“The drought has ended. It snowed at last this past winter, knee-deep, and now it has been raining for days. The Kabul River is flowing once again. Its spring floods have washed away Titanic City.”
A Thousand Splendid Suns.
Chapter 51. Page 247.
The chapter before this we see Laila and her family are moving back to Kabul to be a part of the rebuilding of it and to contribute to the movement. Laila makes a stop at Herat to see Mariam’s old home and explore her past life. Now, this is the first part of the next chapter, it is describing Kabul’s weather conditions since Laila last left it: there is no longer a drought and instead Kabul has had serious snowfall and constant rain that has kicked started the river.
Each weather condition that is referred to in this quote has its own meaning and symbolism.
- Drought: water is an essential necessity for life, and yet in Kabul, there was a lack of it, it represents the deep scarcity of life or humane there was in the city due to the war present. This idea is evident through the oppressive actions of the Taliban and even the men in their own homes. This lack of water shows a lack of life and movement like the pro- women rights movement that was occurring before it. Instead during the drought, there was no movement showing the rigid views of the Taliban, and society as a whole.
- Snowed- Before the rain Kabul experienced a heavy load of snowfall, this symbolizes the cleansing and form of rebirth that has fallen over Kabul originating from the purity and good-heartedness of others; the submissive and selfless actions of others especially the women of Kabul inspire this snowfall. On page 59 we can see evidence of this: “She remembered Nana saying once that each snowflake was a sigh heaved by an aggrieved woman somewhere in the world. That all the sighs drifted up the sky, gathered into clouds, then broke into tiny pieces that fell on the people below. As a reminder of how women like us suffer, she’d said, How quietly we all endure all that falls upon us.” Here Nana is reinforcing this idea that the hardships women endure cause the creation of snow. The symbol of snow comes to play later in the novel: from the selfless actions and bravery of the good people in Kabul, there is the ability of a rebirth.
- Rain: Just as the snow the rain is a symbol of renewal and rebirth for Kabul, it promotes life to farmers by giving them opportunities to grow crops and to the people in general.
- Titanic City: As we have previously said the Titanic was seen as a form of escape, like a saviour, they saw the tragedies that the people on the ship had to endure from hitting an Iceberg, which once again brings in the symbol of ice. Ice can be characterized as cold, hard, frigid, anti-human and love compassion as opposed to the fresh and moving water which can be seen in the Kabul river.
Overall, Laila has a connection to her roots and heritage. The memories and sayings of her parents are what inevitably push her to reconnect with her love for her city. It’s people like her that don’t give up and do acts like this that starts the rain again.
Similar to Laila, I have my own connection with my home country, Colombia. Although her connection to Kabul is far more intense than mine as she was born there, and lived there all her life, while I was born here and only exposed to life there once every few years, I can still see a similarity among both of us and our love to our origins. Laila finally decided that going back to rebuild Kabul was the right decision from remembering what her parents said: her mom having the strong desire of seeing Kabul’s victory for her two sons, and her dad with his quote “one could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs, Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.” Like her, the accounts from my parents about our home country ensures my feelings of attachment to it. As well, the reason why we chose to move away from our homeland was that we wanted to seek a better lifestyle, one that we found in Canada.
whirls down gracefully: it’s beautiful.
Dancing with a distinct kind of eloquence,
On the apple of a baby’s cheek,
it lands, coddling it soothingly.
The infants’ desperate cries turn to hushed smiles;
yes, pacified the creature giggles, swaying at the rain.
Rain falls mercilessly blessing those below,
it purifies, cleanses, and loves-
there is no denying that the rain is what keeps them sane,
the foolish people they remain oblivious,
but infatuated with the soil underneath their toes, pressed under their weight.
The crops begin to sprout and the thirsty begin to drink;
we are all under the rain, together. We are reborn.
Gingerly, each snowflake falls,
one after another.
An infinite motion.
Them that act out of love- snow.
She lives in a valley of lilies, it extends endlessly.
one thousand snow angels lie together.
GIPHY. “Charlie Brown Snow GIF – Find & Share on GIPHY.” GIPHY, GIPHY, 22 Mar. 2018, giphy.com/gifs/fun-adorable-snow-6YNgoTEPs6vZe.