A Thousand Splendid Suns

Why has Rasheed become so cruel to Mariam and Laila? How has the breakdown of society, as a result of the war, allowed this to happen?

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Rasheed is a misogynist who hides behind his religion. He has huge self-esteem issues, which he projects onto women he can dominate. He sees women as possessions that must validate his manhood. Rasheed reveals to Laila that Mariam is a harami and compares her to a trusty Volga automobile. However, Rasheed equates Laila to a Mercedes Benz - one that requires special care. Rasheed holds Laila in higher regard because she is younger, beautiful, and smart. He, however, finds Laila more temperamental than and not as submissive as Mariam. He hates women because of his own inadequacies.