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The Kite Runner

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Devon Allen

on 27 April 2015

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Transcript of The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hoseeini
"There is a way to be good again"
chapter 1
There is a way to be good again...
After reading chapter ONE of the Kite Runner, analyze the following passages:
“I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975” (1).
“Because the past claws its way out” (1).
“Looking back now, I realize that I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years” (1).
“There is a way to be good again” (2).
Who is in need of redemption?
chapter 2
Friends, Family & Foes
Amir and Hassan are the best of friends, more like brothers due to living circumstances, but they are, as we will see, separated by issues that are far greater than their strength.
They are both motherless:
"It was there, in that little shack, that Hassan was born in the winter of 1964, just one year after my mother died giving birth to me" (6)
"While my mother hemorrhaged to death during childbirth, Hassan lost his less than a week after he was born. Lost her to a ate most Afghans considered far worse than death: She ran off with a clan of traveling singers and dancers" (6).
But both shared the same "mother":
"Baba hired the same nursing woman who had fed me to nurse Hassan. Ali told us she was a blue-eyed Hazara woman..." (11).
And this creates the timeless bond that will govern our story:
"Then he (Ali) would remind us that there was a brotherhood between people that had fed from the same breasts, a kinship that not even time could break" (11).
But, bonds are meant to be broken and in Afghanistan there is so much that can tear people apart.
Hassan's Physical Description
"...on his almost perfectly round face, a face like a Chinese doll chiseled from hardwood: his flat, broad nose and slanting, narrow eyes like bamboo leaves, eyes that looked, depending on the light, gold, green, even sapphire. I can still see his tiny low-set ears and that pointed stub of a chin, meaty appendage that looked like it was added as a mere afterthought. And the cleft lip, just left of midline, where the Chinese doll maker's instrument may have slipped, or perhaps he had simply grown tired and careless" (3)
This is the curse and blessing that will govern Hassan's life and his life with Amir...
He is a HAZARA and will suffer because of it.
Assef speaking to Ali:
"Hey, Babalu, who did you eat today? Huh? Come on, Babalu, give us a smile" (42).
"Hey, you flat-nosed Babalu, who did you eat today? Tell us, you slant-eyed donkey!" (42)
"Afghanistan is the land of Pashtuns. It always has been, always will be. We are the true Afghans, the pure Afghans, no this Flat-Nose here" (43).
Assef speaking to Hassan:
Describing life of the Hazaras under Taliban control:
Hazara men, women and children were massacred by other Taliban members in Mazar-i-Sharif in August 1998.
In January 2001 Taliban committed a mass execution of Hazara people in Yakawlang District of Bamyan province, Afghanistan.
The Depths of Love
Ali & Baba
The Winter of 1975...
Explain the significance behind these quotes. What implications do you see it having on future events in the novel?
Hassan, as we see early on is devoted to Amir.
"Hassan never wanted to, but if I asked, really asked, he wouldn't deny me" (4).
Unlimited Racism
Even the soviet invaders share the discriminatory view of the Hazara.
"You! The Hazara! Look at men when i'm talking to you!" (7)
"I knew your mother, did you know that? i knew her real good. I took her from behind by that creek over there" (7).
"What a tight little sugary cunt she had!" the soldier was saying, shaking hands with the others, grinning" (7).
This is a 10 year old boy, whose mother has run away, and only knows a life of 'inferiority.'
What impact does this have on a child?
What impact should this have on Hassan?
"And, under the same roof, we spoke our first words.
Mine was Baba.
His was Amir. My Name" (12).
"And, under the same roof, we spoke our first words.
Mine was Baba.
His was Amir. My Name" (12).
"Looking back on it now, I think the foundation for what happened in the winter of 1975 -- and all that followed -- was already laid in those first words" (12).
Baba is a rich and well respected citizen of Kabul. His house is adorned with affluent pieces, including a picture of his father with the King of Afghanistan.
And while Baba retires to his smoking room with his influential friends, it is Ali that waits upon them.
Which suggests that Ali is subservient to Baba
Yet, they "planted a small vegetable garden along the eastern wall" (6) together.
It is Baba that hires the wet nurse for Hassan.
The bond that ties there son's together appears to be present in their relationship as well.
Ali & Hassan
"Ali was immune to the insults of his assailants; he had found his joy, his antidote, the moment Sanaubar had given birth to Hassan (10).
"Hassan was true to his nature: He was incapable of hurting anyone. A few grunts, a couple pushes, and out came Hassan. Out he came smiling (11).
If Ali's joy is in Hassan... where is Hassan's joy found?
Why? What is your proof?
Describe the relationship between these boys.
chapter 3
The Story of Baba & amir
If Baba is a Bear, Amir is Deer...
And... unfortunately the Bear and the Deer are not very compatible..
In relationships, what is the difference between loving and liking?
Does Baba love Amir?
Does Baba like Amir?
Does Baba understand Amir?
Everything you ever wanted to know about Baba and more...
Using chapter 3 describe Baba in terms of:
Physical Characteristics
Personality Traits
Baba the member of society
Baba the Father
Baba the Friend
Baba the businessman
For each of these headings you will need to provide a description of how you see/understand Baba to be in chapter 3.
You will also need to provide quotes that will support your thinking.
part 1
part 2
Everything you ever wanted to know about Amir and more...
Using chapter 3 describe Amir in terms of:
Physical Characteristics
Personality Traits
Amir, Baba's son
Amir, Hassan's friend
Amir, the schoolboy
For each of these headings you will need to provide a description of how you see/understand Amir to be in chapter 3.
You will also need to provide quotes that will support your thinking.
Everything you wanted to know about Baba & Religion
part 3
Using chapter 3 FULLY explain Baba's view of religion and sin.
use quotes to support your answer
Though this may seem like the shortest of the assignments, it is perhaps the most complex.
How does Baba's point of view fit in with what we know about Islam in Afghanistan?
How does Baba's point of view fit in with what we know about the Pashtun and the Hazara?
Amir, the athlete
Journal Response #1
In a journal style write respond to these quotes:
"There is something missing in that boy" (24).
"He lowered his voice, but I heard him anyway. 'If I hadn't see the doctor pull him out of my wife with my own eyes, I'd never believe he's my son" (25).
Why would Baba say this?
How would you react if you were Amir?
chapter 4
Amir and Hassan
We learn so much from our parents... how to behave and how to behave badly.
something to think about:
where does Amir's knowledge of Baba come from?
Baba & Ali
Ali and Baba grew up as childhood playmates (27).
"...in none of his stories did Baba ever refer to Ali as his friend" (27).
For whatever the reason, be it Pashtun/Hazara or Sunni/Shia, Baba never admits that Ali is his friend.
However, he does take him into his home, provides him with employment, a place to live, medical care for Hassan, and a 'life' that he may not have otherwise had.
BUT, Amir chooses to only see the lack of FRIENDSHIP. And, it is this impression is what governs his relationship with Hassan.
Amir's point of view
"The curious thing was, I never thought of Hassan and me as friends" (2)
Yet he admits that when he thinks of Afghanistan, the thinks of Hassan. The two are inextricably linked.
"we were kids who had learned to crawl together..." (27)
"I spent the first tweleve years of my life playing with Hassan" (27).
"In the end, I was Pashtun and he was a Hazara, I was Sunni and he was Shi'a, and nothing was ever going to change that. Nothing (27).
Journal Response #2
Is racism a learned behaviour?
Do you believe that Amir is simply a product of his society?
Hassan the servant
chapter 5 &6
"While I ate and complained about homework, Hassan made my bed, polished my shoes, ironed my outfit for the day, packed my books and pencils" (29).
What are the implications of this quote?
In other words, what do we learn from it?
Power of words
Are they really friends?
Do actions speak louder than words?
What happens when actions are contradictory?
They would chase each other - play hide and go seek - cops & robbers - cowboys & indians - torture insects - get into all sorts of mischief together - go to the movies - take walks together - eat candy together.... (27-29).
Is this not friendship?
Amir would read to Hassan (30).
What does the act of reading to someone symbolize?
"what did a servant have for the written word?"
What does this suggest about Amir's view of reading to someone?
"My favorite part of reading to Hassan was when we came across a big word that he didn't know. I'd tease him and expose his ignorance" (30).
"Words were secret doorways and I held all the keys" (32)
Vy ne ponimayete,
E kore e matau koe
Inti ma jifhmux
Jy verstaan ​​nie
Sen anlamıyorsun
How is this statement true in life and in our novel?
Despite his illiteracy... Hassan was able to "decipher" poems, stories, and riddles. He could analyze them in a way that Amir was not as good at so he stopped reading them to Hassan... (30)
He would tease him to expose his ignorance (30).
"When it came to words, Hassan is an imbecile" (31).
But, Amir the writer wanted/needed Hassan for praise.
"Some day, Inshallah, you will be a great writer... and people all over the world will read your stories... you will be great and famous" (36)
Praise on High
Why does amir need this from HASSAN?
"I probably stood there for under a minute, but to this day, it was one of the longest minutes of my life. Seconds plodded by, each separated from the next by an eternity. Air grew heavy, damp, almost solid. I was breathing bricks. Baba went on staring me down, and didn't offer to read" (34).
When Hassan points out a PLOT HOLE in Amir's story, Amir responds:
"Taught by Hassan, of all people. Hassan who couldn't read and had never written a single word in his entire life. A voice, cold, and dark, suddenly whispered in my ear, What does he know, that illiterate Hazara? He'll never be anything but a cook. How dare he criticize you? (37)
"...suddenly Afghanistan changed forever" (37)
Amir, Hassan, & Assef
Remember chapter 4?
"Because suddenly Afghanistan changed forever" (37).
What does that quote mean in the context of chapter 4?
What does that quote mean in the context of chapter 5?
Amir & Hassan
a new Afghanistan
Compare Amir & Assef by examining the following passages:
Describe the relationship between Amir and Hassan by analyzing the following passages:
Describe the change that has occurred to Amir's Afghanistan by examining the following quotes:
Refer to Handout
Refer to Handout
Refer to Handout
chapter 6
Kite Flying
"Baba and I lived in the same house but in different spheres of existence. Kites were the one paper-thin slice of intersection between those spheres" (52)
"...'the chill between Baba and me thawed a little" (52).
The Kite Flying tournament was the "highlight of the cold season" (53).
Kite Flying was a "bonding" agent. Amir saw it as a way to be closer to his father.
It even served to bring Hassan and Amir together...
'We saved our weekly allowances in the fall...' (53) and they would spend hours making their own kites.
"Hassan and I were better Kite fighters than makers" (54)
What was so special about Kite Flying & Kite Running?
chapters 7
The tournament
End of innocence
Amir the Unlikeable
What does winning the tournament symbolize?
Kite fighting
Discuss Amir's self doubt and Hassan's ability to console him.
Discuss the quote,
"For you a thousand times over!"
Why does he not help?
Re-read the 'dreams' pages 78-82.
Why does Hosseini include them?
What do they symbolize?
The Lamb
"He moved his head slightly and I caught a glimpse of his face. Saw the resignation in it. It was a look I had seen before. It was the look of the lamb" (81).
Discuss the symbolism of the lamb.
How does it apply to Hassan?
How does this impact Amir?
What exactly is kite fighting?
What is its purpose?
Now lets discuss the imagery of Kite Flying...
lets begin on page 53.
Why does Amir like it?
Who else is innocent and in harm?
chapter 8
"For you a thousand times over!"
chapter 9
For one to succeed, one must fail... it is an old addage but, is it the truth? At least as far as our novel is concerned?
What is the difference between guilt and remorse?
Is Amir feeling guilty or is he feeling remorse? Use the following quotes to answer that question.
On the way to Jalalabad, Amir gets 'car sick' but, is this really car sickness or illness induced form guilt? (89)
"I finally had what I'd wanted all these years. Except now that I had it, I felt as empty as this unkempt pool I was dangling my legs into" (90)
"Kaka Faruq patted my back with his clean hand. I felt like sticking a knife in my eye" (91)
"'I watched Hassan get raped,' I said to no one" (91).
"I understood the nature of my curse: I was going to get away with it" (91)
"There was a monster in the lake. It had grabbed Hassan by the ankles, dragged him to the murky bottom. I was that monster" (91).
"I was getting a headache" (93)
"I fell on my bed, buried my head under the pillow, and cried" (94)
Is Amir feeling guilt or is he feeling remorse?
The make sense of this:
"Baba, have you ever thought about getting new servants" (95).
"I hurled the pomegranate at him. It struck him in the chest, exploded in a spray of red pulp" (98).
"In the end, the world always wins. That's just the way of things" (105).
This is another pivotal chapter in the novel.
Hassan's decision to take the blame for Amir demonstrates what to the reader?
Amir's decision to 'frame' Hassan for theft demonstrates what to the reader?
what do we learn from this encounter?
why, why would he do it?
Why does Baba forgive Hassan?
Why does Ali decide to leave?
Are Baba and Ali the better Amir and Hassan?
chapter 10
Pakistan, Baba, & Kamal
This chapter is a bridge into the second part of the novel - America.
The chapter opens with Baba and Amir crammed into the back of an old Russian truck. They're with other refugees on their way to Pakistan. Afghanistan has gotten too dangerous. Neighbors have turned against each other, and everyone seems to be a spy for the Russians.
They arrive at a check point and encounter the Russian soldier manning it who seems a little drunk. He tells Karim he'll let the truck pass if he gets to spend some special alone time with one of the women in the truck.
Baba is outraged.
Page 121 at the very bottom...
Nang and Namoos
Nang and namoos--defined as "pride" and "honour or dignity" in The Kite Runner--are probably the most important elements of Baba's character.
Looking back 10 chapters, what are some examples of Baba living his life according to honour, pride, and dignity?
They are delayed in the city of Jalalabad because they do not have connecting transport. This outrages Baba to the point of almost killing Karim, and he would have if not for the pleading women.
How is this an example of Nang and Namoos? How is it not?
What does this teach us about Baba?
This breaks serves two purposes: teach us about Baba and for Amir to encounter his past...
Kamal was one of the assailants that attacked and raped Hassan. We encounter him again as Baba and Amir are headed for Pakistan. However, this is not the same Kamal - his mother has been killed and he has been raped.
"Should have never let him go alone... always handsome, you know... fear of them... tried to fight…God…took him…bleeding down there…his pants… doesn’t talk anymore…just stares…" (127).
Why is Kamal raped?
What purpose does it serve in the novel?
Kamal's Physical Description
"He had withered…his eyes gave me a hollow look and no recognition at all registered with them. His shoulders hunched and his cheeks sagged like they were too tired to cling to the bone beneath” (127).
What does this show us about the aftermath of rape?
How Amir Treats Hassan after the Rape
"Hassan milled around the periphery of my life after that. I made sure our paths crossed as little as possible, planned my day that way" (94).
Amir is avoiding the 'wake' that he has caused.
Why is Kamal raped?
what purpose does it serve in the novel?
What effect does the departure of Hassan and Ali have on Baba and Amir?
"But it rained the afternoon Baba took Ali and Hassan to the bus station" (114).
"I saw in his slumping shoulders that the life Iad known since I'd been born was over" (115).
"I was sorry, but I didn't cry and I didn't chase the car" (115).
chapter 11
The wretched fuel truck makes it to Pakistan. A bus is going to take them the rest of the way to Peshawar. Amir (and some of the other refugees) crawl around on the ground, weakened by the fumes. Kamal isn't breathing. His father is stunned. He somehow gets a hold of Karim's gun and shoots himself in the head.
What does this incident tell us about the "fall" of Afghanistan?
Discuss the use of RAPE as a symbol in the novel.
Compare the reactions of Amir and Baba to life in America?
chapter 12
This chapter is really separated in two parts: a courtship and a diagnosis.
However, it begins with Hassan.
Amir remembers long nights in Afghanistan, specifically the first night of winter or yelda, when he stayed up late with Hassan.
Presently is is staying up late thinking about Soraya.
A couple of things at play here... first Hosseini is transitioning us to a different Ami, one that is not the dispicable Afghan boy. And, second, he is comparing Amir's relationship with Soraya to his relationship with Hassan.
WHY? and why for both...?
Amir's "heart stuttered at the thought of her. Soraya Taheri." His, "Swap Meet Princess" (150).
She was the morning to his yelda (152).
"I invented excuses to stroll down the aisle - which Baba acknowledged with a playful smirk - and pass the Taheris' stand (152),
"I promised myself that I would talk to her before the summer was over, but schools reopened, the leaves reddened, yellowed, and fell, the rains of winter swept in an wakened Baba's joints, baby leaves sprouted once more, and I still hadn't had the heart, the dil, to even look her in the eye (152).
"She had thick black eyebrows that touched in the middle like the arched wings of a flying bird, and the gracefully hooked nose of a princess from old Persia - maybe that of Tahmineh, Rostams wife and Sohrab's mother from the Shahnamah" (148).
Why will Amir not speak at her?
Afghanistan & Women
Read the article... and discuss.
Now what we see in our novel and surrounding Soraya is nowhere near as harsh, but it does have roots in this sort of thinking...
"I hear she is a decent girl, hardworking and kind. But no Khastegars, no suitors, have knocked on the general's door since. “It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can changed the course of a whole lifetime” (Hosseini 150).
What does this imply about her?
None the less...
Baba warns Amir about his advances, not because of her past, but rather because of 'manly honour."
"'Remember this, ' Baba said, pointing at me, ' The man is a pashtun to the root. He has nang and namoos.' Nang. Namoos. Honour and Pride. The tenents of Pashtun men. Especially when it caame to the chastity of a wife. Or a daughter" (153).
Is this chivalry or chauvinism?
By Afghan standards Amir’s approach is bold, do you find it so?
How is gender made an issue in this chapter?
Criticism for Hosseini
Many Afghan critics believe that Hosseini only highlighted the negatives of their culture through his portrayal of women, alcohol, & racism.
He maintains that Afghanistan needs to come to understand their past flaws to improve their present and future....
Baba gets a cold. It seems harmless, but then Amir catches Baba hacking up blood. Not a good sign. They go to a county hospital since Baba doesn't have health insurance. The doctor finds a spot on Baba's lung, and sends Baba to a pulmonary clinic.
There is the interlude with the Russian doctor -
nang & namoos.
We discover that it is lung cancer and it will be fatal.
By Thanksgiving, Baba can't make it past noon at the flea market. By Christmas, Amir is driving the van on his own. Baba loses weight. The Sunday after New Year's Day, Baba has a seizure and collapses at the flea market.
The cancer has spread to his brain and the end is near.
In what way is this event pivotal to the story and to Amir?
Amir is still in need of his father...
Baba is resting on the couch. Amir asks Baba to visit General Taheri and formally request Soraya's hand in marriage. He does this not only because he loves Soraya, but also because his father is dying. Amir knows the marriage will please his father.
Amir and Soraya... Secrets
Read the story on p.173
What do we learn about Soraya?
What do we learn about Amir?
What is this whole chapter REALLY about?
chapter 13
The Groom's Big Day
This is the chapter that Amir begins to learn about himself... and in turn we become more aware of him as a character. If we are to agree that he is becoming 'likeable,' this is a chapter that we need to pay attention to... he marries, loses Baba, and begins to... heal.
"Listening to them, I realized how much of who i was, what I was, had been defined by Baba and the marks he had left on people's lives" (184).
What does Amir mean?
How does living in someone's shadow impact a person's life?
What marks has Baba left on Amir's life?
"My whole life, I had been 'Baba's son.' Now he was gone. Baba couldn't show me the way anymore; I'd have to find it on my own" (184).
What void does Baba's death leave in Amir's life?
What is cathartic about Baba's death?
Why does Baba die?
Amir, the man
When Amir recalls his wedding, he looks back upon it with a somber realization... Amidst the wedding cheer and telling his bride that he loves her, recalls his former life that he'd hope to escape in America...
"I remember wishing Rahim Khan were there" (180).
"And I remember wondering if Hassan too had married. And if so, whose face he had seen in the mirror under the veil? Whose henna-painted hands he had held (180).
What does this moment of wonder teach us about Amir?
Why does Hosseini leave a page break at the end of this passage?
Why is the next passage about the tenderness of a woman?
Why does Baba die immediately after the wedding...?
a maturation process
Why Soraya? Why is Amir paired with her... well they share checkered pasts.
Nang and Namoos... are these the shadows that are cast upon Amir from his father?
Read page 188 to 189.
"But I think a big part of the reason I didn't care about Soraya's past was that I had one of my own. I knew all about regret" (190).
Why does Soraya say that she is lucky to have met Amir?
Do you believe him? Is he regretful? If so, what do we now think of Amir?
Think about the impact that Baba truly had on Amir...
a maturation process
"There was so much goodness in my life. So much happiness. I wondered whether I deserved any of it" (193)
Are these the thoughts and feelings of a man who is running from his past?
How has Amir changed? How is our opinion of him changing?
Crime and punishment
I'm not saying that Amir is likeable... but we have to consider that maybe our opinion of him needs to shift... Amir is a sympathetic character.
How much weight can you put on a child before they break?
How does the road to redemption begin...
Who is the last one to forgive?
The Weight of Baba
"What sort of father would I make, I wondered. I wanted to be just like Baba and I wanted to be nothing like him" (194).
How does this affect a person?
Does the punishment fit the crime?
We discover that they cannot have children... and physically speaking Amir is not reason.
"We all had our reasons for not adopting. Soraya had hers, the general his, and i had this: that perhaps something, somewhere, had decided to deny me fatherhood for the things I had done. Maybe this was my punishment, and perhaps justly so. It wasn't meant to be, Khala Jamila had said. Or, maybe, it was meant not to be" (198).
One more thing for consideration...
Why does Hosseini juxtapose Amir and Soraya's struggle with conception with:
"That was the year that the cold war ended, the year the Berlin wall came down. It was the year of Tiananmen Square. In the midst of it all, Afghanistan was forgotten. And, General Taheri, whose hopes had stirred awake after the Soviets pulled out, went back to winding his pocket watch" (194).
chapter 14
A way to be good again
What must Amir do to be good again?
chapter 15
Refer to "Quotable" for how we will be tackling this chapter.
chapter 16
The narrative shifts to Rahim Khan's POV and we learn about what happened to Hassan and Ali after Amir and his father left Kabul.
Ali died from stepping on a land mine. Hassan married Farzana who was pregnant. Rahim Khan persuades them to return to Kabul with him...
The baby is stillborn, but she becomes pregnant again and gives birth to Sohrab, a son.
Hassan's mother also re-enters the novel. She is welcomed into Hassan and Farzana's home and they rekindle a close relationship.
Sanaubar eventually passes away and as the chapter closes the Taliban assumes control of the country and bans kite flying.
What do we learn in this chapter?
What do we learn about Hassan?
His refusal to follow Rahim Khan.
Following Rahim Khan.
Living in the old mud hut.
Taking in his mother.
His relationship with Sohrab.
Rostam & Sohrab
Why would Hassan name his son Sohrab?
Why would Hosseini name his Hassan's son Sohrab?
chapter 17
There is a way to be good again
Discuss Hassan's Death as a metaphor of Afghanistan.
Discuss saving Sohrab as a means for redemption.
Discuss Amir's reaction to the news of Hassan's death, Rahim Khan's plan to save Sohrab and the news of a brother...
chapter 18
Inner Struggle
"I felt like a man who awakens in his own house and finds all the furniture rearranged, so that every familiar nook and cranny looks foreign now" (236).
"There is only one sin. And that is theft... when you tell a lie, you steal someone's right to the truth" (237).
"How could I have been so blind? The signs had been there for me to see all along..." (236).
"There is a way to be good again, he'd said. A way to end the cycle" (239).
"I was older now, but maybe not yet too old to start doing my own fighting" (239).
chapter 19
a true tourist
"You? You've always been a tourist here, you just didn't know it" (245).
How/Why is this a true statement about Amir?
Use specific examples from previous chapters as well as evidence from chapter 19.
"You are an honorable man, Amir agha. A true Afghan" (250).
How/Why is this a true statement about Amir?
Can present and future actions truly redeem what you have done in the past?
What does this comparison between tourist and true Afghan teach us about Amir, about the rich, and about those who left Afghanistan...?
chapter 20
Like father, like son...
the needs of the many...
The chapter is split between two sections... looking for the orphanage and the encounter with Zama once they find it, which begins on page 263. And, we will start there.
At first Zaman dismisses the photograph of Sohrab and denies that he has seen him.
Why does he let him in?
"...about two hundred and fifty... but they're not all yateem. Many of them have lost their fathers in the war, and their mothers can't afford to feed them because the Taliban don't allow them to work" (266).
"So there's no water heater and they've let the well go dry" (266).
"We don't have enough beds, and not enough mattresses for the beds we do have" (266).
"We have less than a month's supply of rice left in the warehouse..." (266.
"These are the lucky ones" (266).
If these are the lucky ones, we can assume what life is like for the rest of the children in Kabul. But what do we make of a government that ignores its own?
How do you meet the needs when there is no funding?
"There is a Talib official, he muttered. He visits once every month or two. He brings case with him... Usually he'll take a girl. But not always" (268).
Is Zaman an evil man?
Continue reading on page 268...
Do Needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or one?
"I haven't been paid in over six months. I'm broke because I've spent my life's savings on this orphanage" (270).
Is Zaman a saint?
Continue reading on page 270.
Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or one?
Strange fruit
chapter 21
Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.
Peom By Abel Meeropol
Sung by Billy Holiday
At the beginning of the chapter, Amir returns home and find his and Hassan's childhood playground....
"Hassan had said in his letter that the pomegranate tree hadn't borne fruit in years. Looking at the wilted, leafless tree, I doubted it ever would again" (276).
What does the pomegranate tree represent for Afghanistan?
What does the tree represent for Amir?
"I don't want to forget anymore" (276).
How is this evidenced through the soccer game?
Read pages 282-283
"Next to me, Farid was shaking his head. 'And they call themselves Muslims,' he whispered" (283).
What does this suggest about Muslims, the Taliban, and Afghanistan?
chapter 22
Old Acquaintances
As this chapter begins Amir experiences a little self-doubt and tries to justify reasons to leave Sohrab but, the cleric walks in... and we get a real glimpse into the social divide that exists in Afghanistan. Not one created due to ethnicity or religion, but one created out of power.
dressed in "white, still wearing his dark John Lennon glasses, looking some broad-shouldered, New Age mystic guru" (288).
And we encounter is psychopathic understanding of power and control:

"You don't know the meaning of the word 'liberating' until you've done that, stood in a roomful of targets, let the bullets fly, free of guilt and remorse, knowing you are virtuous, good, and decent. Knowing you're doing God's work. It's breathtaking" (290).
Troubling Passages
This is perhaps one of the most difficult passages in the novel to read. Most of us come to this novel with a preconception of the islamic religion that is based on events after 9/11.
We look at what is happening with groups like ISIS and Boka Haram and have a hard time separating religion and people.
What is Hosseini saying about the Taliban?
What is Hosseini saying about Islam?
"...a boy dressed in a loose, sapphire blue pirhan-tumban..." (292).
"His head was shaved, his eyes darkened with mascara, and his cheeks glowed with an unnatural red" (293).
"Sohrab raised his arms and turned slowly. He stood on tiptoes, spun gracefully, dipped to his knees, straightened, and spun again..." 293).
read pages 293-294
How is Hosseini using Sohrab as a symbol? Discuss.
Who is Assef?
Using quotations from the novel for support create a thesis for a character sketch of Assef.
refer to the handout for more details
The Fight
Read pages 297-306.
What is this fight about?
What do you we learn about Amir from the fight?
chapter 23
Are Amir and Hassan similar?
Does saving Sohrab make up for what Amir has done?
Is Amir good again?
Is anyone in this novel redeemed?
Can Afghanistan be redeemed?
Are Amir and Hassan similar?
"The impact had cut your upper lip in two, clean down the middle. But not to worry, the plastics guys sewed it back together and they think you will have an excellent result, though there will be a scar. That is unavoidable" (311).
"And the cleft lip, just left of midline, where the doll maker's instrument may have slipped, or perhaps he had simply grown tired and careless" (3).
Why is Hosseini making Amir and Hassan physically similar?
Does saving Sohrab pay Amir's debts?
"A man who has no conscience, no goodness, does not suffer. I hope your suffering comes to an end with this journey to Afghanistan" (315).
Is this the reality for Amir?
And does it make him good again...?
Is Anyone in the novel redeemed?
Rahim Khan
"Amir jan, I am ashamed for the lies we told you all those years ago" (315).
Does taking in Hassan, his wife, mother, and son redeem Rahim Khan?
Does her returning to Amir's life and being a grandmother makes amends for her abandoning them? Keep in mind the shame that she was living with... the guilt.
"Your father, like you, was a tortured soul, Amir jan" (316).
"Sometimes, I think everything he did, feeding the poor on the streets, building the orphanage, giving money to friends in need, it was all his way of redeeming himself. And that, I believe is true redemption is, Amir jan, when guilt leads to good" (316).
Do Baba's actions after his "sin" absolve his wrongs? Does Amir's actions mend the missteps?
His guilt led to him rescuing Sohrab. Is he good again?
Would Amir have saved Sohrab if John and Betty Caldwell actually existed? (323).
And, what does Amir actually plan to do with Sohrab, his nephew?
Can Afghanistan be redeemed from the actions of its people?
What hope does Hosseini leave for his people?
chapter 24
chapter 25
There is only one sin...this is a difficult chapter that deals with the idea of sin and its impacts.
Refer to the passage analysis sheet for details around the idea of sin.
And ultimately answer: Why does Sohrab choose sin to avoid a life of sin?
Read page 364
Read page 374
Read page 378
Read page 380
Read page 391
How was Amir changed? Why?
Full transcript