A Thousand Splendid Suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns


Khaled Hosseini

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Saib-e-Tabrizi’s Poem Symbol Analysis

Saib-e-Tabrizi’s Poem Symbol Icon
In fact, the entire seventeenth-century poem is not reprinted in the novel, since Babi can only remember two lines: “One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs, / Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.” The poem is an ode to Kabul, and Babi first recites it just before his death, when he is preparing to leave the city. The second time we hear it is when Laila recalls these lines as she is moving back to Kabul from Murree, Pakistan at the end of the novel. The poem represents the powerful allure of Kabul, which is Laila’s home and becomes a home for Mariam, especially once she befriends Laila. Its description of Kabul’s beauty can be seen as achingly ironic, since for much of the novel Kabul is hardly splendid but instead a bombed-out bloody shell; but the poem also evokes the “real” Kabul that remains beneath the destruction. Finally, the poem underlines the importance Babi places on literary and cultural heritage, and the necessity for Laila—as for women in general—to be educated and to be able to transmit this heritage.

Saib-e-Tabrizi’s Poem Quotes in A Thousand Splendid Suns

The A Thousand Splendid Suns quotes below all refer to the symbol of Saib-e-Tabrizi’s Poem. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
History and Memory in Afghanistan Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Riverhead Books edition of A Thousand Splendid Suns published in 2007.
Part II: Chapter 26 Quotes

All day, this poem about Kabul has been bouncing around in my head. Saib-e-Tabrizi wrote it back in the seventeenth century, I think. I used to known the whole poem, but all I can remember now is two lines:

One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,

Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.’”

Related Characters: Hakim (Babi) (speaker)
Related Symbols: Saib-e-Tabrizi’s Poem
Page Number: 191-192
Explanation and Analysis:
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Saib-e-Tabrizi’s Poem Symbol Timeline in A Thousand Splendid Suns

The timeline below shows where the symbol Saib-e-Tabrizi’s Poem appears in A Thousand Splendid Suns. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part II: Chapter 26
History and Memory in Afghanistan Theme Icon
Suffering and Perseverance Theme Icon
...leaving Kabul, where he’s lived, studied, and taught. He recites two lines of a seventeenth-century poem by Saib-e-Tabrizi , which talks about Kabul as the city where a “thousand splendid suns” hide behind... (full context)
Part IV: Chapter 50