A Thousand Splendid Suns

What does Mariam's memory of this suggest about her sense of herself and her mother's relationship?

The novel opens up with a curse word in frustration by Mariam's mother, when Mariam breaks a treasured heirloom

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The opening of the novel sets the foundation for the book's more macrocosmic themes. Nana refers to Mariam as a “harami" (bastard or illegitimate child) in order to suggest that Mariam's birth was the consequence of an extra-marital affair. The term "harami" frames her upbringing as one that is illegitimate, a reference that Mariam herself makes in a later chapter. On the opposite side, Jalil appears as the standard for “legitimacy” according to societal views. Yet, once he lets Mariam down and subsequently rejects her presence at his home, his legitimacy as a father is called into question. In addition, Jalil’s relationship to Nana and Mariam displays his shame of this “second family”.