The Question and Answer section for A Thousand Splendid Suns is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
In my opinion, it isn't showing the "modern" women that takes predence, but rather the women's desire to be "modern". These women are pioneers in what for them is a very dangerous situation. Through these women, we see courage and tenacity..... an...
The burqa is a head covering.
From the text:
He fished a sky blue burqa from the bag. The yards of pleated cloth spilled over his knees when he lifted it.
Mariam had never before worn a burqa. Rasheed had to help her put it on. The padded...
Laila's father, Hakim, is an Afghan history expert. He always encouraged Laila to have an education. Mariam was always told that education was wasted on girls and that her role was merely wife and childbirth.