The part I can relate to the most in the novel is the comparison of Rasheed’s treatment of Zalmai, his son, to the treatment of Laila’s daughter, Aziza. When Aziza is born Rasheed is extremely disappointment because she is a female. However, when Zalmai is born he is beyond ecstatic and openly favours him, more than Laila’s daughter. He goes to the extent of spending excessive amounts of money on Zalmai, ignoring Aziza’s needs. I come from a Pakistani culture that favours males over females and to some people my birth was also a disappointment like Aziza’s, because I was a female. Additionally, inequality also came into play as I was growing up. Having three brothers, my parents often favoured them more than my sisters and I. The favoritism was not as severe as Rasheed’s behavior towards Aziza but it was similar.
Like how Zalmai was treated, my parents were lenient and generous with my brothers. If they ever needed anything, my parents would go to the extents of getting it for them and if they did anything wrong, it was overlooked. If my sisters and I ever wanted anything, it was not treated with the as much importance. Or if we were to make a mistake, we would be scolded.
In other words, I can relate to Aziza because we both experienced inequality because due to our gender. I can also connect this novel to the book, Written in the Stars. In that novel, the protagonist, Naila, lives in Pakistan and is forced to marry someone she did not want to.
With the lack of female rights in that country, she was not able to take an action as it would result in severe consequences. Likewise, Mariam was also forced to marry Rasheed and although she did not want to, she could not have a say, as it would result in severe consequences. Overall, I could easily relate Aziza’s unequal treatment to my own and the lack of gender equality to the novel, Written in the stars, as both Naila and Mariam face the challenges of living in an oppressive society.