by the time laila is rescued from her home by rasheed and mariam their marriage has become a miserable existance of neglect and abuse. but when she realizes rasheed intends to marry laila, she reacts with anger. given laila's presence actually tempers rasheed's abuse, why is mariam so hostile?
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When Miriam marries Rasheed she's afraid of him and angry at her father for arranging the marriage. Rasheed is a domineering husband, but he softens toward Miriam when she conceives, and then she miscarries. Trying to bring a baby to term is something Miriam for whatever reason cant do. She miscarries several times, and with each miscarriage Rasheed becomes more and more abusive.
When Laila is rescued, Rasheed insists that Miriam take care of her and nurse her back to health. Captivated by Laila, Rasheed wants her for his wife; she already loves another and is actually pregnant, but Rasheed has a man visit and tell her that her lover is dead. The story goes on, but Miriam isn't happy about the arrangement. Regardless of how she feels about Rasheed, another wife is competition, a pregnant wife can give him the son he wants. With Rasheed and Leila's marriage, she is not only an abused wife but an displaced wife. She hasn't even a child of her own.
A Thousand Splendid Suns