These reading questions cover all of Khaled Hosseini's popular work of contemporary fiction, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and concern plot details and thematic development, especially the novel's portrayal of historical changes in 20th century Afghanistan and gender roles. There are 5-7 questions per section (each of which covers 40 or so pages of the novel), suitable for homework or in-class discussion.
I have also included a research project students carry out while reading the novel to deepen their understanding of Afghan politics, culture, history, and geography, and which asks them to produce both informal writing online, as well as present their findings to the class.
Also included is the assignment sheet I use for the difficult in-class, open-book essay I use to evaluate their ability to use the novel to compose an argument about the novel's depiction of justice, gender, and environmental determinism.
These reading guides and writing prompts align with the following Common Core ELA Reading: Literature, Grade 11-12 Standards:
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
* CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.2 Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.
* CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.3 Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).
Analyze how an author's choices concerning how to structure specific parts of a text (e.g., the choice of where to begin or end a story, the choice to provide a comedic or tragic resolution) contribute to its overall structure and meaning as well as its aesthetic impact.
* CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.10 By the end of grade 11, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 11-CCR text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.