Paper 2: Writing a Historical, Social, or Cultural Analysis

Analyze how A Thousand Splendid Suns reveals historical, social, or cultural trends. In other words, how does history, society, or culture affect the characters or influence the theme, for instance? You can focus on a variety of literary terms here.

In historical, social, or cultural analyses, your reading would extend beyond the text to encompass the author’s biography, letters, or autobiography; historical background information; and other texts of the time, such as advertisements, documents, historical tracts, or other cultural artifacts. You would consider the relevance of such information to your reading of the work.

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Your paper must contain sufficient evidence from novel and three to four outside sources (two must be scholarly); integrate quotes effectively; and, use MLA documentation for in-text citations and the Works Cited page. Brainstorming, drafting, and revising will guide your final paper, which will be 5-6 pages, double-spaced.

Steps to Writing a Historical, Social, or Cultural Analysis

  • Brainstorm (see chart below—fill in to guide you!)
    • Themes
    • Significant events in the plot
    • Characters’ choices or behavior
    • Symbols
  • Analyze how the history, society, and or culture affected any of the above items. Look at these questions, but then create your own:
    • How does the history of Afghanistan affect the plot?
    • How does the setting of Afghanistan influence Laila’s (or Mariam’s) behavior?
    • Why does Islam affect the ____?
    • How does the Arab culture influence _____?
    • How does Khaled Hosseini’s (the author!) background affect the plot/story?


  • Sufficient evidence from the novel
  • Evidence from three to four outside sources (two must be scholarly)
  • Appropriate integration of quotations
  • Correct use of  MLA documentation for in-text citations
  • Works Cited page in MLA
  • Final paper should be at least 5 pages
Image result for history
Image result for history



Themes Significant events (plot) Characters (choices, behavior) Symbols


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