The Kite Runner focuses on the life of Amir, a cowardly young boy part of the ruling caste of Pashtuns, and the son of a wealthy merchant residing in the outskirts of Kabul. At his side we see Hassan, his servant and best friend who is a member of the Hazara caste, a cultural group long persecuted in Afghanistan. As Amir tries to meet his father’s demands, we see the close relationship between the boys diminish, as ethnic and political tensions arise in Afghanistan. One day, a savage yet preventable attack is bestowed upon Hassan, an act that could have been prevented had Amir stepped in.
Overcome with guilt and shame, Amir convinces his father to get rid of Hassan and his father, as he finds it almost impossible to confront them. Upon the beginning on the Soviet invasion, Amir and his father leave for America, leaving Hassan and his father behind. Years later, Amir is finally beginning to loose his feeling of guilt when he receives a call from an old friend residing in Pakistan. The dying wish of this friend requires Amir to go on a mission to Afghanistan, a mission which will finally allow him to face his demons and overcome his guilt once and for all.
This book was written by Khaled Hosseini, a 40 year old Afghan American writer. Born in Kabul, his family moved to France in 1976 where his father worked in a government position. Hosseini’s family was suppose to return to Afghanistan in 1980, but was weary about the Soviet invasion. Instead, they requested political asylum and moved to the United States. Hosseini completed medical school at the University of California in 1993 and has kept a job as an internist since. The Kite Runner is loosely based on his life and his direct experiences with Afghan culture.
Modern World Nations: Afghanistan Modern World Nations: Afghanistan is an informational text that covers the different cultural, social, political and historical aspects of the nation. In the book, we learn of the different racial groups that reside in the country as well as the different conflicts that arise within them. Different languages are explored such as Dari (a language that derives from Farsi) and Pashtun, a native language exclusive to Afghanistan and western Pakistan.
The book also shows an in-depth look into the politics of Afghanistan, discussing the fallen monarchy of the past and the pro-Islamic policies of the Taliban of more recent times. The book concludes by covering the last two decades, primarily the Soviet Invasion and the rule of the Taliban, along with the horrors and harsh conditions they afflicted on Afghanistan. Jeffrey A. Gritzner, the chairman of the Department of Geography and the Asian studies program at the University of Montana, wrote this text.
He is also an active member of the Association of American Geographers and has a great interest in world religions as well as global traditions and customs. B. CRITICAL ANALYSIS The Kite Runner The writing style of The Kite Runner is truly amazing, as it makes the reader feel as if they are witnessing the events firsthand. Written in first person, the reader joins Amir on his many journeys throughout his childhood and adult life. This point of view is particularly effective in this novel since Amir often has personal thoughts that we may not be aware of normally.
For example, Amir is very fond of writing and story telling, a hobby that his father looks down upon. As result, Amir keeps his hobby a secret and writes his stories privately. In my opinion, the first person perspective is especially effective when a novel wishes to focus on its main character in detail and tries to reveal more then we would normally know. It is also effective when reflecting on how Amir feels about a particular event or situation as we can directly observe his inner thoughts and reactions which give us a more clear reflection of his personality.
Another interesting technique used in this novel is the use of foreign words. In many conversations throughout the book, we see many of the characters speaking Farsi or using a Farsi word during a conversation or when referring to someone. In fact, Amir refers to his father as “Baba” throughout the entire novel (the equivalent of “dad” in Farsi). This technique is useful as it gives the reader a more realistic view on the story since all of the events are occurring in a foreign country where English is not the native language.
Amir travels to a variety of places throughout the book and comes into contact with different ethnicities and cultures so it gives us a feeling of realism when we see the portrayal of accents or foreign words, since English is not the first language of many of the characters. Modern World Nations: Afghanistan This informational text is presented in a very clear-cut, direct manner. This is a positive attribute of such a book since it allows the reader to comprehend the facts without being sidetracked by colourful language or fancy terms.
The author uses many statistics and graphs, along with maps and pictures to give the reader a true understanding of the cultural, geographical, and political aspects of Afghanistan. The book is written in a third-person perspective, the way most informational texts are since the author’s information in the book are not based on his first hand experiences. D. BOOK REVIEW AND PERSONAL RESPONSE * Since my non-fiction is an informational text, I was not able to find a review for it. As result, I will be doing a personal response on 2 articles for the Kite Runner.
Article 1 The author of this review explains the happy beginning of Amir’s childhood, one where he and his friend and servant Hassan live together in harmony despite racial and socioeconomic differences. He goes on further to say that the book is very straightforward, since there are few plot twists and little use of complex language. I agree with this statement and feel that in the case of the novel, direct language allows the reader to focus more on the horrendous and tragic events that occur to not only Amir and his close family, but also the Afghans as a people.
The review goes on to say that the contrast of pre-Soviet Afghanistan and the post-Soviet Afghanistan is an important and dramatic change. I agree that this distinction is a very important part of the novel since it demonstrates the vast changes that can occur due to a damaging and dominating political rule. The review also explains how the power of racism can affect children of young ages and tear apart long-term friends.
Social pressures and a cultural attitude towards certain ethnic groups can poison a child’s mind at an early age and the novel does an excellent job of demonstrating the scars that are created due to these beliefs. Overall, I found this review to be insightful and interesting however, I think the author should have emphasized that the reader will learn a great deal about Afghan culture and traditions from reading this book rather than solely the tragic events that occur. It is important to note that since it gives the reader not only an interesting story, but an educational aspect as well.
Article 2 The reviewer of this article, Tim Miller is a former history professor. As result, he includes the fact that this novel depicts the exotic and mystical culture of Afghanistan pre-Soviet invasion, which I think, is an essential point to mention. Another important thing he does is give a little background history on the author, Khaled Hosseini which is interesting to observe since the reader of the review will now have a better understanding of the author’s history and how and why he chose to depict the events in his novel.
The reviewer goes on to explain a plot summary of the book without giving too much detail or information to spoil it for the reader which I think is an important skill when writing a book review. The style he wrote his review in is excellent as he makes the novel seem lively and interesting. Overall, I think this is a quick, insightful article that will get the reader interested and eager to pick up The Kite Runner. The fact that he explained the cultural aspect o the book alongside with a quick biography of the author is what makes this article better and more informative than the first
E. LITERARY ESSAY The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is an epic tale that covers a variety of unforgettable and shocking events. The story begins with Amir, a well-off Pashtun boy who spends much of his childhood with his friend and servant Hassan, a boy of Hazara heritage. The boys are happy and the land of Afghanistan is happy; life is safe and prosperous for many Afghans. Amir’s father runs several successful businesses along the country and despite the difference of social class and ethnicity, the boys remain good friends. After the fall of the Afghan monarch, things begin to change.
Pashtuns and Hazaras are beginning to act in violent conflict and the ways of Kabul become vulgar and grim. As cultural and political tensions grow in Afghanistan, Amir and his friend begin to grow apart. As a result of the deterioration of their relationship, Amir his father seek refuge in the United States upon the Soviet invasion, leaving Hassan and his father to fend for themselves in Afghanistan. Many of the events within the novel are the result of many realities that took place within Afghanistan during this time period.
A prominent theme we see in both books is the contrast of life before and after the destructive Soviet invasion. Before the invasion of Russia, many Afghan residents were happy and the cultural differences between the Pashtun and Hazara people remained limited. After the Soviet’s began full-out war on the country, many Islamic groups recruited soldiers to fight in the war, excluding young men of Hazara descent. This form of isolation certainly can be seen as a cause for the discrimination against Hazaras since many Pashtun boys were brainwashed by their military leaders.
Furthermore, many of the foot soldiers remained unaware that the Hazaras were not allowed to help join their groups and as result, felt that the Hazara were depending on them to save the country without contributing any form of help of their own. This issue is addressed differently in The Kite Runner since we do not see Amir or Hassan being faced with a situation that requires them to take part in any war. In the Kite Runner, a boy named Assef (who ironically, later becomes a Taliban leader), attempts to brainwash Amir into disassociating with Hassan.
This is a different method of portraying how many Pashtuns pressured and brainwashed others into mistreating people of the Hazara race during and after the war. Another central theme that is dominant in both books is racism, and the negative impact racism within a society can have even among a very close-knit community. To understand that nature of racism in Afghanistan, it is important to understand the origin and physical traits of the two dominating ethnic groups in Afghanistan: the Pashtuns and the Hazaras.
According to the informational text “Modern World Nations: Afghanistan”, the Pashtuns are a people of Indo-Iranian stock who reside in Afghanistan and western Pakistan. The Pashtuns tend to have Aryan features which include high cheek bones, pointy nose, and round eyes. The Hazara however, are of Mongolian heritage and have Oriental-like features. In addition to the differences in physical appearance, Pashtuns tend to be Sunni Muslims while Hazaras tend to be S’hiat. The racism also derives from the fact that Hazaras traditionally tend to be poorer and are considered a laborer class of people.
We see how The Kite Runner demonstrates this fact by having Hassan and his father work as servants for Amir’s family. The Soviet invasion did not discriminate on these ethnic groups but upon the Russian’s depart; the Taliban took over the nation. Almost immediately, speakers within the Taliban government began to make outrageous statements against the Hazara people, claiming they are not “real Afghans”. The Taliban implemented a mass genocide of the Hazara people and ethnic cleansing went through with little intervention from outside sources.
This historical genocide was portrayed in the Kite Runner, as Amir returns to the country years later to find the Hazara village Hassan was living in had been massacred. Overall, The Kite Runner is an accurate portrayal of life in Afghanistan during this time period. We see the many of the central characters in the novel torn apart by hate and bigotry, an unfortunate and true reality that has plagued modern day Afghanistan. We see the negative effects that a war has on a people and the harsh realities it can have on a nation and people.
Brainwashing and negative propaganda can tear apart even the closest of friends and companions, a lesson that is thoroughly taught yet forgotten in history. Both novels also show how poverty and socioeconomic class can also influence the way we treat our fellow man. If the Afghans could have looked past the question of religious and cultural differences and unified during times of war, perhaps the nation could have pulled through and been one of success, rather than what it is today.
Courtney from Study Moose
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