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Book Review – Khaled Hosseini, the Kite Runner

Khaled Hosseini is determined to be the author of this particular novel The Kite Runner in which explained everything regarding the culture of Afghanistan differently.The novel was first published on the Riverhead books in 2003.

In this novel, Khaled Hosseini described the emotional and gripping story of redemption and betrayal faced by Amir, a Sunni Muslim who lived in Kabul. The Kite Runner, spanning Afghan history from the final days of the monarchy to the present, tells the story of a friendship between two boys Amir and Hasan growing up in Kabul (Penguin.com. 2019) https://www.penguin.com/static/pdf/teachersguides/kiterunnertg0110a.pdf. It also demonstrates the art of kite flying. It states how Amir struggled to find a position in the world due to the fallout and aftereffects from a chain of traumatic childhood incidents. The novel also demonstrates the relationship of Amir with his baba and Shi a Muslim servant. It helps the readers to gain experience of growing up in Afghanistan in a single parent home.

Amir and Hasan grew up in different worlds, although they shared the same wet nurse and raised in the same household. Amir is the son of a wealthy and prominent man, whereas Hasan is the son of Amir’s father’s servant. Amir believes that he has escaped his past when the Soviet invade and Amir, along with his father, left the country (O’Brien, 2018).

 

Halfway Post

The novel described the story of Amir along with his struggle that he faced in Kabul. The story is being set in opposition with the backdrop of violent incidents through the Soviet military intervention at the time of fallout of Afghanistan’s monarchy (Hanif, 2017). The setting is important and cannot happen anywhere else as it explains the complex socioeconomic culture faced by Amir in Afghanistan and introduces the world of Afghan life, which is oddly familiar, fascinating and strange. Yes, it might change the plot by changing the content of the story.

In Afghanistan, Amir has to face the problem of learning to adapt to the socioeconomic culture of Afghan as a member of the privileged class. He deals with this problem by deciding not to confront aggressors and bullies and makes a different set of sacrifices to mitigate the situation. I could relate this novel with my own experience as when I was growing through grade school, till sixth grade, I grew up around the same group of people, which was a great mistake. In this case, I found myself in the situation faced by Hassan in the novel. The problem was s I grew older; others became more famous while I did not. The social difference among us extended until I acknowledged that I was surrounded by the wrong people.

Redemption and sin are considered to be the main theme of the novel. There possess another movie, The Shawshank Redemption, which is also based on the same theme as for The Kite Runner.

 

Final Post

It has been noticed that the main character of the novel Amir was a passive, disloyal and selfish person who did not take any action while Hasan was being raped. However, by the end, he changed himself by becoming a generous, unselfish and courageous person. He also changed himself by proving his loyalty to Hasan by saving the life of Sohrab. The changes in Amir’s character is realistic as it could happen in real life. This is because different situations help people to feel guilty and understand the true meaning of loyalty and love (Kai-fu, 2019).

Based on the situation when Hasan got raped, it has been noticed that Amir observed the incident but did not take any action to protect his friend Hasan. Whereas, after the incident, his behaviour towards Hasan changed, and he refused to continue his friendship with Hasan. According to my opinion, the reaction of Amir towards his friend Hasan was inappropriate as it demonstrates the selfish nature of Amir. If I had gone through the same situation, I would have done all the possible things to help and protect Hasan.

The last chapters of the novel create a great impact on my understanding of the book as it helps in understanding the entire story based on the theme of sin and redemption. The passage within the chapter states that Amir changes himself by becoming a compassionate and loving person who sacrificed everything for the sake of friendship (Kuusela, 2016). Amir adopts Sohrab as his son that indicates that he learned the actual meaning of loyalty and love.

 

Symbols and Heroes

 

Step A

SR/No. Heroic quality Evidence
1. Generosity Baba was a wealthy businessman who helps the community. For example, he generated businesses for building a new orphanage. This indicates that he is a helpful man (Zaman, Khan & Naz, 2018). As a result, Baba’s several works of orphanage and charity has become a part of his trail to redeem himself.
2.

 

Bravery He is confident and always believe in himself, although other people doubt him. For example, he enhanced the religious perspectives of the clerics at Amir’s school. He wants to encourage his son to gain accomplishments and success in life.
3. Strength He possesses the ability to hide his genuine emotions. For example, he has hidden the dark secret that Hassan is his biological son for avoiding conflicts among Amir and Hassan. He always wished to strengthen the relationships between Amir and Hassan so that Amir could show his love for Hassan (Yuan-yuan, 2018). He is determined to be a good man with strong ethics as well as morals. It clearly states that he always followed his strict moral principles throughout his life.
4. Renown He is a man who lived his life based on his moral codes. He was a well-respected man in Kabul. For example, he became a renowned person as he helped everyone by giving extra cash to the poor.  He used to organize parties to share his success stories with others.

Table: Heroic qualities of Baba

 

SR/No. Heroic quality Evidence
1. Fairness Sher was a kind and loving person. For example, he sat the whole night, cutting kite paper in order to design Tahira’s face on them. He was a kind person who made paper kites based on traditional designs for kids to make them happy.
2.

 

Bravery He was a brave man; for example, he has escaped Tahira from Mahmud’s mediation. At the time of battle he fought like a lion. Sher became so popular that his fame spread all over the wrestling arenas and as a result he became a leading champion.
3. Loyalty Sher was a loyal and honest man who always believes in telling the truth. For example, followed by his pledge to Mahmud of becoming real brothers, he never went to Mahmud or Tahira’s house and never talked to Mahmud about Tahira (Billaud, 2016). He sacrificed his love to demonstrate his loyalty towards Mahmud.
4. Courage He was a courageous man; for instance, he has politely lifted Mahmud from the ground as well as left the cheering and exciting crowd. On the other hand, both Sher and Mahmud pledged together to be real brothers (Brosh, 2017). He has shown courage by attending the wedding of Tahira.

Table: Heroic qualities of Sher

 

Step B

After the analysis of the characters of Baba and Sher, it can be said that Sher is a traditional Persian hero who kept his words until his death. Sher is determined to be a man of his own words whereas, Baba is a hard-headed man with a dark secret that Hassan is his biological and illegitimate son as he has an affair with Ali’s wife. Thus, he is not a true hero as he has hidden this secret from both of his son Amir and Hassan (Sundaresan, Sumathi & Kolappadhas, 2018). On the other hand, Sher is considered to be a traditional Persian hero as he was well-known of designing kites well equipped with traditional designs along with flowers, bird heads and small eyes in the middle. It indicates that he loves nature’s beauty and attracted towards the traditional designs during the Persian era. Moreover, it can be seen that Baba has betrayed Ali, who is his childhood friend by impregnating his wife. In case of Sher, it has been observed that although Sher loved Tahira still, he stopped talking and meeting to Tahira as he and Mahmud together have taken a pledge of being real brothers. In order to show his loyalty towards Mahmud, he has sacrificed his love. It clearly states that instead of betraying Mahmud, he has decided to move towards the path of loyalty (Dennis, 2016). This particular quality determines the heroic nature of the Persian hero.

On the other hand, Baba along with his son left Kabul and moved to California at the time of the Soviet War in Afghanistan (Tsai, 2018). They had to flee to California due to the change in the political climate. Meanwhile, Sher did not leave his place even though he broke his relationship with Tahira. Staying in the same place where Tahira too lives was the hardest thing for Sher, still, he remained stronger and fulfilled his pledge. This factor determines that Sher was a brave man who has the ability and strength to face difficult situations in life with strong determination. However, in order to overcome this sorrow, he owned a rented shop at the Siraj Market and started selling kites to kids, which are made up of traditional design. As a result, the kids began calling him Papa Sher. He was determined to be a courageous man; for example, he has shown courage by attending the wedding of Tahira. Being courageous is a significant quality of a Persian hero, and as he comprised of this quality, he is regarded as a traditional Persian hero (Rahman, 2018).

Moreover, it can also be seen that throughout his entire life, Baba was unable to build a strong and positive relationship with his son. Whereas, he wants his son to show honour, bravery and courage at every level during his young life. He always expected more from his son, hence these factors created a negative impact on his son Amir. As a result, Amir became a jealous, selfish and passive man (Wen, 2019). However, by the end of his life Baba when he was caught with cancer, he decided to manage to forgive himself and developed a strong and positive relationship with his son Amir. While, in the case of Sher, it has been noticed that he has always strengthened a strong relationship with everybody such as his mother, Tahira, Mahmud and others. In his entire life, he has never shown the feelings of disrespect towards others. He was a kind and polite man who always believes in building a positive relationship with others. He was strongly involved in kite battle, and at the time of the battle, he never implemented the strategy of betraying anybody and winning the battle through hard work. He was passionate about achieving his goals in his life.

Furthermore, based on the heroic quality of a Persian hero it can be seen that Sher has become a renowned person because of his kind nature and it is considered to be a significant quality of Persian heroism. He has continued his loyalty towards Mahmud of being real brothers. It is said that a Persian hero is not a hero unless someone demonstrates his story. Although Baba was a great hero, still, he cannot present his story to others as he was deeply involved in the activity of betrayal to his childhood friend. Whereas, Sher can proudly demonstrate his heroic story to others due to his heroic qualities such as loyalty, fairness, courage and bravery (Ramadan, 2018). Therefore, it reveals the fact that he possesses all the heroic quality of a Persian hero.

 

 

References

Billaud, J. (2016). Snapshots of British Islam: Exploring self, identity, and the good ethical life in the global megalopolis. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography45(5), 503-528.

Brosh, H. (2017). Grammar in the Arabic Language Classroom: Perceptions and Preferences. Al-ʿArabiyya: Journal of the American Association of Teachers of Arabic50, 25-52.

Dennis, M. A. (2016). Our monsters, ourselves: Reimagining the problem of knowledge in Cold War America. Dreamscapes of Modernity: Sociotechnical Imaginaries and the Fabrication of Power, 56-78.

Hanif, M. (2017). An analysis of english–indonesia translation procedure applied in dialogues of the kite runner by berliani nugrahani’s. Sastra Inggris-Quill6(4), 406-416.

Kai-fu, C. (2019). A Study of Amir’s Psychological Change in” The Kite Runner”. English Language Teaching12(5), 190-193.

Kuusela, H. (2016). The material trajectories of cultural texts: The Bookseller of Kabul and the ahistoric women of Afghanistan. Critical Arts30(5), 623-638.

O’Brien, S. (2018). Translating Trauma in Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. Transnational Literature10(2), 1-A5.

Penguin.com. (2019). Retrieved 19 June 2019, from https://www.penguin.com/static/pdf/teachersguides/kiterunnertg0110a.pdf

Rahman, F. (2018). Narratives of Agency: Women, Islam, and the Politics of Economic Participation in Afghanistan. Journal of International Women’s Studies19(3), 60-70.

Ramadan, M. (2018). Transnational Perspectives of the Middle East in Tony Kushner’s Homebody/Kabul and Naomi Wallace’s The Fever Chart. Modern Drama61(1), 20-40.

Sundaresan, S., Sumathi, K., & Kolappadhas, P. (2018). Literature review on Khaled Hosseini’s “The Kite Runner” and ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ Novel. International Journal of English Literature and Social Sciences3(4), 493-502.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini – review. (2014). the Guardian. Retrieved 19 June 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2014/jul/30/review-khaled-hosseini-the-kite-runner