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Though throughout the novel there are references to Nana's life as an individual prior to her connection to Jalil, Nana's life revolves around her role as Mariam's mother. Nana clings to Mariam as her only strong familial connection. Nana tries to instill in Mariam that she will always be in servitude to men so she should develop acceptance and perseverance. When Mariam begins to attempt to deepen her relationship with Jalil, Nana kills herself. Mariam and Laila have an adversarial relationship to begin with. They are both married to the same man and Laila was brought in as the younger spouse who will give Rasheed a boy. Rasheed is an abusive misogynist at heart. The two women begin to bond over Aziz (the baby) and support each other against Rasheed's constant abuses. Both women become very close. They made each other's lives more bearable.