Compare And Contrast A Thousand Splendid Suns And Tess Of The D Urbervilles

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In the openings of the novels ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ and ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’, Hosseini and Hardy portray their female characters as victims of circumstance, making them sympathetic characters. While the openings of the two novels are set in different times and in different places, with ‘A Thousand…’ being set in the 1950s in Herat, Afghanistan and ‘Tess of…’ being set in rural England during the late 19th century, Mariam and Tess have similar predicaments. They are both women living in poverty under an oppressive patriarchal society and both have difficult lives due to society and the people around them - Mariam is a ‘harami’ who is unwanted by her father and treated harshly by her mother, while Tess has to look after her family …show more content…
In ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ , Mariam is shown as being at a low place in society and as being forced into isolation by her own father. One of the places in which Hardy does this is when Jalil explains to her how grey clouds get their colour – “That’s what you see, Mariam jo, he had said, the dark in their underbelly.” Mariam is low down in society as both a woman and an illegitimate child, so she only sees the ‘underbelly’ of the cloud. The fact that she can only see ‘the dark’ of the clouds reflects how bleak and hopeless her situation is. The reader learns more about Mariam’s feelings and status through the game she plays with pebbles – “She put four pebbles in the first column, for Khadija’s children, three for Afsoon’s, and three….for Nargi’s children. Then she added a fourth column. A solitary, eleventh pebble.” Being the eleventh pebble and the only one in the fourth column tells the reader that Mariam is aware she is the odd one out of Jalil’s children, and the adjective ‘solitary’ shows the lonely life that Jalil has given her. By describing herself as a pebble, it appears that Mariam feels small. Metaphors are also used in ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ to describe the difficult life that has been set out for Tess, one of these being the path that she has to take to fetch her parents due to their lack of responsibility – …show more content…
Both Mariam and Tess are disadvantaged in society from birth due to their gender. Mariam lives in poverty due to Jalil 's inability to fully accept her as his child, and her mother 's behaviour leads her to leave her home and end up in an arranged marriage. The inability of her parents to provide for the family and her mother 's desire for Tess to get married pushes Tess towards

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