Khaled Hosseini states:

"Like a compass needle that points north, a man's accusing finger always finds a woman. Always.”

Even though this qoute is conveyed via Mariam's mother 'Nana', the author of this book is a male. He portrays a controversial view of men accusing women through this quote, eventually directing to the famous stereotype of women being weaker than men and being unable to defend themselves. This especially applies to the introverted relations between a husband and wife in the culturally tied Asia.

Reading this qoute in the opening chapter of the book, it makes the reader wonder why it was said in the first place, keeping in mind that the author himself is a man. Does this apply only to the men in Afghanistan? If so, he himself along with his family descends from Afghanistan. As he has not made it clear in the book, are we able to say that he is saying that from experience, i.e. he himself or one of the poeple he knows and are close to have done so?

It just confuses me because one point of view can be that he is excluding himself from the men who always blame women, because a person wouldn't commit to this accusation himself, or on the other hand he might have done so and there is a hint of realization?

Overall, is there a contextual point that he might be trying to make about himself, or is it just about the characters in the book?

2 Answers 2


The book's main focus revolves around Mariam and Laila. A recurring theme is how the men in their lives fail them. From Mariam's biological father to her husband, every prominent male figure seems to cause her misery or lead her towards it. The statement is directed towards the men in this story, to men who are involved in similar stories; whether it relates to him is not of importance and likewise it is given no importance. It is not meant to be a confession, rather a general observation. It may imply that men in his life have done similar things, but the generalization, by calling them "a man", instead of referring to specific men, shows that he is trying to get the reader to look at the bigger picture, not just personal examples. He is making a statement about the men of the society, not only men in his life and not only the men in this book. As a result of patriarchal societies, more specifically, in Afghanistan, women tend to be at the receiving end of all blame. You ask why it was used; this quote has significance as later on we see Mariam's husband blaming her for her infertility, despite the fact that it is something beyond her control. Nana was also blamed and shunned for having a child out of wedlock, despite the fact that Jalil consented to all of it. Nana was shunned while Jalil was able to live his life with his riches and wives.


I am not a literary person or anything... I just love to read and I loved the book 'A thousand splendid suns'... I think what the author means is that whenever something bad happens the men and the patriarchal society always tend to blame it on women....

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