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Introduction The Kite Runner is an extraordinary book, which reminds us how long the Afghani people have been struggling to triumph over the forces of violence. Because of the books strong story, we get an insight in how people might have experienced the crisis in Kabul, even though it’s been shown through a book. The author Khaled Hosseini was a practicing physician until after the book’s release. This was also his first novel, which was released in 2003 and turned out to be an international bestseller.
Even though the story of The Kite Runner is fictional, it’s based on a true story and also on Hosseini’s memories of growing up in Kabul.
This also means that the genre of the book is not a fictional novel (many look at it that way), but an historical novel. According to an article in USA Today, The Kite Runner has sold over 1. 4 million copies, which is a phenomenal sale for a first time author.
The story tells of a friendship between two boys growing up in Kabul. Even though they were raised in the same household, Amir and Hassan are from two “different worlds”. While Amir is the son of a wealthy and respected man (Baba), Hassan is the son of the family servant (Ali).
The most important factor in the story is the relationship between Amir and Hassan. Their intertwined lives and fate, shows that throughout the story even though, when their relationship was inseparable in the start. They still manage to become separated through jealousy.
Five years later, during the Soviet occupation, Amir and Baba are forced to flee. They spend their new lives in California, and Amir starts a career as an author. Even though Amir thinks that he has escaped his past. He still cannot leave the memory of Hassan behind him. Setting The story uses two main settings.
One is Afghanistan and the other is California. We could also say that the story is divided into three sections: the memories of pre-conflict Afghanistan, adjusting to life in America, and returning to Taliban controlled Afghanistan. There is big difference between these places. While Afghanistan used to be a safe and peaceful nation, their reputation completely changed after Taliban started controlling the country. The country is also portrayed as a demolished and deserted place, while California is shown as a way to escape their problems in Afghanistan.
California will always be a much safer place to live, for both Amir and Baba, but Baba still misses Afghanistan, since he used to be wealthy and respected. He misses Kabul because in California, he is completely the opposite. He works at a gas station for many hours, and through the book we can feel that he misses almost everything about his previous home. It’s important to understand their struggle to adapt to their new home, because it shows how different Afghanistan is from California, and we also get a better understanding of the story.
Structure and characters The Kite Runner starts with a nameless narrator, talking about his past and how it’s been affecting him for the last twenty-six years. The narrator also gives us clues to what might happen, and the troubles that will arise. After going through a few chapters, we get to know the main characters better and their problems. The characters that we first meet are Amir and Hassan. Amir is the narrator and the main character throughout the story. He is an Afghan man with a special childhood.
Through most of his life Amir tries to redeem his reputation in the eyes of his father as he felt he was responsible for his mother’s death. He also wants to prove to his father that he isn’t a weakling, and want to become more like Hassan. Hassan is Amir’s best friend during his childhood and he is also his servant. Hassan is known for his loyalty and strong attachment to Amir. Later in the story, it’s revealed that Hassan is Amir’s brother. This means that Amir’s father had an affair with Ali’s wife, and that Hassan is actually his son. Hassan was also known for begin the best kite runner in Kabul.
Baba is a wealthy and respected man, but becomes poor after he flees to America. His relationship with Amir is very turbulent, and he wants Amir to become like Hassan, strong and brave. Ali is Hassan’s father and Baba’s best friend. He is a Hazara, but he got the same characteristics as his son. Ali grew up together with Baba, just as Hassan and Amir did. He got a handicap as well; even though it doesn’t stop him from begin a loyal servant. Rahim Khan is Baba’s closest friend and one of the few people who know that Hassan is Amir’s brother.
He is the one that calls Amir to go back to Afghanistan. Assef is a bully and is responsible for the rape of Hassan. This guy is also a fan of Hitler, which clearly makes him a sociopath. When he becomes an adult, he also joins the Taliban. He also has hatred towards the Hazara people, and likes to discriminate them. Soraya is Amir’s wife and has troublesome past. She also takes care of Baba, when he is sick and adopts Shorab without doubts. Sohrab is Hassan’s son. He also plays a major part in the book. Assef enslaves him after he is taken from the orphanage.
Since Amir is the main character in the book, he also develops most of all the characters. We notice first that he slowly turns against Hassan, his anger and jealousy grows in one direction, even though Hassan doesn’t do anything wrong. The rape of Hassan is really an event that further separates their relationship. Since there is so much drama in this book, it doesn’t end yet. When the Soviet invades Afghanistan, Amir’s family flees to another country, unaware that they lose most of their wealth. For the first time they get a taste of how it is to be poor.
Later in the book Amir gets a call from Rahim Khan and returns to Afghanistan. He finds out about Hassan’s son Sohrab, and is determined to bring him back home to America. Before he could save Sohrab, he had to face Assef. Getting beaten by Assef and saving Sohrab could be seen as a final way to redeem himself. This also made his guilt disappear. Themes and tones In this story, there are a lot of different themes we could discuss like example: bullying, friendship, guilt, betrayal, kite, honor, redemption, father and son relationship, man’s inhumanity to man, discrimination and loyalty.
There is a lot of ethnic discrimination in Afghanistan and especially the conflict between the Pashtuns and the Hazara. The relationship between Pashtuns and Hazaras has never been stable; because Pashtuns are mostly Sunni Muslims and the Hazara are Shia Muslim. The Hazara has been discriminated mostly because of their faith, language and facial appearance. In the book Ali is loyal to Baba, because Baba’s father adopted Ali after his parents died. Since then Baba has always followed his father’s example and always been kind to the Hazara people. Guilt is also another theme that is brought up.
After the rape of Hassan, Amir cannot bear to be around Hassan, because it reminds him of that day. He even lies to Ali, and says that nothing happened. The problem with Hassan is that he takes the blame for everything and he doesn’t want to hurt Amir. Even when Amir tells Hassan to hit him with the pomegranate, he refuses. When Hassan smashes the pomegranate on his own forehead, Amir’s guilt becomes even worse. In the end Amir makes Hassan and his father leave, and Hassan still considers Amir his best friend. The story is written in a way that it still affects you after your done reading.
Even though it’s a dark story with a lot of hopelessness for the people in Afghanistan, there still is some hope and happiness. Honor is expressed in many different ways, but the quote “for you, a thousand times over” is a great example of how they express theirself. Conclusion The kite is a theme in the book that represents freedom, even though you’re not in fully in control of the kite’s fate. I think the theme describes the fate of Amir and how he develops throughout the book To me the story as said earlier is a historical novel, and not a fictional novel.
This is because it’s based on a true story and experiences Hosseini had when he was growing up in Kabul. I as writer of this analysis is a Hazara, and I know what kind of suffering the Hazara people have went through. Sometimes I think that Hosseini might be Amir, but they sure do have some similarities. Links: * http://www. usatoday. com/life/books/news/2005-04-18-kite-runner_x. htm * http://www. gradesaver. com/the-kite-runner/study-guide/ * http://www. wikisummaries. org/The_Kite_Runner * http://polsci167. blogspot. com/2011/09/kite-runner-redemption-within-tentative. html.
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