Summary and Analysis
Chapter 43 - Mariam
Mariam plays with Zalmai while Tariq and Laila visit downstairs. Zalmai is confused and angered by Tariq's presence and the fact that his mother is paying him attention. Zalmai screams until Laila leaves Tariq to comfort him as Mariam watches Tariq from the stairwell. Mariam realizes that a man she saw at the Hotel the day she called Jalil was Abdul Sharif. Mariam figures out that Rasheed must have paid Sharif to make up the story about Tariq's death in order to prevent Laila from leaving.
While only two pages long, Chapter 43 provides a significant revelation about Rasheed's character. When Mariam makes the connection between the man at the hotel and the man that visited Laila so many years ago with news of Tariq's death, she discovers a new level of brutality in Rasheed. Rasheed, by hiring someone to lie to Laila, proves himself to be entirely selfish and unethical. His egocentric and inhuman behavior is a sorry influence on Zalmai as well. While Zalmai can be well behaved at times, his distaste for Tariq and desire to dominate his mother's time shows that some of Rasheed is, unfortunately, rubbing off on him.