The novel “A Thousand Splendid Suns” written by Khaled Hosseini, introduces the readers to many relationships including the one shared between father and daughter. The two father/daughter relationships that are portrayed in the novel are between Mariam and Jalil, and Laila and Babi. The author makes the reader embody themselves in the role of a women living in Afghanistan to present how social gender expectations, hierarchies in afghan culture and the dependencies of a parent and their child, affects the bond between father and his daughter.
Firstly, Hosseini illustrates challenges in a father-daughter relationship through social expectations carried out by patriarchal beliefs, expectations of women and rights given to people based on their gender. To begin, men are expected to be the protectors of the family’s honor, the women, and through society's eyes, be strong, brave and oppressive. People view Babi as “a man who's lost control of his wife (Hosseini 41),” as the patriarchal society they live in believes that the men in the family should not give females the freedom that Babi gives the women in his life. The leeway that Babi gives the women in his life illustrates his blind trust for his daughter as the morals he runs by are against society's beliefs, which goes to prove how there is a strong father-daughter bond present. Next, the patriarchal expectations of women tug on father-daughter relationships to loosen them. In society, the women are seen as a waste of time and should not be educated, just married, but Babi feels that “marriage can wait [while] education cannot (Hosseini 63).” Babi goes against society’s values and provides his daughter with an education as he knows the importance of it and wants his daughter to value it as well; Babi’s urge to send Laila to school shows how he truly cares about her future and can be used to confirm the presence of a strong father-daughter relationship. Lastly, the imbalance of rights given to people based on gender are used to diverge relationships. In the plot, Jalil has the right to make the final decision, as he lives in a patriarchal society, and engages Mariam against her will and without any of her input to Rasheed. The ignorant decision made by Jalil lead to Mariam and him diverging paths, which goes to show how society’s patriarchal beliefs negatively impacts a father-daughter relationship. To sum up, Hosseini shows how gender roles challenge father-daughter relationships through social expectations carried out by patriarchal beliefs, expectations of women and rights given to people based on their gender.
In the novel, through the father-daughter bonds, cultural hierarchies were portrayed to show how males are said to be above women in aspects such as; politics, social, and, economical. As such, the relationship between Mariam and Jalil was very connecting yet quite distant due to the difference of their social classes. An example of this is when the aut...