CHARACTER AND ANALYSIS.docx - CHARACTER AND ANALYSIS Mariam one of two female protagonists is a quiet thoughtful child at the start of the book Born out

CHARACTER AND ANALYSIS.docx - CHARACTER AND ANALYSIS Mariam...

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CHARACTER AND ANALYSIS Mariam , one of two female protagonists, is a quiet, thoughtful child at the start of the book. Born out of wedlock to a rich and married businessman (Jalil) and his former housekeeper (Nana), Mariam resents her mother's strict ways and the fact that she only sees her father once a week. Mariam's shame at being illegitimate makes her unable to stand up for herself. When her mother commits suicide after Mariam runs away at age 15, Mariam is plagued by guilt that controls her for much of her life, which contributes to her tolerance at being married to the abusive Rasheed. During her long marriage to Rasheed, Mariam's inability to have children turns her into a resentful, bitter, and fearful woman. This helps her understand her own mother better, and Mariam's life changes with the arrival of Laila, Rasheed's second wife. Through her love for Laila and Laila's children, Mariam is able to fulfill her wish to be a mother and to finally give and receive love. Laila , the second female protagonist, is the youngest child and only daughter of Hakim and Fariba. The absence of both of Laila's older brothers, who have gone to war, makes her mature for her age and fills her with a sense of purpose. Laila has a strong desire to use her intelligence and education to improve the world around her. At age 15, Laila falls in love with her best friend since childhood, Tariq, but war forces Tariq and his parents to flee to Pakistan. Days later, a rocket kills Laila's parents and wounds her, and Rasheed and Mariam nurse her back to health. Laila's idealism and independence are challenged when she decides to marry Rasheed in order to give her unborn child by Tariq a father. Upon becoming a mother, Laila puts her children first and finds she is willing to accept limitations she once would have openly mocked. Through her growing relationship with Mariam, Laila not only takes
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