A Thousand Splendid Suns

The Lasting Effects of Abuse in Miriam’s Life

Miriam, a main character in the novel A Thousand Splendid Suns, experiences extreme physical, mental, and sexual abuse from virtually every authority figure in her life. Using Hosseini’s book and Erik Erickon’s Psychosocial stages of development, this essay will explore not only the acts of abuse but their lasting effect on her behavior and definition of self.

Miriam’s mother, having given birth to her and spending the most consecutive time with her, effected Miriam the most and established the damaging patterns of thought and behavior that would haunt her for the rest of her life. According to Erikson, her mother damaged two major developmental stages of her life. The first begins at eighteen months, where the child attempts to establish self confidence and begins to experience shame. On the first page of the story, Nana expresses distain, contempt, and a borderline hatred of her own daughter by calling her a "clumsy little harami (bastard)'...'as if she were saying a cuss word." (Hosseini,4) She then repeatedly told her daughter that being a harami was so horrible that people would view her as nonhuman or a shameful person who should hide from society. This instilled in Miriam an inferiority complex, sense of...

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