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A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Kite Runner

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Lauren HIebert

on 17 June 2014

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Transcript of A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Kite Runner

Character Conflict
A Thousand Splendid Suns
Thematic Concept
Thematic Concept
The Kite Runner
A Thousand Splendid Suns
Thematic Concept
A Thousand Splendid Suns & The Kite Runner
The Kite Runner
Character Conflict

"He needs someone who... understands him, because God knows I don't. But something about Amir troubles me in a way that I can't express." (24)
Character Conflict
"When the bus jerked forward she did not turn to see him trotting along side it. And when the bus pulled away, she did not look back to see him disappear in the cloud of exhaust and dust" (51).
The Kite Runner
- an action that denies social participation or human rights based on prejudice
"In Kabul, [...] fires raged, and black palls of smoke mushroomed over snow-clad buildings. Embassies closed down. Schools collapsed. In hospital waiting rooms, [...] the wounded were bleeding to death. In operating rooms, limbs were being amputated without anesthesia" (207).
The Kite Runner
A Thousand Splendid Suns
by Khaled Hosseini
This book tells the story of two women and their struggles of living as minorities in Afghanistan. It starts out in the 1960's and reveals how each girl grew up and how their lives became intertwined with one another. They are treated with disrespect and hatred from their husband and the Taliban. Sharing a home and their husband, they encounter many difficulties and have lives filled with lies, mourning, rejection and suffering. Although this is not a true story Hosseini was inspired while he was in Kabul. At the street corners he would see women dressed in burqas with several children begging for money. He was curious as to how these women were brought to this point in their life, so he asked them about their past and found himself heartbroken. Hosseini did not directly use any of their stories in A Thousand Splendid Suns but kept their amazing stories of survival in his thoughts while he wrote this book.
The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini
In Afghanistan, there are many different cultures which provides more opportunity for conflicts and disagreements between them. The Buddhas in Bamiyan were over 2000 years old and 175 feet tall. They were the greatest historical artifacts in Afghanistan. A month before the Taliban blew them apart, governments, historians and archaeologists from all over the world wrote and pleaded with the Taliban to not go through with this. But instead they cheered with each blast as the statues crumbled into dust. They were careless towards the country's history and had no problem upsetting other parts of the world as well.
The Taliban are unjust

towards all women in Kabul. When they overran the city they gave out a list of rules which focused on what women weren't allowed to do. A few of the guidelines were,
"You will not under any circumstance show your face. Cosmetics are forbidden. Jewelry is forbidden. You will not wear charming clothes. [...] You will not make eye contact with men. You will not laugh in public. If you do, you will be beaten" (248)
. This list went on and on with rules and regulations and were written in newspapers, played over megaphones in backs of patrol guard trucks and over the radios. They are very strict and sexist against women and have no problem with beating (or worse) anyone who chose not to obey their rules. Rasheed, their husband, agreed with the Taliban's rules and constantly put down his own wives and all other women. If he saw women in public without a burqa covering them he thought of them as disgusting beings. When their family couldn't afford to buy food, Rasheed sent Laila's daughter to an orphanage. Laila demanded to see her, but Rasheed would not take her to visit their daughter. Laila would sneak out and try to make it to the orphanage without being caught by the Taliban only to be beaten every time for walking without a man alongside her. Since the Taliban and most Afghan men did not care about women, they showed discrimination to the minorities in their country.
The Kite Runner follows the maturation of a boy in the 1970's named Amir who needs to find his way in the world as he realizes that his cultural beliefs do not follow that of the dominant culture. It is a novel about right, wrong and the nature of evil. Amir has to face many challenges such as trying to please his father, feeling jealousy towards his best friend, and having to live with his conscious. The inspiration for this fictional novel is a news story that Khaled Hosseini saw about Taliban and the impositions that they placed on Afghans. At some point it mentioned a ban on kite flying, which struck a personal chord for him because he grew up flying kites in Kabul. He wrote a 25 page short story about 2 boys flying kites. A few years later he found his story in the "garbage" and turned it into a darker, more involved story.
Character Conflict
The Kite Runner
The strained relationship between Amir and Baba demonstrates the necessity of a strong fatherly figure that is needed in his life. Amir is constantly trying to please him and never truly feels accepted by him. Baba doesn't understand why Amir doesn't fight for himself and isn't tough like he was at that age.
In Afghanistan
"You think you matter to him, that you're wanted in his house? You think you're a daughter to him? Let me tell you something. A man's heart is a wretched thing, Mariam. It isn't like a mother's womb. [..] it won't stretch to make room for you" (26).
The conflict between Mariam and her father is a major event in the book because the story takes a turn and everything goes downhill. He forces her to marry Rasheed, which is when she must move to Kabul and start her new life.
Mariam's mom always hated Jalil and constantly told Mariam that he did't truly love either of them. Jalil put on a show of being a caring father to Mariam her whole life, only to reject her when she comes to his home, where his family and other people might see him with a
- Ugly name for a disgraceful, unwanted child who's only sin was being born, but a reminder of the sin they committed. "[...] an illegitimate person who would never have a legitimate claim to the things other people had, things such as love, family, home, acceptance"(4).
Every week Mariam's only thing to look forward to were Jalil's visits and she would worry that one day he would stop coming to see her. On Thursdays Mariam would sit outside and wait to see him coming through the trail in his suit. He was her hero, but in reality he was embarrassed of her. Their relationship was one-sided even though he pretended to love Mariam like his own daughter.
"[...] the Taliban planted TNT in the crevices of the giant Buddhas in Bamiyan and blown them apart, calling them objects of idolatry and sin" (278-279).
-Both of our novels settings are in Afghanistan. The atmospheres are full of violence and fighting which play a large role in the character's lives.
Character Conflict
with their fathers
The main characters each experience conflicting matters with their fathers throughout both of these books.
Thematic Concept-
Discrimination against minorities
A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Kite Runner both have a matching theme of discrimination against minorities. Throughout the stories the characters experience social degradation as they do not fit in with the majority and aren't treated equally.
The thematic concept of discrimination against minorities is remarkably evident through this book.
Ever since Mariam's mom had such a bad experience with a man, being kicked out of her home, called names and ridiculed by the public, she is strongly opinionated about the way that men treat women. She taught her daughter ever since she was a young girl that,
"Like a compass needle that always points north, a man's accusing finger always finds a woman. Always" (7).
If there was ever two sides of a story between a man and a woman, they wouldn't give her side a second thought because they don't see females as reliable or trustworthy sources.
Laila and Marium were both forced to marry the same man, who beat them on a regular basis. When Laila was pregnant, Rasheed was thrilled to have a child. He went out to buy clothes for it and built a crib. When she gave birth and it was a girl, Rasheed wanted nothing to do with the baby and wouldn't even look at her because he only wanted a son. Women aren't socially accepted the same way that men are and don't receive the same respect or rights. The people of Afghanistan are biased against women and treat them as if they're not even human.
A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Kite Runner connect in many different aspects especially since they're both written by Khaled Hosseini. The atmosphere of Afghanistan, conflicts between the main character and their father and thematic concept of discrimination against minorities reveal major similarities between these novels.
These novels connect in many ways including the atmosphere, character conflict and thematic concept.
Throughout the story people are forced to hide out in their homes, listening to bombs falling through the sky and the boom of the explosion when they hit the ground. Constant machine gun shootings and screaming were heard on nearby streets. At this time Afghanistan was not a wealthy country and did not have money to spare, especially during the war. The Taliban would give very little money to hospitals and destroyed schools. The rulers of Kabul did not care if kids were educated or not, or whether they were thrown into an orphanage or starved to death. They didn't care about people's health or futures.
In Afghanistan, there is a lot of violence and fighting because of the war. This creates the mood of chaos and disorder. In this book, the characters are fearful of the hazards in Afghanistan "The shootings and explosions had lasted less than an hour, but they had frightened us badly" (38-39). The Taliban don't care whether they scare people or not, the only care about having power. There was constant fighting and killing throughout the novel which creates a stressful atmosphere.
The mood created in this novel is full of fear, disgust, and violence. Afghanistan was war-torn and the characters in the book were used to the sound of fighting, and the sight of death."The infighting between the factions was fierce and no one knew if they would live to see the end of the day. Our ears became accustomed to the whistle of falling shells, to the rumble of gunfire, our eyes familiar with the sight of men digging bodies out of piles of rubble." (223). Since they are so used to all the violence, it creates a dark atmosphere.
"'He’s always buried in those books or shuffling around the house like he’s lost in some dream…I wasn’t like that.' Baba sounded frustrated, almost angry" (23).
Baba is angry that his son is not a reflection of him because he wants someone to carry on his name and be tough like he was. He feels like there is no real connection between the two of them. He neglects his son's interest in writing, doesn't fully return the love his son tries to give, and refrains from showing pride in him. This creates the jealousy and cowardice in Amir that prevents him from saving Hassan when he gets raped.
Thematic Concept
Hassan was born a Hazara, which is the minority in Afghanistan. Ethnic discrimination is shown throughout the book when Pashtun people call Hassan names."They called him "flat-nosed" because of Ali and Hassan's characteristic Hazara Mongoloid features [...] the Pashtuns had "quelled them with unspeakable violence"" (9). Nobody accepted Hazara's in Afghanistan. They are disrespected treated as if they are lower class and servants to the Pashtun's. Through this, it is obvious that Hazara's have a hard time living in Afghanistan.
Baba sets an example to Amir by being kind to Hazara people even though they are historically persecuted. He shows Amir that it doesn't matter what culture your from. Even though he shows them kindness, there is a class barrier in his home. Ali and Hassan live in huts and sleep mattresses on the floor. They do the cleaning, cooking, and tend to the garden. This shows that even though they are accepting of the Hazara people, they still treat them as lessers. Amir says, "In the end I was a Pashtun and he was a Hazara, I was Sunni and he was Shi'a, and nothing was ever going to change that. Nothing." (27). He knows that no matter how nice he is to Hassan, nothing will change the fact that he's not like him.
The Kite Runner
A Thousand Splendid Suns
A Thousand Splendid Suns
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