Postcolonial feminist reading of Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns

Document Type: Research Paper


1 PhD Candidate, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 MA in English Language and Literature, University of Semnan, Semnan, Iran


Postcolonial feminism is an exploration into the interactions of colonialism with gender, nation, class, race, and sexualities in different contexts of women’s lives. Postcolonial feminism or the ‘Third World feminism’ originated as a critique of mainstreams in the Western feminist theorists, investigating the portrayal of women in the literature and society of the colonized countries as marginalized and oppressed ones in every aspect of life, namely, cultural, religious, political, economic, social, legal and artistic, in such a way that they are considered as inferior beings. Postcolonial feminism declares that an inclination towards homogenizing and universalizing women by focusing exclusively on the involvement of women in Western lifestyle is a heedless attempt, because in this case, they are only defined by their gender and not by social class, race, feelings, ethnicity, sexual preferences, and setting of the colonized territories. Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns depicts the social, cultural, and political structures that support the devaluation, degradation, and violence endured by the female characters in the novel. From a postcolonial feministic perspective, this paper attempts to investigate the plights of women, particularly the two major characters of the novel, Mariam and Laila, which are enforced on them through the patriarchal culture and standards.


Gandhi, L. (1998). Postcolonial Theory: A Critical Introduction. Australia: Allen & Unwin.
Gordan, M., & Almutairi, A. S. (2013). Resistance, a Facet of Post-colonialism in Women Characters of Khaled Hosseini’sa Thousand Splendid Suns. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature, 2(3), 240-247.
Hosseini, K. (2007). A Thousand Splendid Suns. London: Bloomsbury.
Hosseini, K. (1956). A Thousand Splendid Suns. International Journal of Applied Linguistic & English Literature, 2: 240-247.
Landry, D. & MacLean, G. (2013). The Spivak Reader: Selected Works of Gayati Chakravorty Spivak. New York & London: Routledge. Loomba, A. (2005). Colonialism/Postcolonialism. New York: Routledge. McLeod, J. (2000). Beginning Postcolonialism. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Mills, S. (2003). Feminist Postcolonial Theory: A Reader. New York: Routledge. Mohanty, C.T. (2003). Feminism without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. Duke University Press. Parmer, P. & Amos, V. (1984). Challenging Imperial Feminism. Feminist Review. 17: 3-19.
Rahimi, W.M. (1991). Status of women: Afghanistan. UNESCO Principal Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.
Schwarz, H. & Ray, S. (2008). A Companion to Postcolonial Studies. John Wiley & Sons.
Skaine, R. (2002). Neither Afghan nor Islam. Ethnicities, 2(2), 142-144.