Power does affect relationships. This is evident through the story 1000 Splendid Suns and I give prime examples through the points blow in this post.
Mariam’s father values his wealth over his relationship with his daughter where he gives her away to be married to a stranger.
Rasheed’s power affected Mariam and Laila’s relationship and life throughout the story. He unfortunately made them both question their worth and abused them, this especially had an impact on Mariam, where he wondered if life was worth living. On the other hand, Rasheed’s attitude made them into stronger, more adaptive women.
Tariq is the love of Laila’s life, he showed her that she is equal in their relationship and valued. He came back for her like he promised so they could get married. He then let Laila move the whole family back to Kabul because its what she wanted and Tariq wanted her to be happy.
Mariam’s relationship with her father truly shows how power does affect relationships. Mariam’s father sets up an arranged marriage where she was separated from him forever; against her will she had to move from her home and city to live with Rasheed. This moment of not being able to say no to the marriage had her mind spinning and questioning her value as a human. Her father no longer wanted her and made her marriage arrangements with Rasheed, she then lost her trust in just about everyone in her life.
Jalil, Mariam’s father, is a rich business man and a local icon, so he would never want to jeopardize those things and although he does love Mariam as his daughter, he values his money and image more and he throws away his relationship with her for this power.
In the beginning, Mariam is younger and a carefree person where she adventures off to find Jalil. Her sense of adventure and carefree personality took over in this moment and she didn’t think twice about the consequences, showing her Id. Once Mariam married Rasheed he became the Id figure in their relationship because he has a temper and doesn’t think before speaking. Mariam was forced to become the Superego thinker when she started living with Rasheed to balance out the relationship and she had to think and act cautiously about what to do in certain situations to not make him mad. Rasheed never realized how Mariam’s personality changed from Id to Superego but she was almost forced to, to be able to survive living with Rasheed. This was the power that he had and the fear Mariam lived in that she had to change herself for him.
Marxist Theory/Feminist Theory:
The author makes the classes very evident in the book where men and women are not equal. Rasheed and his family are a middle-class household, he has a two-story house with the essentials and some spending money, yet the laws change and the famine hits, and Rasheed has ran out of money after pampering his son Zalmai. Rasheed decided to give Laila to the orphanage to save money. The direness and hardship of this situation is apparent where they had to give away their child to keep the family from starving to death. Rasheed’s love for Zalmai got the best of him and he wasn’t watching what he did with his money and it ended up ruining the family. Laila and Mariam discussed his spending throughout the story and seen his bankruptcy coming but they had no say in what Rasheed did with his money. They tried to warn him and help but he refused to listen to them because he is above them and he thinks they are stupid, uneducated women.
The laws in Afghanistan quickly changed and women were no longer able to go outside without being escorted by a man, this was a huge change for Laila and Mariam. They ended up bonding over many things like this situation and it brought their relationship closer, they were there for each other and supported one another through the challenging times.
Mariam had to eat pebbles, Rasheed abused his wives, he forced his wives to wear burqas, they were starved and many more reasons showed that Rasheed was the man of the house and that his power was the biggest thing in the way of them having happier lives. If Rasheed wasn’t so forceful, they all would have been happier people and would have improved their quality of life. An opposite connection to Laila’s parents is that her father and mother were much more equal, and Laila was raised in a healthy and happy home. These are polar opposite living conditions were right across the street from Laila’s happy home all her life Mariam was being abused.
Mariam and Laila often looked at Rasheed with fear instead of as a loving and caring husband like they should.
The Text-to-Text Connections
In the movie The Maze Runner, Thomas shows up in the maze and quickly learns that Gally has lots of power, people respect him and he’s the leader. It isn’t until Thomas shows up and has a different perspective and different ideas on how to survive that others start to question Gally and his decisions. Gally’s power and respect begins to shift from him to Thomas and the two of them argue about what is right and wrong. They could have worked together and had a better outcome but all Gally wanted was to be right and have power and this affected their relationship and he ended up making the wrong decision and not going with Thomas. I connected this to the fact that Rasheed is an abusive husband and has much more power than Mariam and Laila do. Since he does not treat them well they don’t have a good bond resulting in them not having anyone to support them, alike Gally and Thomas.
Here is a link to The Maze Runner trailer where you can see Thomas’ wisdom and curiosity come to life, and conflict with Gally spark.
In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Ron Weasley isn’t the most well-known person around Hogwarts whereas Harry and Harmoine seem to be better known by teachers and students. Although Ron does like his friends, he is often seen following them around and is a supporting character in the story. He relies on his friends for many things including support, his reputation at the school, mysteries to solve and fun. This reminds me of how Laila and Mariam rely on Rasheed to provide for them since they are not allowed to work. Ron is a supporting character in Harry’s life because Harry has more power than him, and Mariam and Laila are supporting characters in Rasheed’s life because he has more power than them.
For more information on characterization, lenses and/or text-to-text connections, check out our groups padlet below!