English and Modern Languages
Master of Arts (MA)
Afghan Women, Asne Seierstad, Campbell, Khaled Hosseini, Modern Archetypes, Storytelling
Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Women's Studies
Andrews, Alexandra, "Defining Afghan Women Characters as Modern Archetypes using Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns and Asne Seierstad’s The Bookseller of Kabul" (2016). Masters Theses. 402.
Middle-Eastern women, specifically Afghan women, are often misunderstood. Yet, authors Khaled Hosseini and Asne Seierstad use the method of storytelling to show that Afghan female characters are not completely subjugated, voiceless, and powerless—despite how they are often depicted in media. Instead, in Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns, and Seierstad’s The Bookseller of Kabul, Afghan female characters are represented as assertive, risk takers, and heroic. By applying Joseph Campbell’s theory regarding the archetypal heroine to the lives of Mariam and Laila from A Thousand Splendid Suns, and Sharifa and Leila from The Bookseller of Kabul, it is clear that these Afghan female characters do not remain traditional and subjugated. Rather, their individual journeys, and their use of traditional and non-traditional techniques to escape oppression and embrace freedom allow them to reinvent themselves as modern archetypes.