Here we go again..Act II, Scene ii…

After being in English class for four years now in high school, analyzing the meanings and connections between names and characters has almost become a uncontrollable thought and routine for me. Looking back to grade 10 with the all to famous Juliet line of ” What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” (II,ii,45) has been engraved into my mind ever since. Then this year, my class read the novel “The Namesake” where, once again, the analysis of names and there meanings became a huge topic for discussion. Now, I find it almost impossible to go through another novel without wondering what the names of the characters mean and if there are any connections which can be found. So, I went through all of the common characters (and a few extra), found the origin of their names, the meaning, and tried to find any connections between their name and their character traits.

Let the games begin..


  • The name Laila is of Hebrew origin and means “night, dark beauty”
  • Laila is also a Farsi/Arabic name where the meaning changes to “nocturnal”
  • Interesting Fact: the name Laila ranked 141 out of the top 1000 most popular U.S girls names.
  • Connection with the text: Surprisingly, I couldn’t really find any connection between the meaning of Laila’s name and her actual character (I was quite disappointed actually). I mainly decided to do this post because I had originally thought that Laila (which is close to the Perisan name, Leila) meant flower. I thought that the connection between her name would be the meaning of flower and the fact that Rasheed called her his “gul” (flower) during the first part of their marriage.


  • The name Mariam is actually of Greek origin meaning “bitter”
  • Mariam ranked 673 out of the top 1000 most popular U.S girls names
  • Connection with the text: The meaning behind Mariam’s name fits her character, but only for part of the novel. During the first part of Laila and Rasheed’s marriage, Mariam is completley bitter towards Laila and Aziza. She is even bitter to Rasheed through their entire marriage, but, who could really blame her? The sudden change in Mariam’s relationship between her and Laila doesn’t fit in with the meaning of her name; however, it still does fit when ever she seems to have interaction with anyone else. This can be found whenever she speaks to Rasheed, and even when they are at the hospital and she is ‘speaking’ with the people in the hospital trying to get a doctor for Laila


  • The name Giti is of Persian origin meaning “world, universe”
  • Connection with the text: The only connection that I could really find between the meaning of Giti as her character traits would be how she would be constantly talking about the future (with a husband and such) and her dreams which would often make her seem open to new opportunities which I found to connect with the universe.


  • The name Fariba is of Persian origin and it means ” charming, enticing”
  • Connection with the text: The main connection that I found was how Hakim was always telling Laila how happy, wonderful, and charming her mother was before they married. He also mentions that he mainly married her for her laugh, which would indicate that she was very charming, just as her name indicates.


  • The name Aziza is of Hebrew origin meaning “mighty”
  • Connection with the text: When I read this meaning and connection with the character Aziza, I didn’t think mighty in a sense of streghten, but in a sense of personality. Although Aziza is growing up in a terrible household in a dangerous region, Laila is still able to say that “Aziza had turned into a calm, pensive little girl, with a demeanor that to Laila seemed beyond her six years. Laila marveled at her daughter’s manner of speech, her cadence and rhythm  her thoughtful pauses and intonations, so adult, so at odds with he immature body that housed the voice.” (264). The fact that Aziza has those traits while growing up with the childhood she has, just seems to be mighty in personality to me.


  • The name Tariq is of Arabic origin meaning “evening caller, he who knocks or hammers”
  • Connection with the text: With the meaning of Tariq saying ” he who knock or hammers” I find the connection with how he is so willing to go and stand up for Laila against the neighbourhood boys and beat them up for her if he has to.


  • The name Rasheed is of Persian origin meaning “brave”
  • Connection with the text: As much as I despise Rasheed’s character, I can see the connection between the meaning of his name and his character traits. When Laila’s house was hit by a rocket, he was brave and went towards the building to see what/who he could salvage/save. Also, when his own house is threatened, he sets up protection around his house and sits there waiting to personally defend his family if it comes to it. He doesn’t even show any fear in this, claiming “Let’s see them try to break into my house. I’ll crush their balls! I’ll blow their heads off!” (227-228). Although he later adds “Do you know how luck you two are to have a man who’s not afraid of Shaitan himself?”, which completely irritates me, he still does show signs of bravery.


  • The name Hakim is of Arabic origin meaning “wise”
  • Connection with the text: The connection between Hakim’s name’s meaning and his character personality is quite obvious. Hakim was a very successful math teacher and is constantly expanding his knowledge by reading different books. The fact that he is known as the wise individual in the marriage is often mentioned when the ‘strangeness’ of their relationship comes up between other characters; because rather than playing around with tools, Hakim reads and reads.


  • The name Hasina is of Egyptian origin meaning “good”
  • Connection with the text: Although Hasina is portrayed to be the difficult girl who does things her own ways, she can actually be classified as the ‘good daughter’. I figured this because as much as she talks about trying to scare off a khastegar, when she is finally arranged to be married, she doesn’t run away or anything and she just goes with it.


  • The name Zalmai is of Afghan origin meaning “young”
  • Connection with the text: Due to the simplicity of the meaning behind Zalmai’s name, I could only find the most obvious connection: his age. Zalmai is the youngest character and the last main character introduced in the novel which is really the only connection I could find between his name and his character.


Almost finished!

Here are a few more translations from Pashto to English of the words that I found in the novel. There are certain words in the selected pages that I have not translated in this section, that’s because they had shown up earlier in the novel and I had already included them into my other posts.


Kofta Type of food


Rafiq Friend, more like acquaintance


Ho Bacha  Expression: Bad boy/child


Tofangdar Gunmen


Ghazals Poeam/stories


Nau Socha Expression: Good as new


Khodaya Expression: Oh God


Zahmat Expression: no real translation into English


Lotfan Please


Kenarab Expression: Shit hole


Ambagh  Expression: When your husband gets a second wife, she is your Ambagh


Dehati  Very insulting :Village Girl


DIwana crazy


Malika Queen


Dokhtar e jawan Young Girl


Sharab wine


Buskashi  Very famous game in Afghanistan including horses


Lagaan Tribute


Degeh Expression: What else?


dozd Theif


Gul flower


Tumban  Excaped slave


Khosh Shodi Expression: Are you happy now?


Bacha Baby boy


Bas Expression: That’s enough


Yaklenga One foot


Chai tea


Khar donkey


Risha roots


Kafir A person who is not Muslim


Mahram male relative


Namaz Prayer


Deltoid Triangular




Who Has The Best Point-of-View?

How many are there?!

Every author has their own style of writing. This style can seriously affect a novel’s overall tone depending on how successful or unsuccessful the author’s style is towards the target audience. One factor which contributes to an author’s style of writing would be the point of view of the novel. There are standard points of views which we are all subjected to memorizing in high school and sometimes earlier grades, yet there are different variations of these traditions views which can emerge in more complex pieces of text.

The three most common point of views (that we study in school) include:

a)First Person

b)Second Person

c)Third Person (limited, subjective multiple view points, or omniscient)

Point of View can change everything......

Point of View can change everything……

Connection Time!

If you’ve been following my blog you should know that I’m currently reading A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. If anyone has previously read this novel, you will have surely noticed that the novel is in the third person with subjective multiple view points. Big words, I know. This basically means that the author changes the point of view (between characters in this case) in some repetitive or formal pattern through out the novel. This can be a risking move on the author’s side depending on how well he/she is able to integrate the switch into the novel while creating a sense of suspense but not completely interfering with the plot of the novel it’s self.  I personally believe that Khaled Hosseini does an excellent job with this point of view in this novel. The switch between the perspectives isn’t distracting to the actual story, and it is spread throughout the novel in an even way which does not make it confusing for the reader at all. Hosseini changes the point of view between two main characters Mariam and Laila when ever one part of the novel ends (ex: part 1, part 2, part 3). Additional to the fact that these changes does not negatively affect the plot, it still manages to create a sense of suspense and tension within the novel that keeps the reader wanting to continue reading to find out how and if the two will end up running into each other. Since the two point of views are telling the story at the same time, there are times where the reader wants to see what the thoughts of the other character are, but are limited to the thoughts and actions of only one.

The two points of views in this novel are shared between the characters Mariam and Laila. Part 1 of the novel is from Mariam’s point of view, part 2 from Laila’s, and part 3 goes back and forth between the two. There are times in the novel when the two characters cross each other yet the novel does not change perspectives.

For example:

a) (Part 2, page 100) Laila’s father, Babi, is taking her to school when she notices Rasheed’s, Mariam’s husband’s, blue Benz, and even refers to Mariam as “his reclusive wife”.

b) (Part 2, page 125) During Ahmad and Noor’s funeral, Laila notices Mariam. “Rasheed’s wife, Mariam, came in. She was wearing a black hijab. Strands of her hair strayed from it onto her brow. She took a seat along the wall across from Laila”.

Although we can not read the thoughts that Mariam is having during these events and points in the story, this all adds to the suspension in the novel of wanting to know how the two are connected and when the perspective is going to switch again.

I found this quite hilarious and relative.

I found this quite hilarious and relative.

As Promised…

Here are the rest of the translations up until chapter 22:

Chup Ko Shut up


Hamwatans Expression: Brothers


Sofrah table cloth except put on the floor to eat on


Ghazals a form of Hindu poetry that fits well with classical music


Inqilabi Revolutionary


Moalim teacher


Sahib boss


Awal first


Numra number


Badmash naughty


Aroos Bride


Shokr e Khoda Expression: Praying to God for your good fortune


Shorwa Type of food


Mozahem Expression: I don’t want to be intruding/imposing/getting in the way


Panjpar Type of card game in the middle east. Panj means 5.


Giryanok Cry baby


Aush Type of food


Pakol Type of wool hat for men


Fatiha Type of wake


Shaheed dead


Pajalusta Means ‘you are welcome’ in Russian. Tariq was probably saying this sarcastically to the soviet’s driving by.


Badar Brother


Kaka Jan Respectful way of addressing someone (male) who is older than you but very close to you and your family, almost like an uncle.


What Language Is This?!

As a summative task in my ENG4U class, we were assigned different books and groups and have been reading them for close to a month now. The book that I am reading is called A Thousand Splendid Suns. This title might seen familiar because it is by the same author as the very famous The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini.

Click here for a short summary of the novel

Click here for a short summary of the novel

If anyone has even picked up a copy of this book, you would right off the bat realize that a lot of the words are in Pashto, and there are no footnotes or glossaries to explain what the words mean. Being from Iran, Pashto and Farsi are two close enough languages that I am able to understand what all of the words me, further on in this post, I will write out all of the words up until where I have read and translate them into English. I’ll continue to do this if I find any new words as a read further into the novel.

Before I get into translating the words, I just want to explain a bit what kind of an effect the use of Pashto words has on the novel and on the readers. By using Pashto, it gives the novel certain advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantages would be that anyone who did not have a basic understanding of Farsi, Pashto, or even Arabic, would find it a bit irritating. I’ve talked to some of my peers and teachers about this book and after their questions of asking whether or not there is anywhere that the author explains the words, they all assume that the words in Pashto are probably not that important and that you would be able to get the gist of the sentence either way. I would have to disagree with this. For some reason, the majority of the words which are written in Pashto seem to be the most important words and, if you weren’t able to understand them, would cause the reader to loose the complete feel of the text. One of my teachers suggested that this was done in an attempt by the author to try and keep the novel’s audience individuals from that region; however, I don’t see why that would be the case because the author, and his novels are globally known.

Click here for a short biography of Khaled Hosseini, the author of A Thousand Splendid Suns

Click here for a short biography of Khaled Hosseini, the author of A Thousand Splendid Suns

There are two big advantages that would come with having certain words written in Pashto. The more minor one would be that, as anyone who speaks a second language would know, it can be very difficult, and frustrating, at times to try and translate certain words and/or expressions between two languages where the expression/word doesn’t actually have an exact translation. For example, the word Sabzi is a type of plant/herb/vegetable (see, even I can’t describe it) that is eaten/put into different dishes in the the Iran/Afghanistan region but there is no exact translation for it in English. Because of this, it would be easier for Hosseini to leave some of the words in Pashto because it would be easier than having to change certain sentences around completely in order for them to make sense just because of one word. The major advantage which I found with having certain words in Pashto is that, it shows how authentic this story is and how much of a reality it is for people (mainly women) living in that region and how much they have to struggle in their daily lives.

Here is a list of only some of the Pashto words translated into English



Page #

Noor Light


Harami Bastard Child


Kolba  Hut


Jinn Demon


Dil Gut


Didi Expression: You see?


Kinchini whore


Shahnai Indian Oboe


Dohol Type of drum played in the Middle East


Jo Dear


Shalqam Type of Stew


Sabzi plant/vegetable/herb that can be eaten


Arbab Leader


Kichiri Rice


Dishlemeh Type of sweet


Akhund A Muslim Cleric


Namaz Prayer


Alef Letter of the alphabet : A


Beh Letter of the Alphabet: B


Seh Letter of the Alphabet: C


Mashallah Expression: oh my god


Aneh yes


Nay no


Gari Kind of carriage


Dokhtar Girl


Bia Come


Fahmidi Expression: Do you understand?




Ayat Miracle


Khastegar Expression (there isn’t really a word for it in English): Someone who asks a woman for her hand in marriage


Moochi Shoe Repairman


Nikka Swearing ceremony of a wedding


Agha Respectful way of saying man


Meem Letter of the alphabet :M


Reh Letter of the alphabet :R


Ya Letter of the alphabet :Y


Tabreek Congratulations


Tashakor Expression: Thank you


Salaam Hello


Daal Kind of food




Logari Kind of music


Hamshira Sister


Chapans Traditional coat for men


Poostin Type of coat


Qurma kind of food


There are probably 100 more words, so I will continue to post the rest in my other blog posts.