the only thing Mariam can learn as a woman is how to endure life.

  “Learn? Learn what, Mullah sahib?” Nana said sharply. “What is there to learn?” She snapped her eyes toward Mariam. Mariam looked down at her hands. What’s the sense schooling a girl like you? It’s like shining a spittoon. And you’ll learn nothing of value in those schools. There is only one skill a woman like you and me needs in life, and they don’t teach it in school. Look at me. Mariam nodded (pp. 19-20) From Mariam’s reaction, it shows that Mariam does not want to break her mother’s rule. When Nana says something to her, Mariam usually just keeps silent and nodded. Mariam obeys her mother not to go to school and she follows her mother’s commands.

  Mariam almost does everything to show her obedience to her mother. Through the author’s direct comment, Mariam’s action is also described as an obedient behavior. One day when Jalil’s sons, Muhsin and Ramin deliver food to Nana and Mariam, Mariam gibes them because Nana asks her to do the same thing. Nana hates them so much.

  Once, to please Nana, Mariam even yelled at Muhsin, told him he had a mouth shaped like a lizard’s ass (p.15) Actually, she wished she were allowed to offer them water. “—and was consumed later with guilt, shame and fear that they would tell Jalil” (p.15).

  Mariam feels sorry for the boys but she does it to please her mother Nana. She thinks that as a child she should follow what her mother asks her to do.

  Mariam later lives with her father because her mother died in suicide. In her father’s house, Mariam also be an obedient child. She follows her father’s command when he asks her to get married with his friend named Rasheed.

  She turned to Jalil again. “Tell them you won’t let them do this.” “Actually, your father has already given his answer,” Afsoon said. “Say something,” Mariam said. Then Jalil did, in a thin, threadbare voice. “Goddamn it, Mariam, don’t do this to me,” he said as though he was the one to whom something was being done. … Mariam looked down at the table (pp.53-54). Mariam decides to get married with Rasheed because Jalil asks her to do so even she does not want to get married. Mariam’s reaction toward her father’s command to get married with Rasheed shows that Mariam is an obedient child. She always does what she is told to do by her parents.

  Mariam also always obeys her husband’s commands. “Mariam cleans the house, makes sure Rasheed always has a supply of clean shirts, cooks him his favorite dishes” (p.105) and other chores that Rasheed asks her to do.

  Through how that Mariam reacts to certain situations and events in her marriage, Mariam is an obedient wife.

  … “You know nothing, do you? You’re like a child. Your brain is empty. There is no information in it.”

  “Chup Ko. Shut up.” Mariam did (p.104). Mariam asks Rasheed about what a communist is and Rasheed wants her not to ask about that and keep shutting her mouth up. Mariam obeys his commands.

b. Imaginative

  An imaginative person is a person who has an ability to imagine what she/he wants in this life. That person usually takes an action or does something to make her imagination become real.

  Mariam, a young village girl, lives in a small shack outside of the city of Herat in Afghanistan. Mariam always has big dreams in her life. She is a strong girl who dreams of bigger things for herself, far beyond what she finds within the walls of her small shack. Mariam is an imaginative person. Murphy states that a person’s character in the novel can be revealed through what the character says.

  Mariam has a dream to go to school like her father’s other kids. She has an imagination to go to school and university like her other stepsister and stepbrothers. She says it to her teacher Mullah Faizullah.

  But Mariam’s favorite other than Jalil of course, was Mullah Faizullah the elderly village Koran tutor, its akhund… … it was Mullaf Faizullah who taught Mariam to read (p.17). Mariam said that she wants to study at school. Mariam told him that she wished she would be allowed to go to school. “I mean a real school,, akhund sahib. Like in a classroom. Like my father’s other kids (p.18).

  From the speech of Mariam, she shows her big dream to get formal education in school. She says it to her Koran teacher, Mullah Faizullah. Mariam want to allow her to have a formal education in school. Nana insists that the only lesson that Mariam as a girl needs to learn is to endure life. Nana also says about what the society will say to Mariam because she is a bastard child. “Besides, they’ll laugh at you in school. They will. They’ll call you harami” (p.20). Mariam later can only learn to read Koran with her beloved teacher Mullah Faizullah. It is one of her step to make her dreams come true which is by learning to read Koran.

  Through the author’s direct comment, Mariam is described as an imaginative person. Mariam always imagines living with her stepsisters and stepbrothers as a big family. Mariam lives with her mother only. She dreams to live in the same house with her big family.

  She gave herself over to the new life that awaited her in this city, a life with a father, with sisters and brothers, a life in which she would love and be loved back, without reservation or agenda, without shame (p.34). As a bastard child or harami, it is impossible for Mariam to stay in her father’s house with her other stepsister and stepbrother because Jalil, Jalil’s wives and Nana will not allow that. Mariam does not care about them; she just wants to live with her father, sisters and brothers. To make it become real Mariam go to Heart to meet her father.

  She rolled up the legs of her trousers to the knee, crossed the stream, and, for the first time in her life, head down the hill for Heart (p.33). The author’s direct comment shows that Mariam is a person who struggles to make her dream comes true. Mariam never go far away from her house, but at this time she wants to make her dream become real by going to her father’s house.

  Mariam’s imaginative personality is also described when she is dreaming very abusive to Mariam. Through what the character is thinking about it is clearly reflected.

  The year had not been kind to Mariam. But perhaps, she thought, there were kinder years waiting still. A new life, a life in which she would find the blessings that Nana had said a harami like her would never see. (p.259) To make this dream comes true, Mariam decides to escape from Rasheed’s house with Laila and Aziza. Although women can not go outside without a man relative under the reign of Taliban, Mariam still does her plan to escape.

c. Patient

  Mariam is a patient girl. Murphy states that a person’s character in the novel can be revealed through how that person reacts to various situations and events. After Mariam is despair because of her mother's death, and abandoned by her father, Jalil, who marries her off to Rasheed, she still can live her life and struggle to face it.

  After Nana's funeral, Jalil takes Mariam to his house. Jalil's wife tells Mariam that Mariam is to be married off to a shoe shop owner named Rasheed in Kabul. Mariam does nothing for all the bad treatments from her father’s wife.

  “You have a suitor” Khadija said. Mariam’s stomach fell. “A what?” “A khastegar. A suitor. His name is Rasheed” (p.51).

  As Jalil’s wives began a new- and more sprightly – round of reassuring, Mariam looked down at the table (p. 52). From this quotation it can be seen that she is patient to face bad situation like this. Mariam’s reaction shows it. Even though in fact she does not want to get married with someone she does not know before, Mariam still be patient to

  In her marriages, her husband, Rasheed is abusive and cruel. Rasheed makes Mariam lose her beauty. He never takes enough care of hers. Rasheed forces Mariam to wear a burqa. Rasheed many times does kick, punch, slap and many other brutal action to her.

  He snatched her hand, opened it, and dropped a handful of pebbles into it. “Put this in your mouth” “What” “Put. These. In your mouth” … he shoved two fingers into her mouth and pried it open, then forced the cold, hard pebbles into it… “Now chew,” he said “CHEW!” Then he was gone, leaving Mariam to spit out pebbles, blood, and the fragments of two broken molars” (pp. 110-111).

  From Mariam’s reaction toward her husband brutality, it is clear that Mariam is so patient; she can accept all the condition in her life. In her marriage, she doesn’t get any happiness. Mariam always accepts all the bad treatments from her husband, Rasheed. She does not do something to rebel for years in her marriage.

  Mariam also can accept when Rasheed decides to get married again with a young girl named Laila because Mariam can’t give him any child.

  Laila would remember the muted ceremony in bits and fragments. The cream-colored stripes of Rasheed’s suit The sharp smell of his hair spray… The contract. The signing, his sure-handed, hers quavering. The prayers, the mirror, that Rasheed had trimmed his eye-brows. And, somewhere in the room, Mariam watching (pp. 232-233). When Mariam knows that her husband wants to get married again, Mariam accepts it and she just watches the wedding ceremony of her husband although obviously Mariam does not agree with it.

  d. Honest

  Mariam doesn’t like to tell a lie. She prevents not to say the truth. She has a quality of being honest. Murphy states that a person’s character can be revealed through what the character says. When Mariam and Laila are arrested by the policeman because the run away from Rasheed house, Mariam can’t tell a lie to the policeman that actually she pretends to be Laila’s mother.

  “I’m sorry Laila jo. I am not smart like you. He asked so many questions, I didn’t know the answer” (p.285). From the speech of Mariam after she was being interrogated by the police,

  Mariam is an honest person. She cannot tell a lie to other people. From the first question of the interrogation, Mariam does not tell any lie. Under the Taliban women cannot go outside the house without a man relative. At the first time, Laila lay to the policeman that she, her mother [Mariam] and her daughter, Aziza wants to go to Pakistan and meet their uncle. Mariam cannot lie to the policeman like what Laila did. Mariam cannot pretend as Laila’s mother.

  e. Critical

  Mariam is a critical woman. When she is forced to be married off to a shoemaker named Rasheed, Mariam can not accept that because she thinks that she is still young, fifteen years old. Murphy states that a person’s character in the novel can be revealed through what the character is thinking about.

  There was enthusiastic nodding at this. It did not escape Mariam that no mentioned was made of her half sisters Saideh or Nasheed, both her own age, both students in the Mehri School in Heart, both with plans to enroll in Kabul University. Fifteen, evidently, was not a good, solid marrying age for them (p.51).

  Mariam criticizes her father and her father’s wives when they say that fifteen is a solid marrying age for a girl. “What are you, fifteen? That’s a good, solid marrying age for a girl”(p.51). Mariam also criticizes the society, in the society girls usually get married in young age. Mariam thinks that fifteen is not an appropriate age for a girl to get married. She compares it with her stepsisters who have the same age as her and they are now still students Mehri School.

  Mariam’s critical personality is also described when Rasheed wants to get married again with Laila. Mariam does not want Rasheed to marry Laila, but later she think that this is the best way for Laila. The street is too dangerous for her. At the first time Mariam says that she does not agree, “I won’t allow it” (p.228).

  Later, Mariam thinks that this is the best way after Rasheed explains about the bad condition in the street. “The roads out there are unforgiving Mariam, believe me.

  Bloodhounds and bandits at every turn.’ (p.228). Mariam decides to allow Rasheed marrying laila after she thinks that this is the best way for them.

  “He wants an answer by this morning,” Mariam said. “He can have it now,” the girl said. “My answer is yes” (p.229).

  Mariam’s action to ask Laila about Rasheed’s proposal shows that she agrees to let her husband marrying Laila. Mariam has already thought about the consequences.

  In her marriages with Rasheed, Mariam shows her critical personality. She always thinks why her husband abuses her. Mariam thinks that she does not deserve that.

  Mariam saw now in those eyes what a fool she had been. Had she been a deceitful wife? She asked herself. A complacent wife? A willfully done to this man to warrant his malice, his continual assaults, the relish with which he tormented her? Had she not looked after him when he was ill? Fed him, and his friends, cleaned up after him dutifully? Had she not given this man her youth? Had she ever justly deserved his meanness?(p.372).

  Mariam thinks and asks to herself about what she has done in her marriage. She criticizes Rasheed’s brutality action to her or a long time. Mariam thinks that she does not deserve to be abused by him. She thinks that she already becomes a good wife so far.

f. Wise

  Through a character reaction to various situations and events, Mariam is described as a wise woman. In her marriage, Mariam always obey her husband’s commands to prevent the anger of her husband, it is not like Laila who always against him. Mariam many times advices Laila to obey the husband’s command because they have nobody else to protect them. They also cannot go out from the house or the policeman will arrest them.

  Rasheed, her husband many times does kick, punch, slap and many other brutal action to Mariam and Laila. Mariam usually obey her husband’s command to avoid his brutality toward them.

  Fired from the restaurant in Taimani because customers complained about the long waits, Rasheed said the cook was slow and lazy. “You were probably out back napping,” said Laila.

  “Don’t provoke him Laila jo,” Mariam said. “I’m warning you woman,” he said. “Either that or smoking.” “I swear to God.” “You can’t help being what you are.”

  And then he was on Laila, pummeling her chest, her head, her belly with fist, tearing at her hair, throwing her to the wall (p.326).

  From the conversation and the speech of Mariam, she shows her wisdom that as a woman, who lives in patriarchal society, one thing that she should do is not making her husband mad or she will get punch, kick or slap from the husband. Mariam becomes alert or aware of the situation on her marriage.

  Mariam’s wise personality is also described after Mariam kills Rasheed. Murphy states that a person’s character in the novel can be revealed through what the character says. Mariam says to Laila that Laila, Aziza, Zalmai and Tariq should leave Kabul although Laila asks Mariam to leave the house and Rasheed’s death body.

  “When they do, they’ll fine you as guilty as me. Tariq too. I won’t have the two of you living on the run, like fugitive. What will happen to your children if you’re caught? Who will take care of them then? The Taliban? Think like mother, Laila jo. Think like a mother. I am” (p.383).

  Actually, Mariam can run away from Kabul but she doesn’t want to do it. She thinks about the risks. She prefer to stay in Rasheed’s house until she is arrested by the policeman and let Laila, Aziza, Zalmai and Tariq leave her alone.

  She thinks that this is the best solution for them.

2. Character of Laila

  Laila is the second major characters in the novel. She plays important role in this novel because she dominates the whole story. In other words, the story is mostly about her. Laila is a round character. Her characteristics are developed. Laila has many characteristics, they are:

a. Attentive

  Laila is the daughter of Hakim and Fariba. She has two brothers named Ahmad and Noor who fight in the jihad against the Soviets. She was too young when they left for the jihad.

  Laila loves her family so much, she loves her father and mother. She is an attentive person. Laila’s attentive personality is described when her mother is down because of the death of her two brothers, Ahmad and Noor who are loyal to their cause and ultimately die for it in jihad. Laila always takes enough care of her mother. In this time, Laila has double roles that are as a mother and as a daughter for her father. Her mother Fariba is a bad tempered person. “Mammy [Fariba], ferocious, indomitable, pacing and ranting; Babi sitting, looking sheepish and dazed, nodding obediently, waiting for the storm to pass” (p.116)

  Fariba can’t do anything after the death of her two sons in war. Laila later do the chores in the house helping her father. “Laila had to shoulder more and ore chores. If she didn’t tend to the house, she was apt to find clothes, shoes, open rice bags, cans of beans, and dirty dishes strewn about anywhere. Laila washed Mammy’s dresses and changed her sheets. She coaxed her out of bed for baths and meals. She was the only one who ironed Babi’s shirts and folded his pants.

  Increasingly, she was the cook” (p.151). This action shows that she cares to her family. Laila wants to do everything in order to make her mother and father happy after the death of her two brothers.

  As the only child in the family, she doesn’t want to leave her father and mother although Tariq, the boy that she loves asks her to move to Pakistan. She prefers to live with her family rather than to go with a boy that she loves. Murphy states that a person’s character in the novel can be revealed through what the character is thinking about.

  But Laila was thinking of Mammy, as obstinate and uncompromising as the Mujahideen, the air around her choked with rancor and despair, and she was thinking of Babi, who has long surrendered, who made such a sa, pathetic opponent to Mammy. “It’s my father I can’t leave,” Laila said. “I’m all he has left. His heart couldn’t take it either” (p.195).

  Actually Laila wants to leave, but she realized her father’s life would be over if she left the family. It shows that she loves her family rather than anybody else.

  She also loves her daughter and son so much. She doesn’t want them to get hurt. When Rasheed asks Aziza to beg in the street, Laila forbids Rasheed to do it. Murphy states that a person’s character in the novel can be revealed through what the character says.

  “I’ll keep a close eye on her,” Raheed said, less patiently now. “It’s a safe corner. There’s a mosque across the street.” “I won’t let you turn my daughter into a street beggar!” Laila snapped (p.319).

  Laila’s speech showing her disagreement about Rasheed idea to make Aziza a street beggar shows Laila’s love to her daughter. She does not want Aziza to be a street beggar because the street is very dangerous. She does not want Aziza to get hurt in the street. Laila loves her family.

  In her marriage with Rasheed, Laila always helps Mariam to do the chores. Laila always protects Mariam from Easheed when he wants to abuse her. “Stop it! bas!”, “Rasheed you can’t do this!”, “No, you can’t do this” (p.255). Laila does not want to see someone that she loves be in danger. She has big attention to everybody around her.

b. Smart

  Laila has good ability to solve the problem. She knows how to find a way dealing with solving problem in her life.

  Oneday Laila and Tariq have sex. She loves Tariq because he is a kind boy who’s always struggle to protect Laila from everything. Tariq moves to Pakistan because of the war in Afghanistan. Later Laila is pregnant. Her family house is hit with a bomb and only Laila that survives. She decides to marry Rasheed, Mariam’s husband and Laila’s neighbor. She thinks that it is her method of providing for her child. Through the author’s direct comment, Laila is described as a smart girl.

  A part of Tariq still alive inside her, spouting tiny arms, growing translucent hands. How could she jeopardize the only thing she had left of him of her old life. She made her decision quickly. Six weeks had passed since her time with Tariq. Any longer and Rasheed would grow suspicious (p.232).

  Laila considers the unborn child to be a miracle as a memory of Tariq, a man that she loves. Rasheed doesn’t know that Laila is already pregnant. Laila decides to get married with Raheed as soon as possible to conceal her pregnancy. Actually Rasheed already asks her to marry him and Laila says to him that she wants to get married soon.

  Laila’s smart personality is also described when she tries to prove to Rasheed that she is still a virgin although in fact she is not a virgin anymore.

  Later, when she was sure that he was asleep, Laila quietly reached beneath punctured the pad of her index finger. Then she lifted the blanket and let her finger bleed on the sheets where they had lain together (p.233). This action shows that Laila is a smart person that she can do something to conceal her lie. It is for the life of her unborn baby. Rasheed will not notice that

  Laila is not a virgin anymore because Laila has evidence that she makes herself as if she is still a virgin.

  Laila also can find the way to get the money that she can use in her escape. She wants to go out from Rasheed’s house and Afghanistan by stealing Rasheed’s money.

  Every week, since Aziza’s birth, she pried his wallet open when he was asleep or in the outhouse and took a single bill. Some weeks, if the wallet was light, she took only a five-afghani bill,or nothing at all, for fear that he would notice. When the wallet was plimp, she helped herself to a ten or a twenty, once even risking two twenties. She hid the money to a ten or a twenty, once even risking two twenties. She hid the money in a pouch she’d sewn in the lining of her checkered winter coat (p.262). Laila always has some tactics to get money without making Rasheed notices. She knows how to conceal something. Laila can escape from Rasheed’s house by using the money that she steals from Rasheed.

  Murphy states that a person’s character in the novel can be revealed through what the characters says. Laila proves that she is a smart person by her speech in the police office. When she is arrested by the policeman because she runs away from Rasheed’s house, Laila makes a lie to the police to avoid the law.

  Laila lies to the policeman that she is Mariam’s daughter and she knows Pakistan as well.

  “We were going to stay with my uncle,” Laila said. “That’s the truth.” The policeman nodded. “The hamshira in the corridor, she’s your

  “Yes.” “She has a Heart accent. You don’t.” “She was raised in Heart, I was born here in Kabul.” “Of course. And you are widowed? You said you were. My condolences.

  And this uncle, this kaka, where does he live?” “In Peshawar” Laila tried t push back the bubble of panic that was coming up her chest.

  She gave him the name of the only street she knew in Peshawar—she’d heard it mentioned once, at the party mammy had thrown when the Mujahideen had first come to Kabul.—“Jamrud Road” “Oh yes. Same street as the Pearl Continental Hotel. He might have mentioned it.” Laila seized this opportunity and said he had. That very same street, yes.” “Except the hotel is on the Khyber road” (pp.282-283).

  In a difficult situation like this, Laila still can make a lie. She is kind of a person who thinks fast. She makes a lie and thinks in a short time. She does not want the policeman delivers them to Rasheed’s house.

c. Courageous

  As a woman who lives in patriarchal society, a woman usually can’t give her opinion. It is different with Laila. She doesn’t afraid to say what she thinks is true. She helps Mariam when Rasheed wants to abuse her. Murphy states that a person’s character in the novel can be revealed through what the character says.

  “Stop it! bas!”, “Rasheed you can’t do this!”, “No, you can’t do this” (p.255). Laila is not afraid to say something that she thinks is true. She will fight for something she believes worth fighting for.

  Many times Laila helps Mariam from the brutality of Rasheed. Laila is also not afraid to kick or hit back to Rasheed. Murphy states that a person’s character in the novel can be revealed through how that reacts to various situations and events.

  The girl lunged at him she grabbed his arm with both hands and tried to drag him down, but she could do no more than dangle from it. She did succeed in slowing Rasheed’s progress toward Mariam (pp.255-256).

  This action shows that Laila is not afraid of her husband. She doesn’t want to see something that is wrong. She will kick or punch Rasheed if he abuses them.

  Laila’s plan to escape from Rasheed’s house also shows how brave she is because at that time in Taliban women are forbidden from leaving the house unaccompanied by man relative. She is not afraid of being arrested by the police. Laila also asks Mariam to come with her.

  We’re leaving this spring, Aziza and I. Come with us, Mariam. The girl [Laila] lunged at him. She grabbed his arm with both hands and tried to drag him down, but she could do no more than dangle from it. She did succeed in slowing Rasheed’s progress toward Mariam (pp.255-256). Then Laila punch him. It was the first time she’d stuck anybody, discounting the playful punches she and Tariq used to trade (p.320).

  From this speech, it can be seen that Laila is really sure and confident to go outside from the house. Her confidence shows that Laila is courageous to get the consequences of what she will do.

  Laila also brave to go outside the house to visit Aziza, her daughter alone in the orphanage. Many times she does this and she gets beaten by the police and sent home because she goes out alone without a man relative.

  Crossing the street she was spotted by the Taliban and riddeled with the questions—What is your name? Where are you going? Where is your mahram?—before she was sent home. If she was lucky, she was given a tongue-lashing or a single kick to the rear, a shove in the back. Other times, she met with assortments of wooden clubs, fresh tree branches, short whips, slaps, often fists (p.343).

  Laila’s struggle to visit her daughter shows that Laila is courageous to face the law in Taliban, which is a woman cannot go outside without a man relative.

  She dares to go outside the house alone and get the consequences.

d. Rebellious

  Concerning the value about women in the society, Laila is a rebellious woman. This is in the sense that she is trying to rebel the value about women in the society.

  Laila is Tariq’s friends and they are neighbor. Almost all the people around them talk about their relationship. The society thinks that it is not common for a girl to have a boy friend and make a close relationship. The society thinks that it is not appropriate. Fariba, Laila’s mother has talked about the relationship between Laila and Tariq. Murphy states that a person’s character in the novel can be revealed through what the character is thinking about.

  …”what I’m trying to say is that if you’re not careful, people will talk” (p.172). Laila had noticed the sly grins, was aware of the whispers in the neighborhood that the two of them were a couple. … It is unfair. Laila felt like she was no better than these pots and pans, something that could go neglected then laid claim to, at will, whenever the mood stuck (p.173). From Laila’s thought dealing with her mother’s Laila feels uncomfortable because she thinks that what she did was not wrong. She has a right to make any friendship or relationship with anybody she wants to. Since that time, Laila still make a relationship with Tariq. She is not really care about what other people will say about them.

  One moment Tariq tells Laila that is leaving Kabul for Pakistan. He tells her that he is leaving next day. Laila becomes upset but then she and Tariq have sex. Laila does not feel guilty that she has had sex with Tariq.

  Inside Laila to a battle was being waged: guilt on one side, partnered with shame, and, on the other the conviction that what she and Tariq had done was not sinful; that it had been natural, good, beautiful, even inevitable, spurred by the knowledge that they might ever see each other again (p.197). In the society, people are not allowed to have sex before they get married, but Laila thinks that what she did is the realization of her love.

  Laila’s rebellious personality is also described when she tries to run away from Rasheed’s house. She doe not care about the law in her country that woman are not allowed to go outside the house without a man relative.

e. Confident

  Laila is one of rare girls in Afghanistan who can get formal education at school. Laila is a high self-confidence woman. Murphy states that a person’s character in the novel can be revealed through what the character is thinking about. Laila wants to get high education like her father. Her father was a university-educated man. In contrary, Laila’s 2 friends Hasina and Giti will get married in young age.

  But Laila didn’t tell Hasina that Babi [her father] had said this these things, or how glad she was to have a father like him, or how proud she was of his regard for her, or how determinated she was to pursue her education just as he had his (p.123).

  From Laila thought, it can be revealed that Laila has high self-confidence about her education that she can be a university-educated woman later on. When her two friends Hasina and Giti will get married, she even doesn’t think about the marriage yet. Laila thinks that she can be a great educated woman in the future.

  Laila’s friend named Giti also proves it. Giti is proposed by a man and Laila asks her about Giti’s education. Murphy states that a person’s character in the novel can be revealed through what the character says.

  “He’s going to ask for my hand, Laila! Maybe as early as this summer. Can you believe it? I swear I can’t stop thinking about him.” “What about school?” Laila had asked. Giti had tilted her head and given her a We both know better look.

  By the time we are twenty, Hasina used to say, Giti and I, we’ll have pushed out four, five kids each. But you Laila, you’ll make us two dummies proud. You’re going to be somebody. I know one day I’ll pick up a newspaper and find your picture on the front page (p.176).

  The plan to pursue her education brings her to the decision which going to lead her to make her dreams come true. To prove that she struggles to pursue her education, Laila has good grade at school. She is one of the best students at school.

  For the last two years (at that time) Laila receive the awal numra certificate, given yearly to the top-ranked student in each grade (p.123). Laila also usually help Tariq to do his mathematic homework even Tariq is her senior at school (p.160). It shows that Laila has strong passion to do the best for her education. She is filled with goodwill regarding with what she wants to be in the future for her education.

  Laila should forget about her plan because the political condition in the society that she is living in. She can not go to school anymore. Laila drops out of school bcause the streets are too dangerous. Hakim, Laila’s father tutors her since that time. Laila has strong passion to study.

  Laila lives under the Taliban law that forbids women to go outside from the house without a man relative but Laila has a plan to escape from Rasheed’s house with Mariam and Aziza. She has a high self-confidence that she can go outside the house and move to Pakistan without being arrested by the policeman.

  Laila asks someone to pretend to be their man relative. She believes that it will work. She asks the man to lied to the police that Laila with her mother [Mariam] and her daughter, Aziza don’t have anybody else in Kabul.

  She told him the story that she and Mariam had agreed on. She was a biwa, she said, a widow. She and her mother and daughter had no one left in Kabul. They were going to Peshawar to stay with her uncle (p.278). Laila is really sure that the man will help her, Mariam and Aziza to go from Afghanistan but the man told the militia that they go outside without a man relative. They are arrested and brought to the police station. At the police station, Laila still lied to the policeman when the policeman interrogates her.

  “We were going to stay with my uncle,” Laila said. “That’s the truth.” The policeman nodded. “The hamshira in the corridor, she’s your mother?” “Yes.” “She has a Herati accent. You don’t.” “She was raised in Heart, I was born here in Kabul.” “Of course and you are widowed? You said you were. My condolences.

  And this uncle, this kaka, where does she live?” “In Peshawar” (p.282). From the conversation, Laila shows that she is confident to say something although she is lying. She believes that the policeman will trust in her. At the end, the lie is revealed by the policeman.

f. Independent

  Laila is an independent woman. Murphy states that a person’s character in the novel can be revealed through how that person reacts to various situations and events. After all the member of Laila’s family are killed by the bomb. Laila can survive and struggle to face her life alone. She does not be distressed in a long time of the situation in which she loses all the members of her family. Through Laila’s reaction when she knows the fact that her mother and her father were dead shows that she is an independent person. Laila is still continuing her life although she doesn’t have any family. Laila decides to live in Rasheed’s house, her neighbor.

  She later gets married with Rasheed and living her live in Rasheed house as his wife. In her marriages, Laila also shows her independency. Murphy states that a person’s character can be revealed through what the character says. Laila goes outside the house to visit Aziza, her daughter alone to the orphanage. She says it to Rasheed.

  “Then I go by myself,” Laila said. “You can’t stop me, Rasheed. Do you hear me? You can hit me all you want, but I’ll keep going there” (p.343). Laila’s speech shows her independency by saying that she wants to go the orphanage to visit Aziza alone even though Rasheed forbids her. She shows her quality of being independent that she can do everything that she wants without being dependent to anybody else. Actually at that time, she must go outside with a man relative based on Taliban Laws but Laila still goes alone. It shows that she has a quality of being independent.

  In her second marriage with Tariq, Laila also shows her independency. She doesn’t want Tariq to accompany her when she wants to go to Heart.

  “Are you sure you don’t want me to come along?” Tariq says. “I’m sure” “I’m worry” “I’ll be fine,” Laila says. “I promise. Take the children to a market. Buy them something.” (p.420).

  The speech above reflects how independent Laila is. Laila prefer to go outside by herself without being accompanied by her husband. She shows her quality of being independent.

B. The Description of the Society

1. The Description of Time and Place

  The setting of time takes place in 1954-2003, in Herat, Kabul and Murree, Afghanistan. It is the time when political condition of Afghanistan is in disarray.

  There are many volatile events of Afghanistan's last thirty years from the Rule of Mohammad Zahir Shah, Presidency of Mohammad Daoud Khan, Communist Rule-pre Soviet invasion, Afghan-Soviet War, Dr. Najibullah's Regime, Mujahideen government and civil war, Taliban Rule, and post-Taliban rebuilding.

  Political unrest, deteriorating law and order situation, years of wars have left Afghanistan bleeding and made millions of Afghanis homeless and destitute.

  The two major characters, Mariam and Laila also suffer from it.

  Mohammad Daoud Khan encourages the abandonment of the veil by Afghan women. During these years, women gradually enjoyed much more personal freedoms and rights.

  … Saideh or Nasheed, both her own age, both students in the Mehri School in Heart, both with plans to enroll in Kabul University. Fifteen, evidently, was not a good, solid marrying age for them (p.51).

  Many girls can get the access to education up to university under the regime of president Mohammad Daoud Khan. Girls are free to choose which schools and universities they want to enter.

  Days later, when the communist began the summary execution of those connected with Daoud khan’s regime, when rumors began floating about Kabul of eyes gouged and genitals electrocuted in the Pol-e-Charkhi Proison, Mariam would hear of the slaughter that had taken place at the Presidential Palace. Daoud khan had been killed, but not before the communist rebels had killed some twenty members of his family, including women and grandchildren (pp.107-108). Daoud Khan is defeated by the people of People’s Democratic Party of

  Afghanistan (PDPA). There is the rise to power of the controversial People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) in 1978. “On the radio, a woman’s voice was saying that Taraki, the leader of the Khalq branch of the PDPA, the Afghan communist party, was in the streets giving rousing speeches to demonstrators” (Hosseini, 2007: 104).

  “A revolutionary council of the armed forces has been established, and our

  watan will now b known as the democratic Republic of Afghanistan,” Abdul Qader said (p.108).

  After Daoud Khan is defeated by the people of PDPA, Afghanistan becomes Republic of Afghanistan. In the Afghan capital and in some of the major cities under the communist government's control, woman did get to enjoy some basic freedoms.

  The government had sponsored literacy classes for all women. Almost two-thirds of the students at Kabul University were women now, Babi said, women who were studying law, medicine, engineering.

  Women had always had it hard in this country, Laila, but they’re probably more free now, under the communists, and have more rights than they’ve ever ad before, Babi said (p.144). The president of Republic of Afghanistan is Najibullah, under his regime; women get more freedoms and rights. Women have access to enter universities and have careers. Women were employed in significant numbers in universities, private corporations, the airlines and as doctors and nurses. But, for the nation as whole, it was a period of anarchy and destruction.

  Beginning with the Soviet Union (Russia) occupation in December 1979, Afghanistan witnessed a decade long war. Fuelled by external forces, funding, and political interests by the United States, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and China, the Mujahideen fought against the Soviets.

  … the Soviets were losing this war. Particularly now that the American president, Reagan, had started shipping the Mujahideen Stinger Missiles to doen the Soviet helicopters, now that Muslims from all over the world were joining the cause; Egyptians, Pakistanis, even wealthy Saudis, who left their millions behind and came to Afghanistan to fight the jihad (p.121).

  The Mujahideen is not only supported by the other countries like United States, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and china but also the men from Afghanistan.

  Ahmad and Noor had left Kabul for Panjshir up north, to join Commander Ahmad Shah Massoud’s forces and fight the jihad (p.129). In the time of Soviet invasion, there is jihad against the Soviet regime. Many men are delivered to the jihad and most of them died in the war.

  Children are the intended victims of Soviet land mine campaign. The article went on to say that the Soviets also liked to hide explosives inside brightly colored toys. If a child picked it up, the toy exploded, tore off fingers or an entire hand. The father could not join the jihad then; he’d have to stay home and care for his child (p.130).

  During the Soviet war, many civilians including numerous women and children were killed by the communist government and their Russian allies. There are also many bombs that destroy people’s houses and kill many civil. Many children lost their hands because of the bombs.

  After the Soviets surrendered, the government is under the Mujahideen. Mujahideen took over Kabul and declared Afghanistan an Islamic state.

  The freedoms and opportunities that women had enjoyed between 1978- 1992 were a thing of the past now—Laila could still remember Babi saying of those years of communist rule. Since the Mujahideen take over in April 1992, Afghanistan’s name had been changed to the Islamic State of Afghanistan (pp.226-227). The Mujahedeen entered Kabul and burnt down the university, library and school women were forced to wear the burqa and fewer women were visible on television and in professional jobs.

  The Soupreme Court under Rabbani was filled now with hardliner mullahs who did away with the communist-era decrees that empowered women and instead passed rulings based in shari’s, strict Islamic laws that ordered women to cover, forbade their travel without a male relative, punished adultery with stoning (p.277). Women get fewer freedom and rights under the reign of Mujahideen. They should wear a burqa, which can cover all part of their bodies. During this time, gross violations of abuses occurred not only against women but the population in general.

  In June of that year 1992, there was heavy fighting in West Kabul between the Pashtun forces of the warlord Sayyaf and the Hazaras of the Wahdat faction. The shelling knocked down power lines, pulverized entire blocks of shops and homes, Laila heard that Pashtun militiamen were attacking Hazana households, breaking in and shooting entire families, execution style, and that hazanas were retaliating by abducting Pashtun civilians, raping Pashtun girls, shelling Pashtun neighborhoods, and killing burned beyond recognition. Often they’d been shot in the head, had had their eyes gouged out, their tongues cut (pp.187-188). Many civilians are killed during the war of Mujahideen. In the internal of

  Mujahideen there are conflicts. The are some people who do not agree with the leader of Mujahideen, Massoud. They who do not agree with Massoud government, do some demonstration and make war.

  The Mujaheeden, armed to the teeth but now lacking a common enemy, had found the enemy in each other. Kabul’s day of reckoning had come at last. And when the rockets began to rain down on Kabul. People ran for cover (p.183).

  Many rockets are felt down and destroy many houses and kill many civilians. War gives bad situation to the life of Afghanistan that time. Many people suffer from it.

  “The Mujahideen are, in plain daylight, at gunpoint. They drag boys right off the streets. And when soldiers from a rival militia capture these boys, they torture them. I heard they electrocute them—it’s what I heard—that they crush their balls with pliers. They make the boys lead them to their homes. Then they break in, kill their fathers, rape their sisters and mothers” (p.270).

  Mujahideen treats women badly. In this period many young women were resorting to suicide to avoid rape, forced marriages.

  Mujahideen is defeated by the Taliban. The reign of Taliban bring many changes to the life of Afghanistan. Taliban makes strict laws that the people should obey.

  Men wielding pickaxes swarmed the dilapidated Kabul Museum and smashed pre-Islamic statues to rubble—that is, those that hadn’t already been looted by the Mujahideen. The university was shut down and its students sent home. Paintings were ripped from walls, shredded with blades. Television screen were kicked in. Books, except Koran, were

  Khalili, Pajwak, Ansari, Haji Dehqan, Asheaqi, Beytaab, Hafz, Jami, Nizami, Rumi Khayyam, Beydel, and more went up in smoke (p.300). There are fewer rights that girls and women can get under the reign of

  Taliban. Women’s main choice is just staying at home. Taliban laws are based on the law of Islam because Taliban changes the republic of Afghanistan become the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

  Mariam had heard the announcement, in January of that year, that men and women would be seen in different hospitals, that all female staff would be discharged from Kabul’s hospital and sent to work in one central facility (p.305).

  Women cannot get their right even in the very basic right that is healthcare. Taliban makes a law to separate the hospital for women and for men.

  There is lack of women doctors that can handle the condition in the hospital.

  In the period of post-Taliban rebuilding, Afghanistan tries to improve the social and political condition. The war is ended and the law in the reign of Taliban is abolished.

  In the past thirty years of messy political condition in Afghanistan, many people died and suffer.

2. The Characteristics of the Society

a. Patriarchal

  According to Kate Millet, patriarchy means subordinated the female to the male or treats the female as an inferior male, and this power is exerted, directly or indirectly, in civil and domestic life to constrain women (1970:36). It means that women are always positioned lower than men. Afghanistan can be included in patriarchal society because thy take men as the central power.

  A woman’s face is her husband’s business only (p.75). Men have superior power. Most of the men in Afghanistan force their wives to wear a burqa because men do not want their wives’ faces and bodies seen by other men. Burqa is a piece of clothing that covers a woman from head to foot. There is an opening for the eyes, but the rest of the body, except the hands, are covered.

  You will not, under any circumstance, show your face. You will cover with burqa when outside. If you do not, you will be severely beaten (p.297). Women have no other choice about their clothes when thy want to go outside the house because the Taliban also makes the law about wearing burqa for women.

  “True that it would be preferable that you marry a local, a Tajik, but Rasheed is healthy, and interested in you. He has a home and job. That’s all that really matters, isn’t it? And Kabul is a beautiful and exciting city.

  You may not get another opportunity this good” (p.52). Men have superior power in deciding to whom they will get married and when they want to marry someone. In the society, women are waiting for the proposal from the men. They usually accept the proposal because they think that they may not get another opportunity this good.

  As she walked with her had down, she caught bits of their banter, which seemingly always had to do with sick children or lazy, ungrateful husbands. As if the meals cooks themselves.

  Wallah o billah , never a moment’s rest! (p.70).

  Women’s main job in the house is to serve and fulfill their husband needs. They should cook for their husband and do other chores. In the house, men never take care of the chores. Women should do every single chore in the house without any help from men. Women have not enough time to get rest.

  “Now you know what your rice tastes like. Now you know what you’ve given me in this marriage. Bad food, and nothing else.” (p.111). When the husband does not like the food, he will get mad and do something brutality toward the wife. It is women’s job to make their husband’s happy although men never take enough care about their feeling.

  “Boy is better, Mariam jan, they carry the family name—“ (p.72). The society thinks that it is better to have a son than a daughter because a son will carry the family name. The husbands will get angry when their wives cannot give them a son.

  You will stay inside your homes at all times. It is not proper for women to wander aimlessly about the streets. If you go outside, you must be accompanied by a mahram, a male relative. If you are caught alone on the street, you will be beaten and sent home (p.297).

  The Taliban had positioned women in inferior position to men. Women are not allowed on leave the house without a male relative. It makes women be dependent to men. Women should be with a man relative when they want to go outside the house or they will get beaten. Women’s choice under the Taliban is staying at home all the time.

  Girls are forbidden from attending school. All schools for girls will be closed immediately. Women are forbidden from working (p.298).

  Women have lack opportunity of education and career in Afghanistan. The patriarchal system, which is found in the society, makes women dependent to men. Based on Taliban law, girls are forbidden from attending school, and women are forbidden from working. Women have no other choice except the activities in the house. What they can do is just to serve their husbands or the men in the house. Women become dependent to men because they cannot work. They just get the money from their husbands.

  You will not speak unless spoken to (p.298). Taliban takes one of the basic rights of women that is to speak. It is unusual for women to give their opinion because they are forbidden to speak unless spoken to. They do not have any choice to speak as what they want.

  Cosmetics are forbidden. Jewelry is forbidden. You will not wear charming clothes (pp.297-298).

  Taliban also forbids women to choose what they want to wear. Women have limited choices in their life due to the law that Taliban makes.

  For overall, the law that the Afghanistan Government, Taliban has does not allow women to have freedom of choice in every aspects in their life. Women suffered violence not only from the Taliban forces, but from their biological relatives and their husbands.

b. Fanatic

  September 1996, Afghanistan becomes the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Afghanistan has strict laws for the people to obey dealing with Islamic religion. Afghanistan is a religious society. They have dogmas and norms that lead them to be fanatic.

  All citizens must pray five times a day. If it is prayer time and you are caught doing something other, you will be beaten (p.296). Taliban makes laws about praying to the citizens. They should pray five times a day based on Islamism’s rules. The people who do not do this will be seen as criminals.

  If you are not Muslim, do not worship where you can be seen by Muslims. If you do, you will be beaten and imprisoned. If you are caught trying to convert a Muslim to your faith, you will be executed (p.297).

  In Afghanistan which is as an Islamic country, there is no place for the people who have different religion. They cannot do worship in the place where they can be seen by Muslims or they will be punished of doing crime against Islam.

  Laila heard of men being dragged from the streets, accused of skipping namaz, and shoved into mosques (p.300). All the citizens in Afghanistan should do the pray as the law under Taliban reign. Many people are forced by the Taliban army to do the praying.

  A month before that, Laila had learned that the Taliban had planted TNT in the crevices of the giant Buddhas in Bamiyan and blown them apart, calling them objects of idolatry and sin (pp.334-335). Taliban destroys many building that dealing with others religion like

  Buddha. Taliban destroys the crevices of the giant Buddhas because Taliban views the building as a sin.

c. Uneducated

  Rare of the people in Afghanistan have high formal education because of the political condition at that time. The boys in young age are sent to fight in jihad against Soviet and the girls are forced to get married in young age. “Ahmad and Noor had left Kabul for Panjshir up north, to join Commander Ahmad Shah Massoud’s forces and fight the jihad’ (p.129) “What is the communist” she asked.

  Rasheed snorted, and raised both eyebrows. “You don’t know what a communist is? Such a simple thing. Everyone knows. It’s common knowledge. You don’t… Bah. I don’t know why ‘m surprised. Then he crossed his ankles on the table and mumbled that it was someone who believed in Karl Maxist. “Who is Karl Maxist” Raaheed sighed. … “You know nothing, do you? You’re like a child. Your brain is empty. There is no information in it.” “I ask because—“ “Chup Ko. Shut up.” (p.104).

  The people in the society have lack of knowledge. They usually do not know simple thing and when a woman asks to her husband about something, the husband does not want to explain that appropriately.

  Writing books, watching films, and painting pictures are forbidden (p.297). Under The Taliban, people are not allowed to write book and watch films. In fact, watching films can give them education and they can not get that because the government forbids them.

  Girls are forbidden from attending school. All schools for girls will be closed immediately (p.297).

  Girls especially in Taliban do not have opportunity to get formal education in their life. They can not get any education in school. What girls have to do is just being at home, and wives take care of the house.

  Taliban also forbids the civilians to watch television. The people watch television by stealth.

  After curfew, everyone locked the doors, turned out the light, turned down the volume. A dozen times or more, they unearthed the TV from behind the toolshed, late at night, with the light out and quilts pinned over the windows (p.324).

  People do not have opportunity to get any information from television, it cause the lack of knowledge that the people have.

d. Conservative

  Tradition is the most important part for the people in Afghanistan. They oppose progressive changes in the society. They usually view something based on tradition.

  “… and I see his wife Fariba all the time walking the street alone with nothing on her head but a scarf. It embarrasses me, frankly, to see man who’s lost control of his wife.” (p.75). Man’s view on a woman based on whether or not that woman is wearing burqa. Burqa symbolizes a good woman. If there is a woman who does not wear burqa, men will think that she is a bad woman and she has a bad husband too. Men usually can not accept modern women who walk along strangers with makeup on their faces and nothing on their head.

  They had Eid visitors at the house. They were all men, friend’s of Rasheed’s… … Rashed had told Mariam that she was not to come down until the visitors left (p.87).

  Wives are not allowed to see men guests in the house because a woman’s face is her husband’s business only. The husband will ask his wife to go to her room and close the door if there is a man guest in the house.

  No, Babi meant the tribal areas, especially the Pashtun regions in the south or on the east near the Pakistani border, where women were rarely seen on the streets and only then in burqa and accompanied by men. He meant those regions where men who lived by ancient tribal laws had rebelled against the communists and their decreed to liberate women, to abolish forced marriage, to raise the minimum marriage age to sixteen for girls. There, men saw it as an insult to their centuries-old tradition, Babi said, to be told by the government—and a godless one at that—that their daughters had to leave home, attend school, and work alongside men (p.145). In some places of Afghanistan there are still many tribes especially men who cannot accept the equality between men and women. Based on their old tradition, government cannot control the condition of women, that women can get good education and careers. Those men oppose the laws that allow women to get education and careers. They think that based on their tradition, women should wear burqa, accompanied by men, do not leave home and do not have any career.

  …”what I’m trying to say is that if you’re not careful, people will talk” Laila had noticed the sly grins, was aware of the whispers in the neighborhood that the two of them were a couple (pp. 173-173).

  The society does not want to see a girl make any kind of relationship with boys even if it is just a friendship. They think it is a taboo when there are girls and boys who are close each other. The society will see girls and boys friendship as something wrong. They do not want to consider the meaning of friendship. They think that a girl or a woman should just waiting for man’s proposal.

  “He’s going to ask for my hand, Laila! Maybe as early as this summer. Can you believe it? I swear I can’t stop thinking about him.” “What about school?” Laila had asked. Giti had tilted her head and given

  By the time we are twenty, Hasina used to say, Giti and I, we’ll have pushed out four, five kids each. But you Laila, you’ll make us two dummies pound. You’re going to be somebody. I know one day I’ll pick up a newspaper and find your picture on the front page (p.176).

  Getting a high education is not an important thing in girls’ life because usually the girls in this society will get married in young age. Men will propose them and the girls just waiting. The society thinks that a girl should get married soon. Girls should not get high education in their life, because they will live with their husbands and take care of their family. The society always thinks this way about the girls’ life and their education. It is common for the society that a girl should married in young age.

  

C. The Struggle against Gender Discrimination Reflected through Mariam

and Laila

  Men are more superior to women. It happens in the society of the novel, A

  

Thousand Splendid Suns. Women are treated badly by men because in men’s idea

  they are stronger than women. There is some information about the condition of Afghanistan at that time, especially the point of view toward women. There is discrimination toward women’s position that becomes a culture in the society. The writer tries to reveal the struggle against gender discrimination that is reflected through the major characters, Mariam and Laila. The writer finds the struggle against gender discrimination based on their characteristics, their way of thinking and the way they struggle against the patriarchal society where they live in.

1. The Struggle to Get Freedom of Choice in the Society.

  By focusing on the characteristics of Mariam, the writer can see the struggle of hers against gender discrimination. Mariam is a critical woman. She always criticizes something that she thinks is not true for her. It happens when she criticizes about the condition of girls in her society. In the society it is common for a girl under 15 years old to get married when there is a man who has already proposed them. After Nana's funeral, Jalil takes Mariam to his house. Jalil's wife tells Mariam that Mariam is to be married off to a shoe shop owner named Rasheed in Kabul because Rasheed has already proposed her. Mariam says that she does not want to get married because she still wants to study at school.

  There was enthusiastic nodding at this. It did not escape Mariam that no mentioned was made of her half sisters Saideh or Nasheed, both her own age, both students in the Mehri School in Heart, both with plans to enroll in Kabul University. Fifteen, evidently, was not a good, solid marrying age for them (p.51). Mariam criticizes her father and her father’s wives when they say that fifteen is a solid marrying age for a girl. “What are you, fifteen? That’s a good, solid marrying age for a girl.”(p.51). Mariam thinks that fifteen is not an appropriate age for a girl to get married. She compares it with her stepsisters who have the same age as her and they are now still students Mehri School. Mariam says to them that 15 years old is not an appropriate age for a girl to get married. In the society, men have superior power in deciding to whom they will get married and when they want to marry someone. Women are waiting for the proposal from the men. They usually accept the proposal because they think that they may not get another opportunity this good. Mariam cannot accept this; she shows her struggle against gender discrimination that girls have the same opportunity to get what they want. Mariam thinks that girls have freedom of choice in their life. As a girl that is already 15 years old, society thinks that it is a solid marrying age for a girl. In fact Mariam also criticizes the society that force a woman to get married when there is a man who has already proposed her.

  Mariam is forced by her father, Jalil to get married with Rasheed. Jalil gets mad when Mariam criticizes this condition and says that she does not want to get married in young age.

  Jalil’s reaction toward Mariam’s criticism shows that in the society, women should always obey the commands from men. Women have no other choices than following the men’s need. Mariam later gets married with Rasheed because she is being forced by Jalil, her father.

  Mariam lives under the regime of Taliban. Taliban forbids women to wear clothes like what they like. “You will not, under any circumstance, show your face. You will cover with burqa when outside. If you do not, you will be severely beaten.” (p.298). Women do not have any opportunity to choose the clothes they want to wear. Mariam also suffer from it. When Rasheed asks her to wear burqa, Mariam characteristics of being a critical woman happens in this situation.

  Mariam shows her disagreement of this rule. Rasheed also tells Mariam that “a woman’s face is her husband’s business only” and he gives her a burqa to wear, which horrifies Mariam.

  Mariam had never before worn a burqa. The loss of peripheral vision was unnerving, and she did not like the suffocating way the pleated cloth kept pressing against her mouth (p.77).

  Man’s view on a woman based on whether or not that woman is wearing

  

burqa. Burqa symbolizes a good woman. If there is a woman who does not wear

burqa , men will think that she is a bad woman and she has a bad husband too.

  Actually, Mariam wants to be free of what she wants to wear in her life. Deep inside her heart, Mariam shows her disagreement toward the law in the society that forces women to wear a burqa.

  Like Mariam, Laila also shows her struggle to get freedom of choice in her life. She is such a rebellious person in order to get gender equality. It can be seen from the way she shows her disagreement toward the condition of women in her society. In the society, it is not common for a girl to have a friendship with a boy.

  Laila has a friendship with Tariq, her neighbor. All the people around them talk about it. Tariq also says to Laila that the women gossip about their behaviors as being sinful. Laila feels uncomfortable because she thinks that what she did was not wrong.

  Laila realizes her rights as a woman in society. She criticizes the stereotypes of women that the society forms. The society thinks that it is not common for a girl to have a boy friend and make a close relationship. The society believes that it is not appropriate. Laila makes a close friendship with a boy named Tariq, her neighbor. Almost all the people around them talk about their relationship.

  … ”what I’m trying to say is that if you’re not careful, people will talk” (p.172). Laila had noticed the sly grins, was aware of the whispers in the neighborhood that the two of them were a couple.

  … It is unfair. Laila felt like she was no better than these pots and pans, something that could go neglected then laid claim to, at will, whenever the mood stuck (p.173). Laila feels uncomfortable because she thinks that what she did was not wrong. She has a right and freedom to make any friendship or relationship with anybody she wants to. Since that time, Laila still make a relationship with Tariq. She does not care about what other people say about them. Laila rebels toward the society’s assumption about friendship between boy and girl. Laila shows to the society that she, as a girl has freedom to make a relationship with anyone she wants to.

  Laila also thinks that women and men have the same right in every aspect in life. One of the basic rights is freedom to love someone. Laila realizes it that as a woman she wants to love someone. Lailla loves Tariq her neighbor. There are many reasons that Laila has to love Tariq. Tariq is a man that always helps her in every problem that she has. Laila feels the equality between man and women because Tariq treats her as a real human.

  Tariq tucked the gun into the waist of his denims. Then he said a thing both lovely and terrible. “For you,” he said. “I’d kill with it for you, Laila.” (p187). Tariq wants to kill anyone who disturbs her. Laila feels something different if she is somewhere with Tariq. Tariq is different with other men around her, because Tariq treats her nicely, and she feels the equality between them. Laila has different view from the society that women should just waiting for the proposal of a man. Laila wants to choose her own husband she loves.

  Laila’s characteristics of being a rebellious person shows that as a woman she is free to do something what she wants, no matter how the society views what she does. Laila lives in a religious society that adores mosque, dogmas and ethics. Sexual intercourse outside marriage in the society is considered as a sin, but Laila has sex with Tariq, someone that she loves although they have not got married yet. Laila wants to do that because she loves him. In the society, the act of Tariq and Laila is forbidden, and certainly illegitimate in Afghan society in other words, her decision to have sex with Tariq is condemned. People are not allowed to have sex before they get married, but Laila thinks that what she did is the realization of her love. Laila believes that having sex with Tariq can be much more closely related to making love than the harsh and forced sex.

  Inside Laila to a battle was being waged: guilt on one side, partnered with shame, and, on the other the conviction that what she and Tariq had done was not sinful; that it had been natural, good, beautiful, even inevitable, spurred by the knowledge that they might ever see each other again (p.197). Laila feels guilty about having sex with Tariq, but at the same time, she feels that the act was right because she decides it herself.

  Laila is an independent person. Laila shows the way of being free and independent person in her life. When women should agree and accept proposals, Laila reacts. Laila builds her dream that a marriage is a decision comes from two person, man and woman. When Tariq proposes Laila, she does not accept that because she thinks that she still wants to live with Babi and Mammy, her family. She has freedom to decide when and with whom she wants to marry with. In the society, Laila is considered as a woman who is ready to get married, because Laila is already 15 years old. Laila does not want to follow society’s view toward the marriages for girls. She still wants to pursue her education.

  Laila is also a smart woman. She knows how to solve problem n her life. When Laila knows that she is pregnant because she had sex with Tariq and Tariq has already moved to Pakistan. Her family house is hit with a bomb and only Laila survives. She decides to marry Rasheed, Mariam’s husband and Laila’s neighbor. She thinks that it is her method of providing for her child.

  A part of Tariq still alive inside her, spouting tiny arms, growing translucent hands. How could she jeopardize the only thing she had left of him of her old life. She made her decision quickly. Six weeks had passed since her time with Tariq. Any longer and Rasheed would grow suspicious (p.232).

  Laila considers the unborn child to be a miracle as a memory of Tariq, a man that she loves. Rasheed does not know that Laila is already pregnant. Laila decides to get married with Raheed as soon as possible to conceal her pregnancy. By making decision to get married with Rasheed soon, Laila shows that she respect her life for she knows what she wants to do.

  Laila shows her freedom of choice in her life when she wants to escape from Rasheed’s house. Laila, Mariam and Aziza run away from Rasheed’s house.

  Laila is the first person who has this plan. Laila wants to escape from Rasheed’s house in the time when the political condition is really in disarray.

  “The Mujahideen are, in plain daylight, at gunpoint. They drag boys right off the streets. And when soldiers from a rival militia capture these boys, they torture them. I heard they electrocute them—it’s what I heard—that they crush their balls with pliers. They make the boys lead them to their homes. Then they break in, kill their fathers, rape their sisters and mothers” (p.270).

  Mujahideen treats women badly. In this period many young women were resorting to suicide to avoid rape, forced marriages. Laila does not care about the condition in the society under the reign of Mujahideen. Laila throws something different to the society that she is courageous to decide something in her life. She is brave to face everything Laila is able to explain many people about their rights in society, especially women that they have the same rights and freedom of choice as men do.

  Laila’s qualification of being a rebellious and courageous woman can be seen when she reacts toward the law in Taliban. Dealing with the law about men and women under the Taliban reign, Laila throws her idea frontally and bravely that she disagrees with it. She also gives her reasons, proving that she is logical and rational. When she is arrested by the policeman because she runs away from Rasheed’s house, Laila dares to speak about the injustice for women under the law of Taliban.

  “What about the law, then, Officer Rahman?” tears of rage stung her ayes. “Will you be there to maintain order?” “As a matter of policy, we do not interfere with private family matters,

  hamshira .”

  “Of course you don’t. When it benefits the man. And isn’t this a ‘private family matter,’ as you say? Isn’t it?” (p.284). In the society, women are not allowed to say something vocal like what

  Laila does. In the police office, Laila shows her thought of the law that Taliban makes to women. She criticizes the law under Taliban dealing with women’s oppression by their husbands. There is no certain law that can protect women from men’s oppression. Laila later delivered to Rasheed’s house because women’s voice is never be listened as well, but Laila who is very brave has showed to the society that women have freedom of choice to say what they want.

  Laila tries to break patriarchalism. Being inherited, it does not mean that the system can not be abolished. Laila realizes that, therefore, she tries to change it although it is difficult. Laila has an attitude of being confidence as a woman which reflects the struggle against gender discrimination. In her view, everyone has the same freedom to do everything she/he likes.

  There are fewer rights that girls and women can get under the reign of Taliban. Women’s main choice is just staying at home. Taliban laws are based on the law of Islam because Taliban changes the republic of Afghanistan become the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

  You will stay inside your homes at all times. It is not proper for women to wander aimlessly about the streets. If you go outside, you must be accompanied by a mahram, a male relative. If you are caught alone on the street, you will be beaten and sent home (p.298).

  The Taliban had positioned women in inferior position to men. Women are not allowed on leave the house without a male relative. It makes women be dependent to men. Women should be with a man relative when they want to go outside the house or they will get beaten. Women’s choice under the Taliban is staying at home all the time. Dealing with this situation, Laila throws something new to the society. When the society is familiar with the dependency of women to men, Laila drives it to the contrary. She disagrees with the opinion, therefore she cannot accept that.

  Crossing the street she was spotted by the Taliban and riddeled with the questions—What is your name? Where are you going? Where is your tongue-lashing or a single kick to the rear, a shove in the back. Other times, she met with assortments of wooden clubs, fresh tree branches, short whips, slaps, often fists (p.343). Laila is a courageous woman. She is brave to go outside the house to visit

  Aziza, her daughter alone in the orphanage. Many times she does this and she gets beaten by the police and sent home because she goes out alone without a man relative. From the past women are treated unfairly in the society. Laila believes that men and women are created equal and having the same freedom of choice in their life, therefore, Laila does not agree with the law about going outside the house with male relative for all women in Afghanistan. Laila is also brave to take the consequences of what she does of breaking the law of Taliban.

  Laila lives under the reign of Taliban. Women cannot have their rights even in the very basic right that is healthcare. Taliban makes a law to separate the hospital for women and for men.

  Mariam had heard the announcement, in January of that year, that men and women would be seen in different hospitals, that all female staff would be discharged from Kabul’s hospital and sent to work in one central facility (p.305).

  Women cannot get their right even in the very basic right that is healthcare. The Taliban made laws and began segregating men and women into separate hospitals. Male doctors are forbidden to treat women unless they are accompanied by a close male relative. Kabul's half-million women were relegated to one hospital that had 35 beds and no clean water, electricity or surgical equipment. In other words, the only women’s hospital in the city is in poor condition, and is sufficiently equipment. There is lack of women doctors that can bear her baby in the hospital. Laila reacts toward the condition of the healthcare facilities for women in Afghanistan.

  They won’t give me what I need. I have no X-ray either, no suction, no oxygen, not even simple antibiotics. When NGOs offer money, the Taliban turn them away. Or they funnel the money to the places that cater to men (p.310).

  Taliban does not facilitate the needs of healthcare for women in Afghanistan. They only concern about men’s needs. Women and girls are dying of treatable conditions because they can't get medical care. Laila reacts toward this condition. She rebels toward this condition. She cannot accept injustice that happens to women. She screams in the hospital that she needs help from the doctor soon.

  “Then cut me open,” Laila said. She dropped back n the bed and drew up her knees. “Cut me open and give me my baby.” (p.311). The doctor then goes ahead with the procedure and Mariam who accompanies Laila is amazed by how long she is able to go without screaming.

  Laila believes that as a woman, she also has the same right as men specially in getting the facilities of healthcare from the government. Laila is conscious about her freedom of choice in getting what she wants especially in getting good healthcare.

  Taliban makes a law for all women not to see men’s eyes. “You will not make eye contact with men.” (p.298). Women at that time do not have opportunity to speak with other men except men relatives. Laila breaks this rule. When Tariq comes to her house, Laila accept Tariq nicely. Laila does not care about the law that Taliban makes, she Laila thinks that she has the same opportunity like men to meet someone anytime and anywhere.

2. The Struggle to Get the Same Opportunity in Education and Career.

  Mariam lives in a society in which women’s position is lower than men’s. In the society men and women have different opportunity in education, working field and getting the rights. It is culturally and socially constructed. Mariam is an imaginative person. From her imagination she shows her dream of getting the equality between men and women in the society. Men dominate every aspect of human life and women do not have many roles. The society and government did not give any chances to women to do many things as men did. Women still discriminated. Women’s roles were only stay at home and do the household chores. Under the reign of Taliban, women are not allowed to get formal education wear and have career in Afghanistan. Only men that are allowed to get their education and have career. Mariam has strong passion get formal education and have career, she thinks that women also can do like what men do.

  Here as a woman, she [Mariam] thought, who had understood that she was lucky to even be working, that there was always something, something else, that they could take away (p.312). From this quotation or Mariam’s imagination it can be seen that Mariam rejects the society’s assumption that only men that are allowed to go to school and have career. Mariam shows that as a woman, she also have the same right to get education and have carrer. Mariam’s desire to go to school shows that she wants to get the equality and opportunity of education between men and women in life. Education can make her getting a better career.

  Mariam’s dream to get the opportunity in giving contribution to the society reflects in the time when Mariam and Rasheed are walking around the city.

  The women in this part of Kabul were different breed from the women in the poorer neighborhoods—like the one where she and Rasheed lived, where so many of the women covered fully. She imagined that they all had university degrees that they worked in office buildings, behind desks of their own, where they typed and smoked and made important telephone calls to important people. These women mystified Mariam (pp.80-81).

  Mariam is dreaming of having the same opportunity like what most of women in the city get; getting university degrees, working in an office building and do not wear burqa like her. Mariam wants the quality between men and women especially in the society she lives in that discrimination between men and women is still exist. Mariam’s struggle to get the same opportunity in education and career is reflected when she decides to escape from Rasheed’s house.

  The year had not been kind to Mariam. But perhaps, she thought, there were kinder years waiting still. A new life, a life in which she would find the blessings that Nana had said a harami like her would never see. (p.259) Mariam escapes from Rasheed’s house because she wants to have a better life. She wants to have the same opportunity as a women like what men have.

  Laila has some characteristics that make her different from other women in her society. The characteristics that Laila has show her struggle against gender discrimination. Laila has the quality of being smart, courageous, rebellious, confident and independent woman. She is bit different from Mariam who is patient, obedient, wise and imaginative. Laila shows her struggle against gender discrimination in her society frontally. She usually does something courageously and confidently.

  Laila is a confident woman. She always believes in her own ability to get something she wants. Laila was born under the reign of Najibullah. Under Najibullah, women get many freedoms and rights. Women have access to enter universities and have careers. Women were employed in significant numbers in universities, private corporations, the airlines and as doctors and nurses. In fact, under Najibullah regime or before the Mujahideen took over Kabul, about half of the working populations were women.

  The government had sponsored literacy classes for all women. Almost two-thirds of the students at Kabul University were women now, Babi said, women who were studying law, medicine, engineering. Women had always had it hard in this country, Laila, but they’re probably more free now, under the communists, and have more rights than they’ve ever had before, Babi said (p.144). Under these circumstances, Laila knows the real meaning of being a free person as a woman. Laila has a plan to be a university students like her father although in the society especially in the place she lives in, Kabul, there are rare women who become university students. Most of the women in her society get married in young age, under 15 years old.

  But Laila didn’t tell Hasina that Babi [Laila’s father] had said this these things, or how glad she was to have a father like him, or how proud she was of his regard for her, or how determinated she was to pursue her education just as he had his (p.123).

  Her father was a university-educated man. In contrary, Laila’s two friends Hasina and Giti will get married in young age. In her society it is common for a girl to get married in young age. Laila has different idea about marriage for girls. Laila thinks that education is more important than getting married in young age. Women in the society are typically uneducated.

  “He’s going to ask for my hand, Laila! Maybe as early as this summer. Can you believe it? I swear I can’t stop thinking about him.” “What about school?” Laila had asked. Giti had tilted her head and given her a We both know better look (p.176).

  Laila’s friend named Giti wants to get married in young age like the other girls in the society but Laila is only concern about her education. She wants to be an educated woman like her father who becomes a university-student. Laila shows something different toward the condition of women in her society, she does not want to get married in young age because she wants to pursue her education. Laila shows his characteristic of being a confident woman. She believes that she can reach her dream in getting high education. It is reflected when she lives under the reign of Taliban.

  In the society under the reign of Taliban, women’s opportunity is just staying at home. “Girls are forbidden from attending school. All schools for girls will be closed immediately. Women are forbidden from working.” (p.298). Women have lack opportunity of education and career in Afghanistan. The patriarchal system, which is found in the society, makes women dependent to men. Women have no other choice except the activities in the house. What they can do is just to serve their husbands or the men in the house. Women become dependent to men because they cannot work. They just get the money from their husbands. Laila is courageous. She reacts to this law. She can not accept this condition. She thinks that women also have the same opportunity as men.

  “They can’t make half the population stay home and do nothing,” Laila said. “This isn’t some village. This is Kabul. Women here used to practice law and medicine; they held office in the government” (p.298).

  From above quotation, Laila disagrees about the forced house arrest of women that the Taliban enforced. Laila wants to study in school until she can become a university student. Women who are conditioned by the culture and society to be weak creature and dependent to men can handle a profession to express their ability. Laila first step against gender discrimination between men and women is by showing his disagreement toward the law that Taliban makes, although Laila cannot make any realization to her dream under the reign of Taliban. She just makes her husband Rasheed mad because of her reaction toward the law. In fact, if Laila breaks the rule that the Taliban makes, she will get beaten.

3. The Struggle to Get Equality between Wife and Husband in Marriage.

  Mariam later gets married with Rasheed because her father and her father’s wives force her. Mariam is given no choice whatsoever in her marriage, and she is clearly not truly in love with Rasheed. Afghan culture, however, does not equate marriage with true love, but rather with convenience and necessity.

  Rasheed is Jalil’s business friend, Jalil want to marry Mariam to Rasheed because he is his friend. Mariam always obeys Rasheed’s commands, because she is an obedient person. In her marriages, Rasheed is abusive and cruel. Rasheed makes Mariam lose her beauty. He never takes enough care of her. Rasheed many times does kick, punch, slap and many other brutal action to her. Mariam is a patient inside her heart she critics the condition in her marriage. She cannot accept injustice. It happens when she cannot give Rasheed a baby boy. Rasheed forces Mariam to bear a baby boy. When Mariam discovers that she is pregnant, Rasheed is very obvious about his preference for a boy. In the society, having a son is kind of a pride. And a son brings family name.

  “Boy is better, Mariam jan, they carry the family name—“(p.72). Mariam cannot give Rasheed a son, because while in a bath house,

  Mariam suffers an accident in which she bleeds and falls unconscious. This accident causes Mariam to lose her baby. Mariam has lost her baby for the seven times. Rasheed decides to get married again with Laila because Mariam cannot give him any son. Mariam criticizes the condition in her marriage and the society because not only does pregnancy signify the main role of a woman in Afghanistan, but clearly not being able to bear a child has changed the way Rasheed views Mariam.

  “Don’t be so dramatic. It’s a common thing and you know it. I have friends who have two, three, four wives. Your own father had three. Besides, what I’m going now most men I know would have done long ago. You know it’s true.” “I won’t allow it.” (p.228).

  Mariam criticizes Rasheed when she wants to get married again to Laila. In the society, it is common for a man to have more than one wife. Mariam cannot accept this. She dares to speak in showing disagreement to Rasheed although it can make him angry. Mariam does not want to let Rasheed having one more wife. Mariam thinks that marriage is just between one man and one woman. She disagrees about the law in the society that allows men to have more than one wife. Mariam’s ability of being critical shows that she wants to say that as a woman she has the same right as man to say her opinion.

  Mariam is a wise woman. She knows how to decide something wisely. For many years, she gets the injustice in her marriage from her husband. Mariam thinks that she should do something. Mariam’s final decision to escape from Rasheed’s house shows that she has qualification of being a wise woman. She wants to live a better life that she cannot get for many years in her marriage.

  Mariam shows her struggle to get equality in this moment. She wants to live in a better life outside Rasheed’s house and begins a new life.

  The year had not been kind to Mariam. But perhaps, she thought, there were kinder years waiting still. A new life, a life in which she would find the blessings that Nana had said a harami like her would never see. (p.259) To make this dream comes true; Mariam decides to escape from Rasheed’s house with Laila and Aziza. Although women can not go outside without a man relative at that time, Mariam still does her plan to escape. This action shows that Mariam as a woman struggles to show that she is not weak. She wants to get her freedom from man’s domination toward her life. Mariam’s action can be related to the superior feeling of woman to be independence and get the rights to choose something in her life. Mariam also shows to the society that woman have freedom to choose what they want in their life. Mariam decides to escape from Rasheed’s house after she thinks for many times about the consequences. She is wise enough to do her plan in order to get a better life.

  Mariam is a patient and an obedient person. For many years in her cruel. “Women at that time were considered to be the second class people and the object of life when men are superior to the women. Men were the first class people in the society. Women’s position was limited only at home to control household.” (Walter, 1998: 186). It is clearly reflected in the husband and wife relationship between Mariam and Rasheed. Mariam’s role is clearly defined by Rasheed when he asks her to “act like a wife”. He demands that she clean and cook and he will ultimately require her to participate in sex that he forces upon her. Mariam cannot accept this. She criticizes Rasheed’s treatments toward her.

  It wasn’t easy tolerating him taking this way to her, to bear his scorn, his ridicule, his insults, his walking past her like she was nothing but a house cat. But after four years Marriam, Mariam saw clearly how much a woman could tolerate when she was afraid (p.104).

  Mariam is feed up with the condition in her marriage; she does not want to be treated as an animal. Mariam is afraid to fight against Rasheed because the society believes that a wife should obey her husband. If Mariam fight against what Rasheed wants her to do, Rasheed can tell the policeman that Mariam did something wrong.

  … Or if I could go to the Taliban one day, just walk in and say that I have my suspicious about you. That’s all it would take. Whose word do you think they would believe? What do you think they’d do to you? (p.302). Taliban only believes in men’s words. Women’s position under the reign of Taliban is really bad. Women cannot speak freely therefore they are afraid to break their husbands’ rule.

  Mariam saw now in those eyes what a fool she had been. Had she been a deceitful wife? She asked herself. A complacent wife? A dishonorable woman? Discreditable? Vulgar? What harmful thing had she willfully done to this man to warrant his malice, his continual assaults, the relish with which he tormented her? Had she not looked after him when he was ill? Fed him, and his friends, cleaned up after him dutifully? Had she not given this man her youth? Had she ever justly deserved his meanness? (p.372).

  At the end, Mariam cannot accept all the bad treatment that her husband gives to her. Mariam’s final rebellion toward the inequality in her society especially in her marriage is by killing her husband, Rasheed. As a wise woman, Mariam thinks that she needs to kill him. She tries to help other woman, Laila from her husband, Rasheed. Mariam feels that she wants to do something. She cannot accept injustice. She becomes angry, because this injustice happens to her and to other woman, Laila.At that moment Rasheed beats Laila and tries to suffocate her.

  Mariam saw that she was no longer struggling. He’s going to kill her, she thought. He really means to. And Mariam could not, would not, allow that to happen. He’d taken so much from her in twenty-seven years of marriage. She would not watch him take Laila too (p.373).

  In here, Mariam’s feeling that a woman cannot be feared in marriage by man appears. It arise her struggle against men’s domination toward her life and gets equality in her marriage and the society.

  In her marriages, Rasheed also oppresses Laila. Laila does not afraid to say something that she thinks is true because she is a courageous woman. As a woman who lives in patriarchal society, a woman usually cannot give her opinion. It is different from Laila. Laila knows that the position of a wife should be equal to a husband’s. A couple needs and should respect each other. What she is facing in the society is only one- way respect that is a respect from a wife to her husband. Laila cannot accept the brutality action that Rasheed, her husband gives to her. Laila belives that as a wife, she deserves to be treated well by her husband. Rasheed many times does kick, punch, slap etc when Laila does something wrong in his eyes. Laila cannot accept this; it is different from Mariam who always accept all the bad treatments from Rasheed for years in their marriage. Laila does not afraid to say what she thinks is true. She helps Mariam when Rasheed wants to abuse her.

  “Stop it! bas!”, “Rasheed you can’t do this!”, “No, you can’t do this” (p.255). Laila is not afraid to say something that she thinks is true. She will fight for something she believes worth fighting for.

  The girl [Laila] lunged at him. She grabbed his arm with both hands and tried to drag him down, but she could do no more than dangle from it. She did succeed in slowing Rasheed’s progress toward Mariam (p.255-256). Then Laila punch him. It was the first time she’d stuck anybody, discounting the playful punches she and Tariq used to trade (p.320).

  Laila’s action toward the brutality of Raheed shows that she wants an equal position in the marriage. She does not want to be treated as a weak creature.

  She is courageous enough to fight against her husband if he does something bad to them.

  The above evidence shows Laila’s success in her life and her desire to be treated equally as a human being who has the same rights and opportunity. Laila also shows her freedom to speak. It also happens when Rasheed asks Aziza to be a street beggar, Laila bravely speak that she disagrees with it.

  “I’ll keep a close eye on her,” Rasheed said, less patiently now. “It’s a safe corner. There’s a mosque across the street.” “I won’t let you turn my daughter into a street beggar!” Laila snapped.

  Laila protests against this decision. Laila’s speech showing her disagreement about Rasheed idea to make Aziza a street beggar shows that Laila is conscious about her right to speak about her thought as a wife in a family. As an attentive person, Laila does not want anybody she loves to get hurt.

4. The Struggle to Get the Same Position in Front of the Law.

  Mariam is one of very few women in Afghanistan that has committed a violent crime, and she become famous within the prison walls for her offence.

  No one the women in Mariam’s cell were serving time for violent crime— they were all there for the common offense of “running away from home”. As a result, Mariam gained some notoriety among them, become a kind of celebrity (p.388).

  It is as the result of being a wise woman in deciding to kill her husband. Mariam shows to the society that a woman also can do anything to reach the equality especially in the marriage.

  In the court of her execution, Mariam reacts toward the law that the Taliban makes to women. Since she was young, Mariam always criticizes something she thinks is not true.

  “I wonder,” the young Talib said. “God has made you differently, you women and us men. Our brains are different. You are not able to think like we can. Western doctors and their science have proven his. This is why we require only one men witness but two female ones.” “I admit to what I did, brother,” Mariam said. “But, if I hadn’t, he would have killed her. He was strangling her.” (p.390).

  In Afghanistan under the reign of Taliban there is only one men witness but two female ones. Mariam criticizes the law of Taliban in the court. She wants to plead herself in front of the court that what she did is not exactly wrong; she wants to say that as a woman she also have rights and the same position in front of the court to plead herself. Taliban cannot accept Mariam’s reason since in Afghanistan there is only one men witness but two female ones. Mariam is considered as one woman and cannot be a witness in the court. The Talib overseeing her trial does not believe her, and Mariam is sentenced to death.

  Mariam makes the ultimate sacrifice for Laila and the children, as she is willing to take the blame, and ultimately suffer the ultimate punishment for Rasheed’s death.

  Mariam thought, that she should die this way. Not so bad. This was a legitimate end to a life of illegitimate beginning (p.396). Mariam knows that her actions against Rasheed were completely justified and her execution therefore a legitimate manner of death. Mariam can accept the punishment of her action as one of the consequences in order against gender discrimination in her life.

CHAPTER V CONCLUSION From the analysis above the writer finds the answer for the three problems

  formulated in the first chapter. The first problem is about the characters of the major characters in the story, Mariam and Laila. In the story Mariam is described as an obedient woman, while Laila is a rebellious one. Other characteristics of Mariam are imaginative, patient, honest, critical and wise. This characteristics form her to obey almost all the rules for women in her society although actually she criticizes those rules to show her struggle against gender discrimination.

  Different from Mariam, Laila is described as attentive, smart, courageous, confident and independent person. These make her aware of her rights as a woman. Seldom does Laila obey the rules in the society. Laila shows something different to the society that women are not a weak creature.

  The second problem formulation is about the society in which the characters live. Mariam and Laila live in a patriarchal society, where there is the imbalance relationship between men and women within which women are positioned to be subordinate to men. The society has formed the ideal characteristics of women: They should obey all rules and orders from men. The other characteristics of the society where Mariam and Laila live in are fanatic, uneducated and conservative. The society they live in can be included in patriarchal society because it takes men as the central power. Men have superior power. Under Taliban reign, women are not allowed on leave the house without a male relative. Women have limited freedom of choice. Women also have lack opportunity of education and career. Many women get oppressed by their husbands in their marriage and they get unfair treatment in front of the law of Taliban. The patriarchal system, which is found in the society, makes women dependent to men. Women have no other choice except the activities in the house especially under the reign of Taliban.

  The third problem formulation is about the characters’ struggle against gender discrimination. Both Mariam and Laila struggle against gender discrimination. As individuals they show their struggle against gender discrimination in different way because they have different characters. In patriarchal society women cannot make any kind of decision, women should obey their husbands. Mariam usually criticizes something that she thinks is not true for her. It happens when she criticizes the condition of girls in her society and her marriage. Mariam criticizes her father when he wants to marrying her to her friend. Mariam criticizes her husband when he asks her to wear burqa and when he wants to get married again with Laila. Mariam makes the men around her get mad because of her critical personality. The men who get mad because of Mariam shows the condition in the society that women have lack opportunity to speak about what they want. It is difficult for Mariam to get gender equality because of the men around her. Mariam’s final struggle against gender discrimination is when she kills Rasheed, her husband. In this case, Mariam’s feeling that a woman cannot be feared in marriage by man appears. It arise her struggle against men’s domination toward her life and gets equality in her marriage and the society. Mariam is one of very few women in Afghanistan that has committed a violent crime, and she become famous within the prison walls for her offence. Mariam shows to the society that a woman also can do anything to reach the equality especially in the marriage. At the end, before she gets the execution, Mariam criticizes the law under Taliban which also shows that women have lack opportunity to get their rights in the society especially in front of the law.

  Laila’s struggle against gender discrimination is shown by her personality. Laila is a rebellious woman. She often makes decisions that contrast to her society. Laila does something that women in her society are afraid to do so. She violates some rules in the society. She makes a relationship with a man while in the society it is considered as something wrong. In her marriage, Laila is not afraid to fight against her husband because he oppresses her, while in the society a wife should always obey her husband. Laila is a person who thinks that education is important for women while in the time under the reign of Taliban, women are not allowed to school. She cannot accept this condition; she speaks to her husband and her husband mad because of her speech. Laila shows to the society that women have freedom of choice when she goes out from house. Under the Taliban reign, women are not allowed to go out the house without a man relative. Many times she does this and she gets beaten by the police and sent home because she goes out alone without a man relative. Women are treated unfairly from the past in the society. Laila believes that men and women are created equal and having the same opportunity in the society, therefore, Laila does not agree with the law about going outside the house with male relative for all women in Afghanistan. Laila is also brave to take the consequences of what she does of breaking the law of Taliban.

  From the analysis, the writer concludes that the major characters struggle against gender discrimination. They show some characters that make them different from other women in their society. Mariam and Laila struggle to get freedom of choice in the society, to get the same opportunity in education and career, to get equality in marriage and they also struggle to get the same position in front of the law.

  

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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  Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 1991. Dau, Rosalia. “Ideas of Feminism Revealed through the Main Character in

  Chewlow’s Not Married Not Bothered.” Undergraduate Thesis.

  Yogyakarta: Sanata Dharma University: 2008. Dupree, Nancy Hatch. Women of Afghanistan. Chicago: The University Press, 1986.

  Fakih, Mansour. Menggeser Konsepsi Gender & Transformation Social.

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  Forster, E.M. Aspects of the Novel and Related Writing. London: Edward Arnold Ltd., 1987. Goodman, Lizbeth. Approaching Literature; Literature and Gender. New York: Routledge, 1996. Hamali, Leo and Frederick R. Karl. The Scope of Fiction. New York: Mc Graw Hill, 1978. Henkle, Roger B. Reading the Novel. New York: Harper and Row Publisher, Ltd., 1977. Humm, Maggie. Feminism; A Reader. Columbus: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1992. Humm, Maggie. The Dictionary of Feminist Theory. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1990. Loomba, Ania. Colonialism/ Postcolonialism. New York: Routledge, 2000. Madsen, Deborah L. Feminist Theory & Literary Practice. London: Pluto Press, 2000. Marsden, Peter. The Taliban: War and Religious in Afghanistan. London: Zed

  Mendelson, Sarah E. Changing Course: Ideas, Politics, and the Soviet

  Withdrawal from Afghanistan. Princetown : Princetown University Press, 1998.

  Moghadam, Valentine M. Nationalist Agendas and Women’s Rights: Conflicts in

Afghanistan in the Twentieth century. New York: Routledge, 1997.

Montagu, Ashley. The Natural Superiority of Women. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1953. Murphy, M.J. Understanding unseen; An Introduction to English Poetry and the

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  Clandon and Gloria in Shaw’s You Never Can Tell.” Undergraduate Thesis. Yogyakarta: Sanata Dharma University: 2005.

  Wellek, Rene and Warren, Austin. Theory of Literature. London: Peregrine Books, 1963. Widyaningrum, Ratri. “Idea of Feminism in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.” Undergraduate Thesis. Yogyakarta: Sanata Dharma University: 2003.

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