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The Kite Runner
Transcript of The Kite Runner
- Khaled Hosseini -
By: Allice Tran
IDEOLOGY - THEMES - MORALS
ABOUT THE BOOK
INTRODUCTION TO AFGHANISTAN
- The protection granted by a nation to someone who has left their native country as a political refugee.
Take a look
front & back covers
first 4 pages
( Look at the
front and back covers
What is the setting of the book ?
Is the book a nonfiction or a fiction?
Describe the book in general. [ Use the adjectives ]
What is/are the award(s) that the book received?
( Look at the
What genre does the book belong ?
( Look at the
( Look at the
side of the book & the 2nd " review page "
BOTH LOCATION & TIME
Which year was the book published ?
( Look at
( Look at
What are the themes of this book?
( Look at
Describe the image on the front cover and predict what is the mood of the book.
( Look at
What do you know about the author ?
( Look at
"first page right behind the front cover page "
Describe the historical background at the time the book was being published.
Name the character(s) in the book
( Look at
" first 2 review pages "
( Look at
back cover page "
for a posting in Paris in 1976, well
, but sought
ANALYSIS (~ symbols )
the context of The Kite Runner, a
Afghanistan's history, politics, and culture
QUALITY OF LIFE
south and east
Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan
completely landlocked country.
Afghanistan is a country
constantly plagued by war
direct result of war
in Afghanistan is a
low life expectancy.
are considered the
of Afghanistan and are spoken by
of the people.
30 other minor languages
are also spoken in Afghanistan.
Old Afghan hobby
2 dominant religious groups
( Orthodox Islam )
( Heterodox )
85% of population
15% of population
had been persecuted in Afghanistan in the past
developed their own conception of Islamic law and practices
splitted from the Sunni ~ 7th century
99% of the population is Muslim
Of these Muslims, 84% belong to the Sunni sect.
Majority ethnic group at
on the social ladder & dominate governmental bodies
mainly of Sunni Muslims
Mainly inhabit the
fertile eastern valleys
A group that is considered to have
and like many Hazaras, they are
not the highest on the social ladder.
However there are Tajiks that are
successful and important members of the government.
of Afghanistan’s population
central Afghanistan mountain region
Historically, the Hazara seem to have
Most Hazara are
. The 1% which are not Muslim are either Hindu, Sikh or Jewish.
Hazaras are considered to be on the
lower end of the socio-economic scale.
of the population is comprised or the
of the population is comprised of the
an ancient people of Mediterranean descent
the ethnic Shi’a Persians
relatively few in number
of the south and the scattered members of the Kuchi and Aimaq nomads
TO SUM UP . . .
Traditionally Pashtuns have dominated the country because they are the presumed majority of the population.
As a result, many of the other ethnic groups have not had a strong voice within the society.
- began to take shape
- buffer state in rivalry between British Indian Empire & Russian
- declared full indepedence and first constitution is established.
- Ruled by monarchy then constitutional monarchy
- King Mohammad Zahir Shah reigned during the longest period of stability.
BEFORE " THE KITE RUNNER "
A landlocked country located in central Asia, focal point of
trade and migration
DURING " THE KITE RUNNER "
: King’s brother-in-law waged a
and declared a republic.
: People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan organized an
, promoted freedom of religion and women’s rights.
invaded, killed the president and up to 2 million civilians. Over 5 million fled the country.
: U.S. sent aid to the
to stop communist expansion, Soviets withdrew.
* Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
* illegal seizure of power from a government
* guerrilla fighters in Islamic countries, especially those who are fighting against non-Muslim forces.
The word Taliban = plural of an Arabic word "
" => someone who seeks
before he becomes the preacher in a mosque
They were the
sons of Afghan refugees in Pakistan
they held about
90% of the Afghan territory
, including Kabul
They brought relative peace and security in the country & restored law and order BUT through rigorous enforcement of Islamic punishment:
public beating, flogging, amputation of hands, and stoning to death
TALIBAN'S RULES FOR WOMEN
- May not study at any institutions
- May not work outside the home
- Must wear the long veil (burqa) which covers from head to toe
- May not laugh out loud -> no stranger should hear a woman's voice
- May not wear high heels -> no man should hear a woman's footstep.
TALIBAN'S RULES FOR EVERYONE
- Noone can listen to music
- Noone can watch T.V
- Noone can have a non-Islamic name
- In any sporting events, clapping isn't allowed
- No burrying of anyone who got killed by the Talibans > examples of other "wrongdoers"
NOONE MAY FLY KITES
recognized the Taliban government:
United Arab Emirates
A BUFFER STATE
THE GREAT GAME
THE NEW GAME :
THE COLD WAR
control of Afghanistan throughout the 19th
and parts of the 20th centuries
=> Afghanistan as prime invasion route to wealthy British Indian Colony and warm waters of Indian Ocean
=> concluded that whoever controlled Afghanistan could potentially dictate India's future
British invaded Afghanistan
& replaced the ruler, Shah Shuja
The Soviet Union & The U.S became the dominant powers after WWI.
They sought influence around the world including Afghanistan
When the U.S. government rejected Afghan request for
arms, Afghans turned to the Soviet Union
►The Soviet Union not only
provided Afghanistan military
, but also
built several airports
Afghans went to the Soviet Union for military training
►Most of the officers either joined the Afghan Communist
Party or became sympathetic to it.
Afghanistan is nation of
groups with disparate ethnic,
religious, and tribal traditions.
KABUL . . .
THE SETTING OF " THE KITE RUNNER"
DUE : TUESDAY ( March, 2, 2015 )
PLEASE DO IT > TO BE PREPARED FOR THE DISCUSSION NEXT CLASS !!!!!!
- protagonist & narrator
-sensitive & intelligent
- His best friend is Hassan, and he goes
back and forth
between acting as a
out of jealousy whenever Hassan receives Amir’s father’s affection.
- His great desire to
please his father
is the primary
for his behavior early in the novel, and it is the
- From that point forward, he is driven by his feelings of
as he searches to find a way to redeem himself.
=> later => help
- Amir’s best friend and half-brother as well as a servant of Baba’s.
proves himself a loyal friend to Amir
, defending Amir when he is attacked and always being ready to listen.
- Bravery, selflessness, & intelligence ( => more instinctual than bookish, largely because he is uneducated.)
- As a
poor ethnic Hazara
, he is considered an
in Afghan society, and he is the
victim of racism
- He is
Baba’s illegitimate child
, though he is not aware of this fact, and he grows up with Ali acting as his father.
is an early
in the story, and
even though he is not present in a significant portion of the novel, he plays a major role throughout.
- Father of Amir ( and of Hassan )
- a wealthy, well-respected businessman.
believes first and foremost in doing what is right
and thinking for oneself, and he
tries to impart these qualities to Amir
- Although he distrusts religious fundamentalism, he follows his own moral code and acts with self-assurance and bravery.
- When necessary, he is even willing to risk his life for what he believes in. -
Yet his shame at having a child with a Hazara woman leads him to hide the fact that Hassan is his son. => still racist ~ sort of
Because he cannot love Hassan openly, he is somewhat distant toward Amir and is often hard on him, though he undoubtedly loves him.
A racist who wishes to rid Afghanistan of Hazaras, he is incapable of remorse and enjoys inflicting violence and sexual abuse on those who are powerless.
He even claims Hitler as a role model.
- Hassan’s and Sohrab’s rapist and the novel’s
. - Assef
represents all things wrong
- Son of Hassan and Farzana.
- In many ways, Sohrab acts as a
substitute for Hassan
in the novel, and he is a
central focus of the plot in the later
sections of the book.
- He is also an
great with a slingshot
-Ali is defined by his
more than anything, and he works
as Baba’s servant.
, though he rarely expresses his emotions outwardly.
, he suffers from partial paralysis of his face and walks with a limp caused by polio
THE CLEFT LIP
- Hassan’s cleft lip = one of his most representative features as a child
- The split in Hassan’s lip acts as a mark of Hassan’s status in society.
It signifies his poverty, which is one of the things that separates him from Amir
- Baba, who is Hassan’s biological father, chooses to pay a surgeon to repair Hassan’s lip as a birthday gift, signifying his
Later, Assef splits Amir’s lip as he beats him, leaving Amir with a permanent scar much like Hassan’s. In a sense, Amir’s identity becomes merged with Hassan’s. He learns to stand up for those he cares about, as Hassan once did for him, and he becomes a father figure to Sohrab. Because of this, it also serves as a sign of
- a symbol of
Amir’s happiness as well as his guilt.
he enjoys most as a child,
not least it is the only way that he
, who was once a champion kite fighter.
BUT the kite takes on a different significance when Amir allows Hassan to be raped because he wants to bring the blue kite back to Baba. His recollections after that portray the kite as a sign of
--> Amir does not fly a kite again until he does so with Sohrab at the end of the novel. Because Amir
by that point, the kite is no longer a symbol of his guilt.
acts as a reminder of his childhood
• The Kite Runner
• Khaled Hosseini
TYPE OF WOR
K • Novel
• Bildungsroman; Redemption story
TIME AND PLACE WRITTEN
• Los Angeles, CA - 2003
DATE OF FIRST PUBLICATION
• May 2003
• Riverhead Books
POINT OF VIEW
• first person
• confessional, expressing profound remorse throughout the story
• Past tense with extended flashbacks
) • 1975 through 2001
) • Kabul, Afghanistan; California, United States
• After failing to intervene in the rape of his friend
Hassan, Amir wrestles with his guilt and tries to find ways to fix his actions.
• Forced out of Afghanistan by the Soviet invasion,
Amir flees to the United States, where he tries to rebuild his life
until an old friend offers him a way to make amends for his past.
• Amir returns to Kabul, where he finds Hassan’s son,
Sohrab, and encounters Assef, the man that raped Hassan
twenty-six years earlier.
. “That was a long time ago, but it’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.”
This is what Amir means when he says that the
past continues to claw its way out
- Try as he might to bury it, he was unable to because his feelings of
As a result, he figuratively continues peeking into the alley where Assef raped Hassan, literally meaning that he keeps going over the event in his mind.
“A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything.”
Baba sums up one of Amir’s major character flaws—his cowardice—and Baba shows how much value he places in standing up for what is right.
. “I actually aspired to cowardice, because the alternative, the real reason I was running, was that Assef was right: Nothing was free in this world. Maybe Hassan was the price I had to pay, the lamb I had to slay, to win Baba.”
When Amir says this, toward the end of Chapter 7, he has just watched Assef rape Hassan,and rather than intervene, he ran away. Amir says he aspired to cowardice because, in his estimation, what he did was
worse than cowardice.
If fear of being hurt by Assef were the main reason he ran, Amir suggests that at least would have been more justified. Instead, he allowed the rape to happen
because he wanted the blue kite, which he thought would prove to Baba that he was a winner like him, earning him Baba’s love and approval.
The price of the kite, as Amir says, was Hassan, and this is why Amir calls Hassan the lamb he had to slay. He draws a comparison between Hassan and the lamb sacrificed during the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Adha to commemorate Abraham’s near sacrifice of his son to God. In this context,
Hassan was the sacrifice Amir had to make to get the kite and ultimately to gain Baba’s affection
DISCUSSION TIME !
What role does religion play in the lives of Baba, Amir, and Assef, and in the novel as a whole?
How does the author, Khaled Hosseini, use irony in the novel?
- Though it is rarely the main focus, religion is nearly always present in Amir’s narrative.
-Amir creates a complex portrait of both the positive and negative traits of religion, with the
negative always stemming from fundamentalists
use their beliefs as an excuse
carry out violence
against others and to limit people’s freedoms.
- Baba obviously
does not respect the beliefs of the mullah
he still has his own moral code
. Amir consequently grows up with a strong sense of morality, though it is entirely separate from Islam.
- The reader does know that
fighting continued in the country even after the departure of the Russians ( the Shorawi)
. Ultimately, the Taliban emerged with control, & from Amir’s narrative we learn that many of the Afghans who left their country think the
Islamist government the group has created is simply a means for them to justify their violence and authoritarian rule
- The character that most
represents this image of the Taliban is Assef
, who tells Amir that he felt liberated while massacring Hazaras in their homes because he
knew God was on his side.
- Amir has something of a religious conversion when
Sohrab survives after Amir prays for God’s help
What is the significance of rape in the novel?
- It is Hassan’s rape that establishes the
main drama of the story
, and it is later Sohrab’s rape by the Taliban that
- The rapist dominates the victim
not only physically but psychologically as well
, as we see in Hassan’s rape and even more dramatically in Sohrab’s.
- Finally, in each instance of rape we see, the
rapist takes advantage of the social order
, meaning the rapist is always in a position of greater power than the victim of the rape.
Assef, for instance, is
rich and has a politically powerful father
, while Hassan is a
. In each instance, rape acts as a symbolic violation of the powerless by those who have power.
Why do you think Amir gives such an elaborate description of his family’s home? What do the details of the family pictures in Amir's house reveal?
He goes into detail to give the reader a vivid description, but also because he is
of growing up there. It seems like a safe, happy, wonderful place to live.
Grandfather and King Nadir Shah – 1931 – two years before the King’s assassination
Parents wedding night – happy picture
Baba (Father) and his best friend and business partner standing outside the house – neither of them smiling – Amir is a baby in the picture and his dad is holding him looking tired and grim (dad is holding him but he is holding onto the finger of Rahim Khan)
- Repeatedly throughout the book, Amir must face the unintended consequences of his actions. These situations are often ironic in that they are the exact opposite of what Amir intended
- The irony stems from
. The most notable example of irony, for instance, centers on Amir’s decision not to stop Assef from raping Hassan. Amir wanted to show Baba how much he was like him by bringing him the blue kite from the kite-fighting tournament, and he thought in doing so he would finally have the love that eluded him.
- While Amir gains more attention from Baba temporarily, he eventually
-A further irony becomes clear when Amir learns that Baba was actually Hassan’s father.
Baba had betrayed his own best friend
, Ali, by conceiving Hassan with Ali’s wife, and so
that he was, in fact, just like Baba in that sense,
saddening Amir rather than making him happy.
You need to write an “I am” poem for the character that you just selected. You
may choose to use direct quotations where appropriate.
Line 1: Begin with the words “I am.”
Line 2: Write three nouns about which your character has strong feelings.
Line 3: Write a complete sentence about two things your character likes.
Line 4: Begin with three nouns that describe qualities your character appreciates in other people.
Lines 5, 6, 7: Write three short sentences explaining things about which your character has strong feelings – likes or dislikes. These do not have to relate to each other or to the previous lines you have written.
Line 11: End the poem with the words, “I am _________.” (Fill in the name of the character you have chosen.)
1 I am
2 Rain, Forests, and Sunsets.
3 I like long walks and quiet times.
4 Honesty, Humor, and Peace are important to me.
5 I love nature and animals.
6 I can be counted on to help.
7 I have strong feelings when a life is threatened.
11 I am ____________.