A Thousand Splendid Suns

Why does Rasheed demand total submission from the two women?

Why does he not want to be with them?

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It is a part of his cultural expectation that these women kowtow to him even though he does not really want either one of them. He wants to do whatever he wants to them, but he also is very angry that they might disobey them or stand up for one another when, in fact, he hurts them.

Rasheed is an abusive husband. He follows the religion of Islam for as much as it serves his interests. Neither woman was married for love; Rasheed's purposes for marriage in each instance was to have children. He has no romantic interest in women, they are meant to serve him as he wishes.