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An Eco-feminist Reading of a Thousand Splendid Suns

Author JiangYingYing
Tutor CaoLiHua
School Liaoning University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords eco-feminism patriarchy oppression resistance harmonious relationship
CLC I712.074
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
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A Thousand Splendid Suns is Afghan-American writer Khaled Hosseini’s secondnovel that comes after his maiden work The Kite Runner. The enormous success of hisfirst novel makes the second one receive great attention and it becomes one of the bestsellers in the list of nation’s major selling since it was published. The novel succeeds inportraying its impressive characters and its realistic and touching plots, which arelingering over the minds of the readers long after reading the novel. Khaled’s first novelThe Kite Runner has already been adopted into a film by Dream Works, and his secondone will follow the same step. It will be adopted into a film by Columbia Pictures. AThousand Splendid Suns is a story about two Afghan women. Mariam is an illegitimatechild of a rich businessman and a maid. After experiencing a series of family changes,she has to accept the arranged marriage and marry a shoemaker Rasheed who is thirtyyears older than her. This is the beginning of another unfortunate life experience and it isnot changed until the appearance of another female character Laila. Laila loses herparents in a bombing and then becomes Rasheed’s second wife after being saved by him.From then on, these two women bear the domestic violence and insult from their husband.However, under the influence of Laila, Maraim rebuild her belief for better life andobtain the courage to pursue happy life. The bitter experiences of two female charactersare representative, and the novel displays the author’s sympathy for Afghan womenthrough presenting their hard life in a patriarchal society. Meanwhile, the author alsopresents the destruction of nature that is brought by the endless war and instable politicalsituations in Afghanistan.The novel has received great attention since it was published. However, theresearches of it in China are relatively rare. Therefore, in order to make people betterunderstand this novel, this thesis will interpret and analyze the novel from the perspectiveof eco-feminism. Eco-feminism appeared in the1970s. It was originated from feminismand it is one of feminism branches. Eco-feminism, which combines ecology and the ideaof feminism, opposes anthropocentrism and androcentrism and criticizes the values ofpatriarchy. This thesis uses the theory of eco-feminism to reveal the control and oppression on women and the devastation on nature in the patriarchal society. It tries todemonstrate the ecological and feminist consciousness in the novel and to show author’srumination on the relationship among nature, men and women.This thesis is composed of three parts and they are an introduction, main body and aconclusion.Some information and comments given in the introduction is about the authorKhaled Hosseini and his novel A Thousand Splendid Suns. The domestic and overseasresearches of the novel and the meaning of this thesis are also included in this part.The main body of the thesis is divided into three chapters:The first chapter illustrates the theory of eco-feminism and the possibility ofinterpreting the novel with the theory. In this chapter, the origin, the formation and thedevelopment of eco-feminism are introduced as they are the theoretical bases of thethesis.The second chapter analyzes the relationship among nature, men and women fromthree aspects. In the first part, the close relationship between nature and women is shownthrough the life experiences of the two female characters which are correspondent withthe seasonal change. The second part analyzes that the devastation of the ecology and thedeterioration of the environment will bring their bad effects on human beings themselvesboth physically and mentally. The third part analyzes two male characters’ oppression onwomen. Their oppression causes the hard experiences of women in the patriarchal society.The two male characters Jalil and Rasheed take women as the tools to satisfy their owndesires. Women in their life play the role of servants and tools to give birth. It isconcluded by analyzing that women are unequal to men in status and they are not giventhe rights as a human being because men think they are superior to women in patriarchalsociety. It also reveals the causes that lead to women’s tragedies.The third chapter expounds the revenge of nature and the resistance of womenwhen they are facing the oppression of the patriarchy. It eulogizes women’s spirit ofresistance and illustrates that nature and women should not be the subordinations to menand live under the oppression of them. What they should do is to fight for their rights.Besides, this chapter also analyzes the close relationship between women and nature andbetween men and women to reveal that the three should be in harmony. It appeals human beings to love nature, merge into nature and be its friends instead of its enemies. In thisway, human beings can build a society in which they can live harmoniously with natureand ecological environment will be sustainable.The conclusion generalizes and summaries the whole thesis. This thesis uses thetheory of eco-feminism to interpret the novel A Thousand Splendid Suns. It points out theoppression on nature and women and rethinks the relationship among nature, men andwomen. The analysis of the novel A Thousand Splendid Suns with eco-feminist theorygives the novel not only realistic meaning but also social value. People should realize theimportance of building a harmonious society and sustainable ecological system. Whennature, men and women are treated equally, human beings can live healthily on the earthand human society can develop smoothly.

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