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Was Rasheed all bad?

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Akankshita Dash This book casts Rasheed in an extremely harsh light-it's my belief that he wasn't 'all bad'. He had been brought up that way-not to respect women as human beings, value a son more than a daughter, etc. etc. so these stereotypes had been embedded in his mind since his childhood. Despite all that, there is a certain sadness to his story too- his son dies at a very young age. And he WAS nice to Mariam at first, and well, he just wedded her for a son, and since she couldn't give him one, he became bitter. And he married Laila, in spite of knowing that Aziza was a bastard. His violence, too, stemmed from the fact that his wives, for whom he worked day and night, had the audacity to steal from him and run away. Sooo....what say? Was Rasheed really that bad? Or was some of his anger justified?


Ayesham561 i believe he was "all bad" , he had no respect to his woman or even pity. the society he was brought up in didn't respect women , true . yet, why is Laila's dad very different even though he was brought up in the same environment.


Sheryl Sorrentino I think Rasheed is supposed to be one of those characters you "love to hate". Did anyone feel bad when [spoiler alert!] he came to such a brutal and vicious end? I, for one, did not.


Susan Ayesham561 wrote: "i believe he was "all bad" , he had no respect to his woman or even pity. the society he was brought up in didn't respect women , true . yet, why is Laila's dad very different even though he was br..."

I agree. Everyone in a certain area is subject to the same cultural influences, but some people rise above it because of their innate character, or because of what they have learned. I don't understand why someone would want to have a spouse -- two spouses -- and not have some friendly/affectionate/loving/intellectual relationship with them. But you find people in every country who are like that.


Citra Well, I can see it from his point of view. His wives did steal and tried to runaway, but then again, who wouldn't want to runaway from that kind of husband?

Yes, he was all bad.


Akankshita Dash Ayesham561 wrote: "i believe he was "all bad" , he had no respect to his woman or even pity. the society he was brought up in didn't respect women , true . yet, why is Laila's dad very different even though he was br..."

point, Laila's dad was different, didn't think about that one at all. But still, there should be some pity reserved for Rasheed, write? He is one character we love to hate, yet his hatred was born out of something too. Most of it was his fault, but there was a tiny bit of him that was influenced by other factors as well.


Nancy Moussa The fact that he almost killed them for it, and the way he treated them was inhumane and unacceptable. This makes him all bad in the eyes of any law and just bad in general.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Rasheed was a man brought up in a society that shows no respect for women. So his behavior is influenced by social causes mostly. Plus Laila's dad was an educated man, he had sophisticated, kind of western manners towards other people. While Rasheed only did what most other afghan man do, so he was just part of the crowd. Of course this doesn't make him a good man, because someone that is good at heart doesn't let these kind of factors get in the way. But anyway I think that social factors had a major impact on him like on every other man in Afghanistan.


Camila Rasheed was a bad man. He treated his wives like dirt as soon as they did not meet his needs, he'd cast them aside where they would suffer. Mariam was especially mistreated. Since Rasheed was raised into a society with no respect for women, and referred to them as son makers and where to relieve their sexual needs, Mariam's infertility made her of no use to him. He manipulated her, he tricked her into believing that she was safe with him, that she had found someone who cared about her. But as soon as she couldn't satisfy his needs, he discarded of her, she was simply a shadow in his home, his kingdom. His was cruel, inhumane, and downright disgusting. His punishments shouldn't ever be inflicted upon anyone, yet he did it to the supposed loves of his life, his wives. Yes, Rasheed did go through hardship in losing his first son at such a young age, but does that justify his actions later in life? I think not. Yes, he may have been mad at the world, but it doesn't give him the right to relieve his anger on innocent lives. Maybe I'm being harsh, but he deserved to die the way he did. The one positive thing that came out of Rasheed was his death, it allowed Mariam to finally break through her weakness of obeying that was so instilled in her.


Randi I agree that he was a very bad, brutal person. He may have been socialized that women are not his equals, he may have had some disappointments in his life, but that does not excuse his cruelty and brutality, his lack of love for his own daughter.
And in my experience, even bad people sometimes have some charm or a good trait or two, just as good people are not perfect.


message 11: by Jey (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jey Akankshita wrote: "This book casts Rasheed in an extremely harsh light-it's my belief that he wasn't 'all bad'. He had been brought up that way-not to respect women as human beings, value a son more than a daughter, ..."

Yes, he wedded Mariam for a son, bullied her into wearing a burqa, while making her feel protected and cherished. That was the worst kind of manipulation, him doling out affection like crumbs and Mariam feeling cherished because she hadn't had even that in her life before. This is shown when Laila begins to oppose him, as she knows what love is.

Secondly, he didn't marry Laila KNOWING that Aziza was not his daughter, he figured that out only AFTER her birth. He would never have married Laila had he known she was already pregnant, most probably he would have raped her and thrown her out. (Maybe I'm being too harsh)

But worst of all, he made his friend come and tell Laila a lie that Tariq was dead, all for the simple reason that he was in lust with Laila. A sixty five year old man lusting after a teenager. Old pervert.


TamElaine Jey wrote: "Akankshita wrote: "This book casts Rasheed in an extremely harsh light-it's my belief that he wasn't 'all bad'. He had been brought up that way-not to respect women as human beings, value a son mor..."

I agree - he was a 'puke' as far as I'm concerned. I understand the cultural issues Akankshita speaks of, but there were other characters in this story that did not behave in this way....other characters that saw past what the culture allowed in the way of treating their women....this man was beyond bad...and yes, mildly put, an old pervert....


zamra he was indeed bad beyond measures! one who does not feel at all when it comes to help others,whenever he seems a bit good,he did have an axe to grind....! a sort of man who wants lust only! a true brute,knows only to use women..... a devil!
a bad husband for both the wives.


Keshini I believe that Rasheed was 'all bad'. However, I think it is important to take into consideration his upbringing. If Zalmai was brought up by Rasheed he too would turn out to be 'all bad'. In their culture, men were evidently superior and that was the mind set that they were brought up with. This is not an excuse for him to commit all the inhumane acts he did but, I think it's important to evaluate and understand his society and his environment. I know that some argue that Laila's father was quite open to the concept of women being educated and being treated as equals. But, Rasheed is much older than Laila's father, and he was most likely brought up in a different way. From the beginning it is quite clear that Rasheed follows the more 'traditional' ways while Laila's father is seen as a modern individual.
Another factor that may have contributed to his cruelty was probably him losing his initial family. His heart probably turned to stone and he may have been longing for a family. He was probably controlling and abusive because he feared that he might lose them too.
I do feel sorry for Rasheed not because he was killed, but because he grew up in a society that was so close minded and did not welcome new ideas.


message 15: by Saima (last edited Jul 12, 2013 08:48AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Saima Siddiqui He was selfish, yes, as he was ready to marry Laila for a child, regardless of how young she was or that he already had a wife, Mariam, who had served him to the best of her abilities. Nonetheless, he provided for both the women, when he could have thrown Mariam out when he married Laila, or abandon Laila after finding out Aziza wasn't his daughter. So, even though he was an extremely brutal man and a pervert, he did keep them safe from the Talibans. So, I believe he was 95% bad and 5% good. :)


zamra Keshini wrote: "I believe that Rasheed was 'all bad'. However, I think it is important to take into consideration his upbringing. If Zalmai was brought up by Rasheed he too would turn out to be 'all bad'. In their..."

i confess that society puts a huge impact on our minds,but let me say that man does not born with empty brain,we all have our own thinking which is far from the impact of enviroment,person`s mind does get varies ideas from the society but in the end it follows its own judgement.and when we do something wrong at some place in the heart we feel that it is so,but we people are hell coward to confess our wrong doings..so was the case with rasheed. thank you


Oldcookie I agree with Zamra. A person's upbringing while very important, is far from being everything. There is such a thing as logic, commonsense, or even more basic, compassion.

Rasheed lacked in all those aspects, and he was in my view, "all that bad." In fact, I know that there are such people who still live, and its heartbreaking.


Laura Phelps I mean, there are logical reasons for him being the way he was, and, in truth, he did love Zalmai. Still, however, he was a terrible, awful man. I understand his situation, and have absolutely no pity for him whatsoever. He deserved his end. After all, his son died? He was irresponsible. His wives stole and ran away? He abused them. He worked night and day for his wives? His wives worked night and day at the house for him, especially Mariam. They were more grateful by far for his work than he was for theirs. I mean, I suppose that no one is all evil, and he had some good hidden in him somewhere, but he's still pretty freaking terrible.


Kenneth Akankshita wrote: "This book casts Rasheed in an extremely harsh light-it's my belief that he wasn't 'all bad'. He had been brought up that way-not to respect women as human beings, value a son more than a daughter, ..."

Rasheed was nothing more or less than a bully. He took everything out on the people who couldn't do anything about it. You are wrong about him marrying Laila knowing Aziza was a bastard. He didn't know she was pregnant when he sent Mariam to her with the ultimatum, marry me or be homeless. The only time he was pleasant to either of his women was when he wanted something from them. Yes he was product of his upbringing and culture which considered women as lesser beings, however he treated them worse than most of us treat animals.


Chahrazad I see Rasheed as a bad person, extremely bad! and God forgive me but he deserved to die that way if not worse; I just didn't want Mariam to pay her life for such a "scumbag" (sorry for the word, thinking of him makes me so angry).
Evil exists everywhere on Earth, and people go through all kinds of trauma, and some social rules are just downright nonsense, however IMO that doesn't justify us turning into evil machines; the example of Rasheed. As human beings, we are supposed to rise above such deeds. In the end, it's a matter of choice.

Laila's father was an educated man, true, but Tariq's father wasn't. So for me, it's not a matter of formal education; there are many examples of people who attended great universities, and were accomplished but still were characterized by domestic violence.


Rawia R Chahrazad wrote: "I see Rasheed as a bad person, extremely bad! and God forgive me but he deserved to die that way if not worse; I just didn't want Mariam to pay her life for such a "scumbag" (sorry for the word, th..."

I second that.


Marci I don't think he's all bad in a sense that maybe, just maybe there was some good in him. Mostly bad? Yes, he was certainly, like, 98% bad, but there's that ounce of goodness in there.


Marci Chahrazad wrote: "I see Rasheed as a bad person, extremely bad! and God forgive me but he deserved to die that way if not worse; I just didn't want Mariam to pay her life for such a "scumbag" (sorry for the word, th..."

I think Mariam having to pay her life is almost tragically poetic, though. In the sense that, she finally had a real life to offer up, and it wasn't for the scumbag more like because of him. She really did it for Laila.


message 24: by Tala (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tala Kayali Rasheed was definetly a bad man, he had no respect to women whatsoever, he only thought of them as devices to fulfill his needs, he is most probably like every other man in the world, selfish and solid-hearted.


Scarlett Domestic violence is not okay in any aspect. So however Rasheed is portrayed what he did is unexcuseable. I think he loved his first wife adn I would be curious to know if he treated his first wife the same way he treated Laila and Mariam. However, like all d.v. relationships, the relationship is not 100% bad if it was the woman would not stay that long. the relationship may be 95% bad but that 5% could be really sweet. However, that does not excuse his actions at all.


Omnia Anwar Terrible...very harsh and selfish..hated him all the way


Joclyn Omnia wrote: "Terrible...very harsh and selfish..hated him all the way"

I agree, he was a scum-bag, I'm not to happy with Laila's father... What was he thinking??


Kenneth Joclyn wrote: "Omnia wrote: "Terrible...very harsh and selfish..hated him all the way"

I agree, he was a scum-bag, I'm not to happy with Laila's father... What was he thinking??"


I think you must mean Mariam's father. Laila's father got blown up.


suhaib warraich well, the man was really harsh but now women will compare him with all men, which is disappointing. anyway, he was terrible.


Marilyn The work of a master writer! Well done, Mr. Hosseini, it's why we love his work.


Fabiana I believe that if judged him with the morality that most of the 'modern' world possesses, he would indeed be 'bad.'


Susan Suhaib wrote: "well, the man was really harsh but now women will compare him with all men, which is disappointing. anyway, he was terrible."

Compared to him, the majority of other men look pretty good.


Danielle As many people have pointed out, Rasheed was influenced by the cultural norms he was (likely) raised in. It may be a fault in Hosseini's character development that we don't know more about Rasheed's history and that he is mostly one-dimensional--i.e. we only see him in a negative light. He was a good father to Zalmai (at the expense of Aziza), however which suggests there was some intention of good there. I was also surprised when he took Laila to see Aziza at the orphanage at all--he didn't have to do that since he seemed to care so little for them. But what is overwhelming about his character is not so much his simple lack of respect for women. It was the extra effort he took, going out of his way, to make life miserable for Mariam and Laila. The excessiveness of it. I believe it was more than lack of respect. More of a deep hatred. Since we don't know if there was something specific in his life that triggered this, we are left to believe that "some people are just like that." I would have liked a deeper explanation. I also want to ask, what do you think his intentions were in tricking Laila into staying by lying about Tariq? Was there something special about Laila? Or would he have jumped at any opportunity to impregnate any other woman in hopes of having a son? I thought his trickery was fascinating, and would have been a good opportunity to dig deeper into Rasheed's mentality. But we don't get much more of an explanation...


Chahrazad Danielle wrote: "As many people have pointed out, Rasheed was influenced by the cultural norms he was (likely) raised in. It may be a fault in Hosseini's character development that we don't know more about Rasheed'..."

Very interesting points Danielle. You've brought to the surface some things that I personally neglected in my assesment of Rasheed's character.

I like the point about him going through trouble to make sure Mariam and Leila's lives were hell. It could be because of some trauma he faced in his childhood, who knows?
I think that he actually cared for Leila at the beginning. She belonged to an upper class and her marriage to him would make him decent; I remember he used to call her my queen. Also, if it were about impregnating just any woman, he wouldn't have waited all those years. I think he wouldn't have had trouble finding another wife to bear him children. So why wait?

I would love to hear your insights :)


message 35: by Hind (last edited Sep 11, 2013 09:55AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Hind yes rasheed was a very bad person. he first treats mariam kindley and when he got bored of her he started treating her very badley and the same to laila, he first treated her like queen but when she got older he did the same.the fact that he keeps constantley hitting his wives for stupid reasons was very hurtful.


Sarah Lameche Beating women till the point of near death can never be justified. These women did what they could to survive. I for one was shouting "Do it! Do it!" when Mariam got the shovel. People CAN change. Culture CAN be broken. I for one no longer follow most of my culture. We can all think for ourselves and make our own choices. I would be surprised if there is anyone on this site who hasn't suffered some sort of trauma in their lives. But we don't go around beating and abusing people. He chose his path..


message 37: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Sanfilippo Hell yes!!! He put rocks in Mariam's mouth and slammed her jaw shut!!! He beat them and threatened them on numerous occasions!!! He caught them running away and said he wouldn't be held accountable for his actions if it happened again!!! It's obvious he has little respect for his fellow humans. I vote all bad.


Erisa Bala I don`t think there are 'all bad' people in this world. every bad person has his good side, just like every good person has his dark side. I didn`t feel sorry for Rasheed`s bitter ending though...


Amena Smairi sure he was bad.should every man on earth become a monster after losing his child !! his way of treating both women is unjustified


message 40: by Sena (last edited Sep 25, 2013 08:34AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sena Khateeb Of course Rasheed was bad! It may be due to events in his childhood or due to certain cultural conceptions he grew used to, but he was bad. Not only did he mistreat Mariam, Laila, and Laila's daughter; Aziza, but he beat them, disrespected them, and physically harmed them. He bullied and abused them, was not the least grateful for all the work they did at home, and was only kind to them when he first married them... His actions are, in no way, acceptable or justified.


message 41: by [deleted user] (new)

I think Rasheed was bad. Was he all bad? I don't know. I think he grew up knowing nothing else but to treat women that way and even when he did semi descent things, he wasn't self aware enough to have actually done them genuinely out of his heart. In the end, I think he was bad but I also think he didn't know what "good" was.


Mayank Kashyap Yes, even an animal is better then him. I hate him like hell. But Hats-off to mr. hosseini who created such a impactful character


message 43: by [deleted user] (new)

Akankshita wrote: "This book casts Rasheed in an extremely harsh light-it's my belief that he wasn't 'all bad'. He had been brought up that way-not to respect women as human beings, value a son more than a daughter, ..."

Yes Rasheed is generally considered all bad. He did care about his son, but he was still the villain.

What you are asking here is whether we should continue to hate Rasheed, since his badness can be almost entirely attributed to things out of his control (upbringing, culture etc...). Or whether you believe that despite his circumstances he was still mean, that having to wives and children underneath his care was enough freedom for him to decide whether he was chauvinistic or not.

As I interpret it: did Rasheed have enough of a chance to change (in regards to his wives and their treatment) in order to be a villain by choice? Or were his past and his circumstances disallowing him a true, free choice?


message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

Cinnamon wrote: "I think Rasheed was bad. Was he all bad? I don't know. I think he grew up knowing nothing else but to treat women that way and even when he did semi descent things, he wasn't self aware enough t..."

Exactly. Rasheed is still a villain, but he is in the unique circumstance of being raised that way. There is no choice if you don't see the second door.


message 45: by [deleted user] (new)

Jey wrote: "Akankshita wrote: "This book casts Rasheed in an extremely harsh light-it's my belief that he wasn't 'all bad'. He had been brought up that way-not to respect women as human beings, value a son mor..."

" A sixty five year old man lusting after a teenager. Old pervert. "

Ironic, considering that similar things are incredibly common throughout history. Many men have had wives decades younger than them, for the simple fact they need children (for heirs, to help on the farm, to combat the high rate of infant-mortality, etc...) and it was incredibly common for women to die in childbirth.


message 46: by [deleted user] (last edited Nov 03, 2013 12:06PM) (new)

Oldcookie wrote: "I agree with Zamra. A person's upbringing while very important, is far from being everything. There is such a thing as logic, commonsense, or even more basic, compassion.

Rasheed lacked in all t..."


Your comment on Compassion is rather... biased. It's like how in india they do not eat beef, because cows are holy- in america, for a general example, that's ridiculous (excepting vegetarians of course.). So if an Indian goes to America and sees us as horrible people WITHOUT COMPASSION , then are they right or wrong?

Your culture/society often dictates things like compassion. Some would say that pets should not be sold, because it is cruel to put a price on a sentient, feeling, living thing. You could also argue that keeping things as pets is akin to slavery and the love your dog/cat/bunny etc... has for you is something along the lines of the Stockholm syndrome. It all depends on your perspective.

If you are never exposed to the idea of compassion towards something as a child, and are always taught to see it as an object, that is likely all you will see it as: an object. Forming ideas completely separate from your upbringing or culture is incredibly rare.


Shynne Marikit Akankshita wrote: "This book casts Rasheed in an extremely harsh light-it's my belief that he wasn't 'all bad'. He had been brought up that way-not to respect women as human beings, value a son more than a daughter, ..."

yeah I agree with you. but I think you cannot count his bad deeds to Laila especially Mariam.. That was a heartbreaking part for Mariam and i can't just throw it out and forget it...


message 48: by [deleted user] (new)

Being in touch with the Afghan community, I believe it's not fair to classify people like Rasheed as either Good or Bad. He was much better than many people would have been in case they could have lived his life. His actions are mostly the "right" reflection to matters according to his society. I think it's not fair to compare someone like Leila's father with Rasheed. Leila's father was educated. Education is a normal thing in the countries that most of those who comment here represent, but in Afghanistan things are quite different.

To cut it short, I just like to ask everyone not to judge people easily. You cannot imagine what could become of you if you were in a situation such as that.
:)


Sarah Lameche there are meant men in the Afghan community that wouldn't treat any woman the way rasheed did. there no excuse for it or justifying what he did. There are millions of uneducated people who still know right from wrong and have morals.


message 50: by [deleted user] (last edited Nov 14, 2013 02:10AM) (new)

In a country like Afghanistan, as I know it and believe you do too, morals are defined and taught by Muslim clerics who do not believe in our interpretation of morals. As a Muslim, I believe that Islam does respect women but most of those clerics don't.
I agree that nothing can justify his deeds. What I'm opposing is the fact that you and some others are comparing Rasheed with "some other men in Afghan community", without taking into consideration that he and many other people like him were not in possession of many opportunities that "those other Afghan men" had. Rasheed is not just a symbol of normal Afghan men, he's a symbol of the lower and poor part of Afghan society. Many readers (not you for sure) think of all Afghans as poor people and although that's not really far from reality, it makes them unable to see the difference between different classes of this society.
I have no problem with a comment that says "his acts are unjustifiable and wrong", but I just can't accept the fact that he's being "compared" with other people inside or outside the Afghan community who I assume had much more opportunities than he did. This comparison is unfair.


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