Summary/Analysis Paper Instructions for A Thousand Splendid Sons  


American National Government On-line, Spring 2009


Posting #1 (Up to page 94):  Due March 6 by 11:00 PM

Posting #2 (Up to page 175):  Due March 20 by 11:00 PM

Posting #3 (Up to page 244):  Due April 7 by 11:00 PM

Posting #4 (Up to the end of the book):  Due April 17 by 11:00 PM


Quiz Must Be Taken By:  April 19; Paper Due April 28


This paper should include your responses to A Thousand Splendid Sons, by Khalid Hosseini.  The paper should answer ALL of the Questions for Consideration below, but feel free to comment on other information included in the book.  Direct quotes must have quotation marks and the page number on which they appear should also be included (see instructions on the back of this page). Your papers can also comment on material related to information presented in lecture (by the way, this is one way to show analysis).  Papers must be typed, double-spaced, and well written (correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.).  There is no page requirement, but I will guess that it will probably take at least 1,000 words, or four pages to answer the questions with enough supporting detail.  Make sure to include a title page and follow the other technical details (five points) and staple the pages together. Do not buy a cover for the paper.


The easiest way to organize this paper is to answer each question in its own paragraph or series of paragraphs.  If you would rather write a formal essay that incorporates all of the answers to the Questions for Consideration, that is fine.  The layout/organization of this paper is entirely up to you. 


Questions for Consideration


1.     Describe the following characters:  Aziza, Babi, Jalil, Nana, Tariq, and Zalmai. Who were they?  What role did they play in the story?

2.     Describe life for Mariam included in Part I.  What was life like for her as a girl born a “harami?”  How does her character in this part of the book demonstrate life for people, particularly women, living in Afghanistan?

3.     Describe life for Laila included in Part II of the book. How does her character demonstrate conditions faced by people, particularly women, in Afghanistan?

4.     Describe life for Laila & Mariam as they encountered Rasheed, civil war, the Taliban, and life in a post 9/11 world as shown in Parts III & IV of the book. 

5.     In what ways can lecture material or other sources explored in this class be compared & contrasted to conditions described in the book?  Examples might include conditions faced by women during other eras, links to films and/or guest speakers, the impact of warfare on civilian populations, etc.

6.     What are the strengths & weaknesses of this book as a source to learn about the recent history of Afghanistan?  (Hint:  What was the author’s background?  Was the book believable/credible?  Why/why not?   How would you describe the author's writing style/book's organization? Was it easy/enjoyable to read?  Why/why not?  Links to additional sources could help to address the book's credibility here).


Citation Format Style


1.     Underline or italicize the titles of books or ships.


2.     Spell out all numbers between zero and nine.


3.     Please do not place your name anywhere on your paper other than the title page.  I try to grade papers anonymously.


4.     Watch verb-tense; usually past tense is best to use while writing, but the paper may be written using either past or present tense.  Just make sure to be consistent.


5.     Try to avoid over-use of quotations, but any quotation longer than four lines should be indented fives paces and single-spaced (rather than double-spaced).   If/when this is done there is no need for quotation marks.


6.     Example of how a direct quote taken from the book you are assigned to read should be cited: 


“The Geneva Accords of 1954 reflected these influences” (41).


7.     Example of how to cite a direct quote taken from a book review or a source other than the assigned book: 


“The prose style of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s work Uncle Tom’s Cabin elicits an emotional response from readers” (Stevenson 1981, 52).


8.     If a source other than the book that is assigned is used, a list of references is required.  The reference page should be the last page of the paper and entries should be organized in alphabetical order according to author (not numbered).  Entries should also be single-spaced within the entry and double-spaced between each entry.


a)     Example for a book:


Cronon, William.  Changes in the Land.  New York:  Hill and Wang,



b)    Example for a journal article:


Jackson, Richard.  “Running Down the Up-Escalator.”  Australian

          Geographer 14 (May 1979):  175-184.


c)     Example for internet sources:


DiStefano, Vince. “Guidelines for Better Writing.”^vinced/home/better-writing.html.


d)    Example for Lecture:


Nagle, Michael.   Progressives & WWI.  February 12, 2005.