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Kite Runner Seminar (Zach)

Literary analysis of symbols within the Kite Runner

Zach Brown

on 29 April 2010

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Transcript of Kite Runner Seminar (Zach)

Metaphors, Images and Symbols in The Kite Runner The Watch The Pomegranate Tree Kite Runnning The Rape Sheep Killing Amir's First Story Before:
"Amir and Hassan, the Sultans of Kabul. Those words made it formal: the tree was ours.”(Hosseini 30)
The act is symbolic of how extreme close Amir and Hassan's friendship really is. The tree stands as a physical testament to this as it blossoms and grows. After:
“The droughts have dried the hill and the tree hasn’t borne in years…”(Hosseini 229)
Amir and Hassan have not seen each other for a long period time, in which their friendship has deteriorated to a distant memory. This is reflected in the now barren, fruitless tree that Amir carved into so many years prior. The Pomegranate Fight
“He opened it and crushed it against his own forehead… Are you satisfied? Do you feel better?” (Hosseini 98) Symbolically represents the true end of Amir and Hassan's friendship. Amir hates how much Hassan has sacrificed for Amir, and Amir wants Hassan to stand up for himself for once. Represents Amir and Hassan's struggle to say "grounded" throughout the course of their friendship. Symbolic of Amir's relationship with
Baba. Also unable to stay "grounded". Metaphorically shows Amir and Hassan to
be the "Perfect Team". However they are doomed
until Amir fully acknowledges Hassan's talents. Shows Amir would betray his best friend for his father's approval. Relation to the watch Baba gives Amir
for his 13th birthday.
- Amir uses the watch to frame
- It's almost as if Wahid's kids
know the true nature of the
watch Shows the kids don't care for material
niceties - Moral Redemption ONLY
- Amir must complete his
journey and save Sohrab Metaphorically shows life in America cannot overcome the traditions of Kabul.
- The kids are in fact
interested in Amir's food
not his watch Relation to Baba's digital watch from the gas truck
on their exodus from Kabul.
- Amir viewed this as his only source of
hope in a deadly situation
- Symbollically represents the hopelessness
of Amir's endeavour “I understood now why the boys hadn’t shown any interest in the watch. They hadn’t been staring at my watch at all. They’d been staring at my food” Amir (Hosseini 254) "I had one last chance to make a decision...in the end, I ran" Amir (Hosseini 82) Symbolic of the destruction of friendship and the birth of guilt
- It's almost as if Amir
is the true victim (of the
choices he makes) This mightier force later comes
back to abuse Hassan's son Sohrab
- However heinous the act, it is
a rebirth of retribution for
Amir Overview of the Story
A man finds magic cup that turns his tears into pearls. Despite his happiness, the man is quite poor. As a result, the man destroys everything he loves in an attempt to be rich, but in the end is left with nothing.
Rahim Khan offers to read Amir's story after Baba refuses
- This gives Amir the courage to follow his passion to
write more stories
- Serves as a true sign that Rahim Khan is somewhat
of a surrogate father to Amir Serves as a foreshadow for coming events
- Amir gives up his friendship with
Hassan (what he loves) for Baba's
- This moral decision changes Amir's
life forever. “Well, if I may ask, why did the man kill his wife? In fact why did he ever have to feel sad to she tears? Couldn’t he just have smelled an onion?”(Hosseini, 34). Hassan's ability to find the plot hole
shows the reader many things:
a) Hassan is much smarter than Amir
gives him credit for.
b) Given the chance for schooling,
Hassan would have had many
opportunities in his life.
c) Hassan is a true friend, as he loves
the story despite being able to find
the plot hole. In accordance to Islamic traditions, one can find many
symbols/parallels between the ritual sheep slaughter
and certain situations within the book: Islam
•During the celebration of Eid al-Adha, Muslims commemorate and remember Abraham's trials, by themselves slaughtering an animal such as a sheep, camel, or goat.
•According to the narration of the Bible, Abraham sets out to obey God's command to sacrifice his son without questioning. After Ishmael (Isaac) is bound to an altar, the angel of God stops Abraham at the last minute, at which point Abraham discovers a ram caught in some nearby bushes. Abraham then sacrifices the ram in Isaac's stead.

Baba's Turmoil
•The story of the bible splits the Jews and Muslims at the point of which son Abraham was truly going to sacrifice.
•After not being able to conceive with his first wife Sarah, Abraham took one of his servants, Hagar, as a secondary wife with whom was born Ishmael.
•He later bore a son with his wife Sarah who was named Isaac.
Khanum Taheri's Sacrifice for Amir
•Upon Amir’s absence whilst in Afghanistan, his wife’s mother begins to worry for him and has taken to doing nazr (ritual sheep sacrifice).

““Why didn’t you call earlier? I’ve been sick with tashweesh! My mother’s praying and doing nazr everyday.”… “And tell Khala Jamila to stop killing sheep” (Hosseini, 341).
Sacrifice of Hassan
•A parallel is suggested between Hassan and the sheep whose sacrifice Amir had witnessed.
•Both Hassan and the animal are innocent of offense; both are powerless, victimized by forces beyond their control.
•The reference to the sheep’s eyes implies that Amir saw something in those eyes that continues to haunt him: fear, confusion, and suffering—emotions Hassan experiences during the brutal attack he endures.
•By choosing to take no action to save his friend, Amir offers up Hassan to the bullies attacking him in order to secure Amir’s own safety.
•Hassan is sacrificed on the altar of Amir’s fear and cowardice.

“He picks up the knife with the long blade….The sheep kicks but not much…Just a second before he slices the throat in one expert motion, I see the sheep’s eyes. It is a look that will haunt my dreams for weeks. I don’t know why I watch this yearly ritual…I watch because of the look of acceptance in the animal’s eyes. Absurdly, I imagine the animal understands. I imagine the animal sees that its imminent demise is for a higher purpose.”(Hosseini, 81-82)
Discussion Question #1
Is the watch symbollic of hope or rejection? Discussion Question #2
(Insert here) Discussion Question #3
Describe a time in your life when you gave up something valuable for something seemingly better. How would your life or the situation have been different if you had chosen the alternate path? Discussion Question #4
In Baba’s case, which son did he ultimately sacrifice Amir or Hassan? Discussion Question #5
Despite the physical pain felt by Hassan, can Amir be considered the true victime of the rape? Agenda
- Thesis
- The Watch
- The Pomegranate Tree
- Kite Running
- Amir's First Story
- Sheep Sacrifice
- The Rape
By: Zach, Kristina, Fortrans & Anita Thesis:
Metaphorical objects and occurrences within the Kite Runner symbolize the emotional
and moral turmoil of Amir as he attempts to adhere to this path of redemption.
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