– Reflective beginning: Narrator is reflecting on his past and appreciating his present
– Power of the past
– Can be interpreted as a pre-beginning as the story itself hasn’t started but the novel has.
– Novel begins with self-reflection:
Initial optimism or fear for the reader?
1) Optimism: The beginning suggests the idea of redemption.
2) Fear: Why does redemption need to occur? Foreshadows conflict and a consequent need for resolution
-Beginning of the novel – Subjective interpretation, reader is immersed into confusion.
– Mention of kites- 1) Freedom: “danced high” 2) Suppression: “pair of eyes”
Themes: Reflection, corruption, resolution, redemption
– Kite = Metaphor, associated connotations, symbolising real issues.
– Personifying kites as real people – emphasises its significance.
-Ambiguous beginning, subjective
– Narrative gaps
– “past claws its way out”
– “there is a way to be good again”
– “made me what I am today”
What is Hosseini rebelling against?
– The idea that materialism holds the greatest power and can therefore maintain an individual’s emotional stability.
– Amir and Hassan’s memories
– Equal friendship
– Differences in materialism – Amir’s privilege to luxury v Hassan’s possession of the mere necessities.
– Amir’s privilege v the wider environment, Afghanistan.
– Amir and Hassan’s upbringing and family.
Amir’s mother died during child birth and Hassan’s mother had fled alongside the circus.
– Corruption of Ali and Sanaubar’s marriage – Bully and the oppressed. The affection wasn’t mutual.
– Allows the reader to gain an insight into Hassan and Amir’s past and current life.
– Soldiers mocked Hassan’s mother, using crude explicit language – expressed pride whilst describing their times with her
– Themes of contentment, childhood, companionship, materialism, privilege and prejudice, powerlessness, bullying, reversal of gender roles, social class, position of women.
– Materialistic juxtaposition
– Semantic field of possession
– Metaphor – Amir describes Hassan as a doll.
-“handpicked” v “stood bare”
-“Gold-stitched tapestries” v “tapestry..Allah-u-Akbar”
-“orange glow of fire” v “dimly lit”
-“sliding glass door” v “dimly lit”
– Strictness of the social hierarchy
– Division between classes
– Gender stereotypes, privileged man.
– Reliance of materialism as a measure of one’s importance.
-Baba’s character – Strong, honoured, well-known reputation, generous (Production of an orphanage, using his own money and time).
– Conflict: Genuine generosity v focus on public perceptions
– Conflict: Religion v culture: Alcohol is a sin in Islam, but culture allows it. (Doxa v Doxa) – Consequence of subjective matters.
– Baba claims that theft is the only sin. Baba only deals with objectives, both if they are fixed truths or they are branded as the truth by Baba. Baba enforces this objectivity into Amir, possibly to get rid of his overwhelming curiousity.
– Hegemony between age generations where Baba’s view on religion remained the same and was deemed as correct and Amir’s questioning wasn’t considered.
– Gender stereotypes: Sensitive literary writer v strong fearless athlete.
– Insight into Rahim Khan’s morality – Acceptance of Amir’s disposition
– Amir longs for his father’s attention
Themes: Conflict between father and son, gender stereotypes, ideologies, control, Identity, departure from the stereotypes, morality, conditioning, power of religion.
-Hyperbolic description of Baba tackling a bear.
– Colloquialism: Baba describes the Mullahs
– Metaphor: Rahim Khan distinguishes children and colouring books.
– Non-chronological/Flashback: Beginning of the chapter = Recall of an event.
– “wrestled a black bear”
– “my father, my Baba”
– “Piss on the beards of all those self-righteous monkeys”
-“only one sin..theft”
-“Children aren’t coloring books”
– “I’d never believe he’s my son”
– Stereotypes of masculinity.
– Narrow mind-sets
– Amir admits that he doesn’t view himself as being friends with Hassan.
– Pashtun v Hazara: Religious conflict which burdened their friendship and burdened Afghanistan’s unity.
– Western influences.
– Differences between Amir and Hassan: Education.
– Learn about Hassan’s love for literacy – patience and kind nature.
– Amir’s ability to write stories. – E.g., his book about greed.
– Rahim Khan accepted Amir’s love for writing whilst Baba overlooked it.
– Amir reveals that Afghanistan changed forever at the end of this chapter. Chapter 4 marks the boundary between domestic happiness and the wider conflicts in Afghanistan.
Themes: Division, privilege, materialism, stereotypes, private conflicts, suppression of imagination.
– Humour – “Imbecile”
– Irony – Amir loves novels and stories, his whole life is a big narrative.
– Inner thoughts in italics “How dare he criticize you?” – Inner conscience.
– First person Plural Epistolary: Letter sent from Rahim Khan, praising Amir’s writing and encouraging its continuation.
– “I was a Pashtun and he was a Hazara..nothing was ever going to change that. Nothing.”
– “We saw our first Western together”
– Letter: “I shall hear any story you have to tell”
– “Because suddenly Afghanistan changed forever”
– Discrimination and alienation
– Conflict – “shootings and explosions” – wider political conflict.
– The Cold War, 1979 – Russian invasion of Afghanistan, aim of spreading the communist ideology within the Middle East.
– Hassan’s fear that he will be sent away.
– As well as the political conflict, private conflicts also grew worse: Assef and his friends: Mocked Ali and Hassan for their physical deformities.
– Assef also showed off regarding his father’s relation to Daoud Khan.
– Assef’s psychopathy: Praises Hitler.
– Assef’s racism: Claims that Afghanistan is polluted with Hazaras and cleanliness is only possible through the removal of the ethnic minority.
– Assef’s influence on Amir: Amir doubts his friendship with Hassan, embarrassed of his association to him.
– Despite Hassan’s seeming sensitivity, he also possessed a brave fearlessness – threatened Assef with a slingshot.
– Hassan’s birthday, annual gift-giving tradition from Baba.
– Learn that Baba had paid for Hassan’s cleft surgery, on one of his birthdays.
– Baba v Hassan – Implicit fight for Baba’s love and attention.
At the end of chapter 5, like the end of chapter 4, the narrator ends with a negative statement. Foreshadows a more major difficulty – “Because that was the winter that Hassan stopped smiling”
Themes: Discrimination, conflict, ideology, powerlessness, public v private, change, fear, marginalization of the minority, racism, ethnicity, mobs.
– Onomatopoeia: “rat-a-tat-tat of gunfire”
– Personification of Afghanistan as a living, breathing human – “bringing the death of the Afghanistan I knew”
– Colloquialism – Assef’s insults were far from being formal.
– First person stream of conscious: “But he’s not my friend!…Of course I hadn’t. I hadn’t” – Cowardice?
– Inner thoughts
– End of the chapter foreshadows more serious problems.
– Non-chronological – The narrator tends to narrate the current affairs and then mention a part of the past, as a flashback.
– Unreliable narrator: Amir’s character is highly ambigiuous, e.g., privileged but weak? Has affection for Hassan but simultaneously experiences embarrassment when among his presence?
– “rapid staccato of gunfire”
– “I don’t want them to send me and Father away”
– “How is Babalu?”
– “Hitler..A great leader. A man with vision”
– “pollute our homeland”
– “dirty, kaseef Hazaras”
– “I wished I too had some kind of scar that would beget Baba’s sympathy”
– Unjust war which affects the innocents.
– Dislike for diversity.
– Change in season, Winter – The season for kite flying.
– Only those children whose parents had signed them up for extra classes had to go to school
– Winter season brought great happiness and excitement.
– Kite fighting tournaments, districts in Kabul competed against each other. – Accepted tradition
– Amir and Hassan built their own kites.
– Whenever Amir went back to school, the children would compare their battle scars.
– Saifo’s – A place to buy kites.
– Amir v Hassan – Baba would buy kites for both of them.
– Differences brought about by culture – Hindi boy claimed that such tournaments require certain regulations.
– Custom: Catch the kites which had been cut.
– Last fallen kite – Greatest honour.
– Hassan possessed great kite fighting and kite catching abilities.
– Amir commodifies kite fighting as a way to earn his father’s love.
– Formed his own motive.
– Hassan claimed to love his home.
Themes: Commodification, tradition, opposition, contentment, positive conflict, pride, honour
– Metaphor – kite fighting as a battle where the kite itself is the weapon.
– Hyperbole – Kite fighting and its significance, especially when read by individuals from cultures which don’t hold kite fighting in such great esteem.
– Rhetorical question, inner thoughts: “Didn’t he have a right to expect the same from his son?”
– Flashbacks – Further emphasise how kite fighting was a maintained and well respected tradition.
– “Winter was every kid’s favourite season in Kabul”
-“As with any war, you had to ready yourself for battle”
-“compare our battle scars on the first day of school”
– “Wished he’s let me be his favourite”
– “Show him once and for all that his son was worthy”
– “I wasn’t going to fail Baba”
– “people around the world couldn’t even find Afghanistan on a world map”
– ” I like where I like..It’s my home.” – Hassan
– Stereotypes that Afghanistan has always been a land of restrictions.
– Stereotypes that Afghanistan doesn’t have a rich history and it has always been war-torn.
– Hassan’s dream about monsters – reveals his imagination and intellect.
– Happiness in Afghanistan – snowballs, revolutionized Afghan music.
– Amir, still confused about God.
– Kite fighting tournament – tense.
– Amir won – He didn’t just win the tournament, he earned a more worthy place in his father’s heart.
– Hassan went to go and catch the blue kite for Amir.
– Amir went to search for him.
– Alley – Assef, Kamal and Wali.
– Assef taunts Hassan for being without his usual weapon of self-defence.
– Claims that his forgiveness depends on Hassan giving over the kite.
– Hassan refuses and throws a rock at Assef’s head, Assef pushes him to the ground.
– Flashback to a memory: Reminder that Hassan and Amir fed from the same breast. (This memory may have been strategically placed in between the part where Hassan is thrown onto the floor and the rape scene to remind the reader that Amir and Hassan have always been physically and emotionally close – This makes the reader more angry at Amir’s passiveness.
– Rape scene: Assef rapes Hassan whilst his sidekicks pinned him down.
– Quick transition to Eid – sacrifice of animals.
– Rape scene: Amir runs out of cowardice, meets Hassan with the kite in his hands, Amir is confused regarding whether Hassan knew of his witnessing, Hassan just said that they should go back home as Baba would worry.
– Baba congratulated Amir and praised him with love.
Themes: Achievement, discrimination, torture, rape, voicelessness, powerlessness, cowardice, power of knowledge, passiveness, resistance, cruelty, bullying.
– Sexually explicit – “lifted his bare buttocks”
– Animalistic language – “look of the lamb” “disrespectful donkey”
– Leitmotif – Guilt, replaying of events, re-evaluation of his actions.
– Non-chronological: Hassan’s intimidation scene was interrupted by an account of their physical closeness. The rape scene was interrupted by an account of a sacrificial ritual. His time for guilt was interrupted by Baba’s praise. Amir was unable to reflect = disjointed state of mind.
– “seeing Baba on the roof, proud of me at last”
– “loyal as a dog”
– “Did you know Hassan and you fed from the same breast?”
– “teaching a lesson to a disrespectful donkey”
– “Dropped his underwear”
– “I ran because I was a coward”
– “In his arms, I forgot what I’d done. And that was good”.
– Bullies who are never noticed.
– Lack of attention on male rape
– Hassan still did his jobs and fulfilled his duties, but he hid from Amir.
– Ali worries for Hassan, questions Amir about him observing any changes, Amir gives an unhelpful response.
– Jalalabad trip approved by Baba (Ongoing rewards for Amir) – Amir desired for it to be an intimate father-son trip, it was in fact, a group trip.
( Cousins and relatives)
– Baba bragged about his son’s achievement.
– Amir felt car sickness – puked on his cousin’s dress.
– Nausea – formed an image in his mind – Hassan’s rape.
– The guilt was increasing.
– Disintegration between Amir and Hassan’s relationship – communication was non-existent.
– Hassan attempted to re-build the friendship – Amir replied with annoyance.
– Amir’s main aim: Avoidance.
– Amir questioned Baba regarding new servants, Baba replied in disappointment.
– Amir ordered Hassan to hit him – Hassan did not do it.
– Amir’s birthday party.
– Assef was there – invited Amir to join in the volleyball game, Amir declined + threw the Hitler autobiography away.
– Rahim Khan recalls his marriage with a Hazara – ended in her moving away to Hazarajat.
– Rahim Khan gifted him a writing book.
Themes: Avoidance, guilt, intimidation, vulnerability, anger, hate, annoyance, powerlessness, innocence, purity.
-Leitmotif – rape.
– Light/Dark – “mercifully, darkness” – Amir was more comfortable in the dark – A time for reflection and desired loneliness.
– Symbolism: Harmless monster in Hassan’s dreams was real.
– Unreliable narrator: Disjointed state of mind, are his consequent recalls unreliable?
– “It should have been just the two of us”
– “I was just telling everyone about the tournament”
– “I watched Hassan get raped. I said to noone”
– “I want you to go away”
– “have you ever thought about getting new servants?”
– “In one of those brief bursts of light, I saw something I’ll never forget….Assef grinning, kneading Hassan in the chest with a knuckle”
– Commodified love.
– The norm that being around lots of people who know you means that you aren’t lonely.
-Amir reflected over his gifts – no real desire for any of them.
– The only gift that earned Amir’s genuine appreciation was Rahim Khan’s notepad.
– Ali gave his gift – a newer copy of Shahnamah. It just reminded Amir of the dreaded memory.
– Amir’s deception: He took some cash and the watch ( a gift), put it in Hassan’s house and lied to his father by announcing the items as missing.
– Hassan admitted that he stole the items.
– Despite Baba’s claim to forgive them, Ali announced his and his son’s leave.
– Baba experienced an utmost upset and cried when he dropped them off to the station.
– Rain – symbol of their distress.
Themes: Distress, social class, materialism, deception, manipulation, selfishness, powerlessness, loyalty.
Pathetic fallacy: “Rain” reflective of their distress. Reflects tears.
Narrative gaps – Why was Baba so upset over their departure? Weren’t the Hazaras just his servants?
– Flashback to when Baba said that the biggest sin was theft – Maybe this shows thatBaba’s character was unpredictable, it possessed many depths.
– “it was all blood money”
– “Hassan said your copy was all old and ragged”
– “I forgive you”
– “You’re the brother I never had, Ali”
– “Fathers weren’t supposed to cry”
– “But it rained the afternoon that Baba took Ali and Hassan to the bus station”
– Expectation that materialistic goods indicate one’s happiness.
– Rebelling against theft as a whole, especially since the unfair accusation upon Hassan would anger the reader.
– Baba and Amir’s trip to Pakistan, in order to seek refuge. They had to leave Kabul as it was heavily occupied by the Russians (Shorawi)
– In a van, Karim is the driver. (people smuggler)
– Amir experienced car sickness and Baba was again, ashamed.
– Kabul had become a corrupt place where nobody could be trusted.
– Kabul had become divided into 2 groups: Those who eavesdropped and those who didn’t.
– Those who complained about any of the rulings set by the Russians, would be threatened by the Kalashnikov (Russian weapon).
– During their journey, they heard Russian fighter aircrafts (MiG) rush above their heads.
– Conflict between the Russian soldier and Baba as the soldier claimed that he was to have sex with a lady on the bus, as her price for being smuggled.
– Baba was also angry as Karim has now admitted that his brother’s truck was still broken – physical fight.
– They lived in a dark, dimly lit room (basement)
– Shift from the basement -> Karim’s cousin’s fuel truck.
– Inhabitable conditions.
– Arrival = Peshawar.
– Kamal died and Kamal’s father, consequently, committed suicide by shooting himself in the mouth.
– Everybody else had no choice but to continue on.
Themes: Conflict, refuge, fear, division, secrecy, trust, loyalty, hopelessness, corrupt resolution, position of women, patriarchy.
– First person stream of consciousness – When Amir was describing how he dealt with the basement and the fuel tank, his description was unruly, reflective of the event itself. The immediate description – capitalisation “NOW”
– Non-chronological: Prior to the beginning of the chapter, the reader has just been made aware of the departure of the Hazaras. The beginning of this chapter presented Baba and Amir as travelling. The story doesn’t follow the natural order of time – skips events to increase reader confusion.
– Narrative gaps.
– Unjust subservience of women, for the benefit of men.
– Political take-over of one’s country, with the intention of spreading an ideology.
– Arrival to America
– Transition to Western life
-Baba’s admiration for Ronald Reagan, “The Evil Empire”
-Conflicting culture – shop – When Baba was asked to show some ID, he was shocked and offended because in Afghanistan, he was used to being trusted and well-known.
– Baba was still a heavy labourer and his own earner of wealth – He worked in a gas station in America.
– He did not want to accept financial help in the form of food stamps.
– Amir had graduated from college
– Baba surprised Amir with a new car.
– Amir announced that he wanted to major in English – Baba expressed disapproval.
– Amir loved America.
– Afghan flea market.
– Amir’s introduction to General Taheri
– General Taheri introduces Soraya to Baba and Amir
– Baba says to Amir that she has had no suitors.
– Amir spends the whole day admiring her, despite only briefly seeing her.
Themes: Conflicting cultures and ideologies, materialism, change, conformity, erosion of identity.
– Colloquialism: “F*ck the Russia”
– Metaphor: “America was a river, roaring along, unmindful of the past”
– Narrative gaps brought by the skip in time: Pakistan –> America. The omission of information increases the pace of the novel = Emphasises Amir and Baba’s instability, following the Russian interference.
– “Does he think I’m a thief?”
– “No questions. No ID.”
– “It was a Grand Torino”
– “My heart stuttered at the thought of her. Soraya Taheri..”
– The expectation that a change in environment results in a change in stability, immediately.
– Rebels against the lazy stereotype branded upon immigrants
– Brings attention onto the importance of honour, especially to an Afghani female.
– Mention of his past with Hassan – yelda (first night of winter)
– Mention of his current situation and his current view of yelda – in reference to Soraya causing every night to be the longest night ever.
– Flea market – Amir would come up with any excuse in order for him to be able to walk past Soraya’s stall.
– Soraya and Amir, awkward encounters when Amir claimed to be seeking her father.
– Eventually, they both talked about their mutual love for books and he promised to one day, present to her one of his.
– Soraya wanted to be a teacher following her experience with a woman who she helped to make her literate.
– General Taheri warned Amir that many people are storytellers so he implicitly told Amir to back off.
– Baba presented cold-like symptoms. Amir took him to the doctors.
– When Baba found out that one of his doctors was Russian, he became angry and eventually, was treated by another Iranian doctor.
– Baba was diagnosed with a type of cancer and declared that he didn’t want the treatment, to which Amir challenged his proposal.
– Flea market: Baba collapsed.
– In the hospital, Baba had many visitors. But, Amir was only made more comfortable by the presence of Soraya.
– Amir told Baba to ask General Taheri for his daughter’s hand. Baba arranged a visit.
– The proposal was accepted.
– Soraya revealed to Amir a part of her past: She had a lover and once her father found out, he was hysterical. Her mother’s shock caused her to have a stroke.
– Soraya’s honesty was nothing like Amir’s secrecy.
Themes: Honour, independence, love, affection, marriage, companionship, honesty, shame.
– Possible narrative gaps – How did Amir and Soraya fall in love so quickly?
– Rites of passage novel: His view of yelda had changed from childhood to adulthood as he was more exposed to real emotion.
– “After I met Soraya Taheri, every night of the week became a yelda for me”
– “I invented excuses to walk down the aisle”
– “even decent boys need reminding sometimes..everyone here is a storyteller”
– “I don’t care where he was born, he’s Roussi”
– I’m here. Your son is right here.”
– “I want you to ask General Taheri for his daughter’s hand.”
– ..”Soraya Taheri was a better person than me. Courage was just one of them.”
– Typical Middle Eastern views on love.
– Generalisation – When Dr. Schneider was falsely accused of being something that he wasn’t, the reader may have felt anger or even shame.
– Women are always inferior – Soraya dominated Amir’s attention.
– The ceremony of “giving word” – Amir went to General Taheri’s house and Soraya could not be present.
– Soraya entered.
1) Engagement Party – Shirini – khori (Eating of the sweets ceremony).
2) Wedding ceremony.
3) Nika – the swearing ceremony.
4) Ayena Massah – Throw a fabric over the heads and let them see each other’s reflections in the mirrors.
– Parties and celebrations, parallel to traditions.
– Soraya moved in with Baba and Amir.
– Baba passed away in his sleep.
– Funeral at the mosque where everybody praised Baba for what he contributed to their lives.
– Amir soon learnt everything about the Taheris, e.g., how General Taheri’s migrains would cause him to isolate himself in his room until the pain subsided.
– Amir and Soraya moved into their own home.
– Amir got a security job and Soraya worked as a teacher.
– Amir was offered the chance for his novel to be published.
– 1988, the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan but instead of an establishment of peace, the war raged on between the Mujahideen and the government. The Berlin Wall fell down and Afghanistan was a forgotten nation.
– Amir and Soraya found out that she was infertile.
– General Taheri disapproved the thought of adoption.
– There was an emptiness within the relationship, even when the couple moved to a new apartment.
Themes: Traditions, customs, marriage, death, political conflict, abuse of power, inability to leave a legacy, culture.
– Listing, “..smell her hair. Kiss her. Make love to her.”
– Financial semantic field – When people were offering their condolences.
– Use of ellipses during Baba’s speech (marriage) – pitiful that the time that Amir can finally receive true public praise from Baba, Baba is unable to speak.
– First person plural epistolary – A note written by General Taheri when he gifted the Amir a typewriter.
– “Soraya dedicated herself to taking care of my father.”
– “There is no pain tonight”
– “Baba couldn’t show me the way anymore.”
– Soraya pulled me to her and the tears finally came.” – Reversal of gender roles?
– “In the midst of it all, Afghanistan was forgotten.”
– “adoption thing..I’m not sure its for us Afghans.”
– “Blood is a powerful thing.”
– “could almost feel the emptiness in Soraya’s womb.”
– “Sleeping between us. Like a newborn child.”
– Responsibilities: Men v women. “They’re just men having fun.”
– Against double standards.
– Against gender stereotypes.
– Middle Eastern expectations – Lawyers, doctors.
– Skip of 10 years.
– Amir claims that he needs to go back to Pakistan alone due to Rahim Khan being ill.
– Rahim Khan knew about Amir’s past and phoned him: “There is a way to be good again.”
– Reminder of his past again.
– Travelled to Pakistan.
Themes: Redemption, power of the past, reflection, Hassan has the power.
– Rahim Khan’s statements – italic: Almost as if his speech was circulating in Amir’s mind.
– Non chronological: Throwback to Hassan’s speech. “For you, a thousand times over.”
– This chapter is reflective. Its positioning after the marriage and the funeral is effective as the reader’s exposure to Amir’s past would’ve extinguished.
-Beginning of the Bildungsroman: Moral development.
– “I have to go to Pakistan.”
– “Rahim Khan is very sick.”
– “There is a way to be good again.”
– “..dreamed of Hassan running in the snow.”
– “For you, a thousand times over!”
– Mistakes can’t be redeemed.
– Against the fantasy that marriage is perfect and aesthetic.
– Amir arrived in Pakistan and his driver spoke about the country in negative terms.
– He found Rahim Khan, who looked as if he had physically deteriorated.
– Rahim Khan and Amir reflected on each other’s lives.
– Rahim Khan told Amir about the extent of the Taliban’s control, e.g., sports players weren’t allowed to wear shorts.
– Amir found out that the Taliban had destroyed the orphanage.
-Rahim Khan admitted that he hasn’t got long left. Despite Amir Khan’s offer to take him to America, Rahim Khan refused.
– Rahim Khan’s conversation turned to his own past. He said that he was living in Amir’s old house in the Wazir Akbar district with Hassan.
– Rahim Khan was ready to talk about his past and Hassan’s pasts and outcomes, before he asks Amir for a favour.
Themes: Power of the past, suppression, knowledge.
-Explicit, potentially hyperbolic description of Rahim Khan.
– Rites of Passage Novel: As Rahim Khan finds out so much about Amir’s current character, the reader is also exposed to the fact that Amir is no longer a child. In fact, the narrative gaps and Hosseini’s deviation from the natural time order contributes to the fast development of Amir’s age and his disposition too.
– “..a thing made of skin and bones pretending to be Rahim Khan opened the door.”
– “They don’t let you be human.”
– “Kabul was my home. It still is.”
– “Peace at last. But at what price?” (Taliban)
– “I’m going to ask you to do something for me.”
– “I want to tell you about Hassan.”
– Against false hope.
– The Taliban and their enforcement of unnecessary restrictions.
– Rahim Khan is narrating his past
– Kabul was deteriorating and he didn’t know anybody as they had all fled or had been killed by the Roussi soldiers.
– His arthritis made it difficult for him to maintain the house (The house that Amir had lived in).
– He went to Hazarajat to find Ali and Hassan.
– He found Hassan, near a mud shack.
– He got an affectionate welcome.
– He met Hassan’s pregnant wife, Farzana Jan.
– Ali had been killed by a land mine, 2 years ago.
– When Rahim Khan first introduced the idea of Ali moving back to Kabul, he refused as he said that he was settled in his own home.
– Hassan had so many questions for Rahim Khan about Amir.
– When Hassan found out about the death of Baba, he burst into tears. – explicit sadness.
– Rahim Khan spent the night and Hassan sobbing.
– Hassan had changed his mind, claiming he didn’t have much in Bamiyan anyways, and so he went back to Kabul with Rahim.
– Hassan and his wife moved back into the mud hut, claiming it would’ve been disrespectful for them to move into the big house.
– Hassan and his wife maintained the house.
– Farzana jan gave birth to a stillborn – She wouldn’t stop wailing.
– Farzana Jan became pregnant again.
– Detereorating lady with a blue burqa arrived at the house, looking for Hassan – she was Sanaubar.
– Hassan ran away, out of shock.
– Eventually he returned, and accepted her.
– They nursed her back to health and she helped to deliver Farzana’s baby. – Sohrab
– Died in her sleep.
– 1995: Russian soldiers had all withdrew, Mujahideen had full control.
– Sohrab was just a good kite fighter like his father.
– False hope – Taliban – Banned everything and killed the Hazaras.
Themes: Restoration, Powerlessness, forgiveness, legacy, abuse of power, false optimism.
– Explicit imagery – Description of the fighting and the violence of the Mujahideen, “men digging bodies out of piles of rubble.”
Description of Sanuabar – “…not spared her left eye on the way.”
– The only change in narrator: Rahim Khan. He was the only character with the ability to speak of Hassan’s story. Amir’s ignorance to the matter meant that he was unfit to be the storyteller.
– “Everybody had fled.”
– “I had to make him stop kissing my hands.”
– “..had been killed by a land mine two years before…Is there a more Afghan way of dying..?”
– “We don’t have that much to drop, Rahim Khan.”
– “…that I have assumed his place in the house?”
– “…the Taliban banned kite fighting”
– “massacred the Hazaras..”
-Undermining the effects of loneliness.
– Against the idea that no poor person can be generous, just selfish.
– Against the idea that all enemies are obvious and can be spotted without inference.
– Rebels against the fixed view of motherhood
– Rahim Khan’s account of the past triggered Amir’s feelings of guilt and self-reflection.
– Rahim Khan handed Amir a polaroid picture of Hassan and his son, as well as letters from Hassan, addressed to him.
– Letters: State of Afghanistan, the control of the Taliban – able to hit women for speaking too loudly, his fatherhood experiences, his gratefulness for being alive, Rahim Khan’s illnesses, his wishes for the restoration of Kabul.
– Taliban had interrogated Hassan for his living in the house.Hassan’s defense caused him and consequently his upset wife to be killed.
– Amir self-reflected on his past and how most of those people were either dead or dying.
– Rahim Khan announced the favour that he required from Amir: The retrieval of Sohrab and his admission to an orphanage in Peshawar, run by the Cadwells.
– Amir refused and protested against it, arguing that Rahim Khan or himself should pay someone else to go.
– A shocking revelation from Rahim Khan – Sanaubar wasn’t Ali’s first wife, Ali was sterile and so Baba was Hassan’s father and consequently Amir’s half brother.
– Amir, out of anger, stormed out of the room, overwhelmed by the revelation that his life was a “lie.”
Themes: Unfairness, abuse of power, corruption, source of redemption, resistance, erosion of identity, secrecy, manipulation, manipulation, loyalty.
– Hyperbolic simile to emphasise Amir’s shock and powerlessness, “like a man sliding down a steep cliff, clutching at shrubs…”
– Curse words, emphasise Amir’s anger and remind the reader of his Western identity – “Bastards…..f*cking lie!”
– Narrator was no longer Rahim Khan.
– First person Plural Epistolary – When letters are read and sent from different characters. (Letters sent from Hassan).
– Fast paced speech, usually Amir replied with monosyllabic words, “No” – Fast pace = reflects the action itself (The death of Hassan and his wife.)
– Narrative gaps – The reader is bound to have questions.
– “..hit her on the thighs…does not allow women to speak so loudly.”
– “I am a very proud and a very lucky father.”
– “shot him in the back of the head.”
– “Why me? Why can’t you pay someone else to go?”
– “Ali was sterile.”
– “I’ve just found out my whole life is one big f*cking lie!”
– Against living in ignorance as humans are inferior to the pace and continuity of time.
– Uses Hassan’s kind and innocent nature rebel against the Taliban’s abuse of power.
– Rebelling against secrecy, especially domestic secrecy, with the underlying intention to maintain reputations.
– Amir left Rahim Khan’s house – to reflect on what he had just found out.
– It had started to make sense: Baba’s affection for Hassan and his disapproval of them leaving him.
– Amir’s view on his father was deterioriating as his anger towards such betrayal was overwhelming his state of mind.
– Amir, after reflecting on his impact on Hassan’s life and the collateral damage inflicted upon Hassan’s life which began with himself, accepted Rahim Khan’s request.
Themes: Reflection, lies, secrecy, manipulation, truth, collateral damage, unfairness, social class, redemption, hypocrisy, reputation.
– Rhetorical questions – Emphasises his loneliness in the matter, “How could I have been so blind?”
– Listing – Series of specification, personalisation of the orphan, Amir’s increasing clarity – “With a little boy. An orphan. Hassan’s son.”
– Inner thoughts, italics – “you steal someone’s right to the truth” – He is thinking of his past, in order to connect events to his present.
– Non-chronological – Ideas of his past and current life, all mixed up. The disjointed structure reflects on Amir’s disjointed mind and his disjointed family.
– “I felt like a man who had awakens in his own house and finds all the furniture rearranged.”
– “I swooped and tightened it. I wished I could fix my own life just as easily.”
– “I was learning that Baba had been a thief…Hassan his identity, and from Ali his honour”
– “..like father, like son.”
– “I wished he had let me live on in my oblivion.”
– “He was gone now, but a little part of him lived on. It was in Kabul.”
“I’ll pray for you, Amir Jan…”
– Against dishonour and hypocrisy
– Amir was travelling to Peshawar
– His driver was called Farid – Amir still experienced car sickness.
– Amir was shocked to see such extreme poverty.
– Farid mocked Amir about his Western life. When Amir admitted that he grew up in Afghanistan but Farid mocked him by saying that he probably lived in a fancy house with many privileges.
– Amir was invited into Farid’s home.
– Farid continued to assume Amir’s intentions for returning back to Afghanistan – materialistic motives. Whilst Wahid attempted to be friendly with Amir, for example, he conversed with him about his writing career.
– Farid was embarrassed once he found out Amir’s feel intentions for returning to his corrupt homeland – Retrieval of his illegitimate half-brother’s legacy.
– Farid’s family – great civility – offered a feast.
– Flashback to Hassan’s death.
– Amir later overheard the family worrying about the next meal.
– He had then realised that the children were not staring at his watch, but rather at the food.
– This pitiful knowledge caused Amir to put money under the mattress, just how he did under Hassan’s mattress.
Themes: Ignorance, resolution, redemption, poverty, unfairness.
– Inner dream, inner voice – “I am the man in the herringbone vest.”
– Bildungsroman – Moral development. He had turned from an ignorant, manipulative boy to a non-oblivious, generous man. Transformation of intentions. For example, during his childhood, he used his wealth to frame the Hazaras but in his adulthood, he used his wealth to genuinely help the less fortunate.
– “signs of poverty were everywhere.”
– “I feel like a tourist in my own country.”
– “You probably lived in a big two-or three- story house…you had servants…”
– “You’ve always been a servant here, you just didn’t know it.”
– “Why are you coming back here anyway? Sell of your Baba’s land?”
– “Maybe you should write about Afghanistan again”
– “You are an honourable man, Amir Agha…..I cringed inside.”
– “Only the Taliban can afford meat now.”
– “..standing on the soil of my ancestors.”
– “They hadn’t been staring at the watch at all. They’d been staring at my food.”
– “I had done twenty-six years earlier..crumpled money under a mattress.”
– Amir’s initial ignorance to the children’s hunger can apply to a widespread ignorance regarding the extent of poverty and scarcity.
– Rebelling against the class system.
– Against poverty by using innocent children as the victims.
– Farid and Amir continued their journey and Amir witnessed all types of destruction, burned down, charred village.
– Farid warned Amir that Kabul was not how he may have imagined it to be.
– Police infested, overwhelmed by beggars.
– No trees, as the trees were used for firewood and once allowed for snipers to hide among.
– Baba’s orphanage was no longer.
– The smell of diesel replaced the smell of kabob.
– First time that Amir witnessed the Taliban – Farid warned him to not look at them.
– A begger claimed to know Amir’s mother, Sofia Akrami.
– Arrived at the orphanage, initially the man claimed to not recognise Sohrab from the picture. Once the man was assured that they were not from the Taliban, he let them in and said that Sohrab was great with the slingshot.
– Zaman invited them into his office
– Claimed that it might be too late to get Sohrab – the Taliban exchanges money for children.
– Farid and Zaman = Physical conflict.
– Zaman pleads his helplessness, – Put all of his savings into the production and maintenance of the orphanage.
– Said that Sohrab was taken by a Taliban official, who would be at the Ghazi Stadium the following day.
Themes: Powerlessness, helplessness, compromise, exploitation.
– Repetition, “I’m killing him” – A way to express Farid’s anger towards Zaman’s exchanges. Also a way for Hosseini to use Farid as a tool, to voice his own protest against such exploitation.
Bildungsroman – Moral development. Amir finally intervened and prevented more severe violence – “The children are watching.” Was this change due to Amir’s adult mindset or was it due to Amir’s past guilt teaching him a lesson about defense?
– “Don’t ever stare at them..”
– “The first time you saw a Talib.”
– “Please open the door.” – Contrasts to the times where he would shut Hassan out of his life.
– “You’re selling children.”
– “He took Sohrab a month ago”
– “…take his godd*mn filthy…dirty money.”
– “I saw he had put on his broken glasses”
– Against child exploitation.
– They went to Amir’s old house, which was now made habitable by Taliban members.
– Amir desired to reflect on his past, using the house as a cue to unlock all the memories.
– E.g, the times where Amir and Hassan would climb up hills to watch the airplanes take off
– They paid to stay in a hotel, they were overcharged, only because the owner needed to feed his kids.
– Traveled to the Ghazi stadium.
– Public punishing of a man and lady by the Kalashnikov bearing Talibs. – Crime: Adultery.
– Public ritual which began with a focus on God and supposed Islamic principles.
– Stoned to death and thrown in a truck.
– Meeting arranged with the Talib, who looked like John Lennon and freely embraced the Western appearance.
Themes: Reflection, memories, Religion, abuse of power, misinterpretation, crafted ideology, opinion, violence, punishment, hypocrisy.
– Hyperbolic expression of Assef’s power – “arms spread like Jesus.” – Emphasises the extent to which the Taliban were powerful.
– Language used during the ritual is heavily ironic – Motive is claimed to be for the love of God but ironically, the actions directly oppose the religion’s teachings. “What does GOD say?….hurled the stone at the blindfolded man.”
– Humour – Mullah Nasruddin jokes.
– Inner thoughts to show what memories Amir is experiencing (Flashbacks- “We are Hassan and Amir, famed adventurers..”
– Capitalisation – WHAT DOES GOD SAY? – 1) Signifies the volume of speech. 2) Emphasises Hosseini’s protests.
– “Haggling over the leg…Feed your kids for a couple of weeks.”
– “Exploitation to finance a beach house in Hawaii was one thing. Doing it to feed your kids was another.”
– “You come all the way from America…for a Shi’a?”
– “A chubby, white-bearded cleric”
– “Those are the words of GOD!”
– “The Talib in the John Lennon glasses”
– “The crowd moaned.”
– “covering up the blood stains by kicking dirt over them”.
– Lives are disposable.
– Using religion as a justification for undeserving violence.
– Rebel against the intentions of the Taliban.
– Arrive at a house in the Wazir Akbar Khan district.
– Amir was very nervous.
– Eventually, a Talib with John Lennon glasses entered the room.
– The Talib bragged about his past massacres.
– Sohrab entered, dancing. The Talib inappropriately touched him, like a doll.
– After the Talib questioned the welfare of Babalu, Amir soon realised his true identity: Assef.
– Assef talked about his past experience in prison and the abuse he experienced from a half Hazara commander.
– Assef admitted his desire for ethnic cleansing.
– Assef claimed that before Amir could leave with Sohrab, he needed to complete some unfinished business.
– Assef beat up Amir. Eventually, Amir began laughing. He felt healed and the pain felt deserving.
– Sohrab threatened Assef with a slingshot, in the hope that he would stop.
– He shot the slingshot, and the stone hit Assef in the eye – One eyed Assef.
– Amir, battered and bruised, took Sohrab and himself out of the house and with the aid of Farid, into the truck.
– Amir then passed out.
Themes: Religion, abuse of power, corrupt justifications, Agenda, Powerlessness, exploitation, perversion, hypocrisy, violence, freedom.
– Juxtaposition – Big house among a war zone.
– Irony – Religious justification v real action – “gun around the room….kissed the prayer beads.”
– Explicit description of violence – “pain ripping through my belly.”
– Metaphor: “Afghanistan is like a beautiful mansion littered with garbage.”
– “Sat with my sweaty hands on my knees.”
– “hands slid down the child’s back.”
– “around Sohrab’s belly.”
– “I never forget a face.”
– “I had an epiphany…in jail.”
– “Stoning adulterers? Raping children? Flogging women for wearing high heels? Massacring Hazaras? All in the name of Islam?
– “Ethnic cleansing. I like it.”
– “We have some unfinished business.”
– “The knuckles shattering my jaw.”
– “WHATS SO FUNNY?”
– “Healed at last.I laughed.”
– “put his hand where his left eye had been just a moment ago.”
– “…I passed out.”
– Against dictatorship
– Selfish views on liberation.
– Amir is in hospital
– Highly confused – Loss of memory, loss of clarity – continuous fading out of consciousness.
– Post surgical state.
– List of damages to his body, including a cut to his lip, just like Hassan and the slip of the doll-maker.
– Amir thanked Sohrab for saving his life.
– Letter from Rahim Khan, who had left his home. – Welfare of Amir, announcement of his knowing of the rape, requesting of Amir to view his father in a bad light, he had no choice but to take out all hi emotions on his socially legitimate half.
– Farid announced to Amir that as soon he was able to walk, they had to move to Peshawar: To be safe from the angry and revengeful Talibs.
– Sohrab and Amir played a card game together and talked about Hassan.
– Amir left the hospital, despite not being fully nursed back to health.
– Farid – The Cadwells were not at Peshawar. In fact, they were non-existent.
– They picked up Rahim Khan’s money from the cash deposit box at the bank and then travelled to Islamabad instead.
– Car journey, reflected on his wife, the rape, Soraya’s infertility and the source of his redemption journey.
Themes: Deterioriation, secrecy, manipulation, helplessness.
– First person plural epistolary – Letter from Rahim Khan.
– Paragraphs ending in “I fade out” – 1) Extent of injuries. 2) Disjointed state of mind – switching memories, no stability.
– “I keep fading in and out.”
– “cut your upper lip in two…there will be a scar. Unavoidable.”
– “true redemption is, Amir Jan, when guilt leads to good.”
– “I leave you in the hands of God.”
– “I don’t think you’ll be safe here for long.”
– “There was never a John and Betty Caldwell in Peshawar.”
– Surveillance of the Taliban.
– Arrival to Islamabad, booking of a hotel.
– The departure of Farid, after he was paid 2,000 dollars.
– In the morning, Sohrab’s bed was empty. Amir thought to dry the big mosque and was driven there by the hotel-keeper, who pitied his situation as he was a father himself.
– Retrieval and Sohrab.
– Amir gave Sohrab the polaroid picture, so he would never forget his real father’s face.
– Sohrab accepted Amir’s request – Live in America.
– Soraya called and Amir told her everything, including his will to adopt Sohrab.
– American embassy in Islamabad, Raymond Andrews.
– He told Amir to drop his case as Sohrab wasn’t officially declared an orphan – his mother and father were without death certificates.
– Referral to Omar Faisal Khan, a good Immigration lawyer.
– Communicated with Soraya about the current situation, – Afghan lawyers, INS adoptions, intenational adoptions.
– Again, Omar Faisal Khan reiterated the need for death certificates. The best bet: Register him into an orphanage and contact an adoption agency.
– Amir told Sohrab about the orphanage, Sohrab was upset as Amir promised him that he wouldn’t send him back to one of those places.
– Soraya called – Nearly definite that a humanitarian visa could be granted.
– Amir cried out in happiness, looking for Sohrab. Sohrab was in the bath
Themes: Legacy, hopelessness, corruption, formality v necessity, time, desperation, suicide.
– Pathetic fallacy, foreshadow a damaging event, – “the sky was a deep black.” Black, connotations of death.
– End of the chapter, narrative gaps – It wasn’t made explicit that Sohrab had died or if he was successful at committing suicide.
– “I will drive you because I am a father like you.”
– “I’m starting to forget their faces.”
– “I’m so dirty and full of sin.”
– “Would you like to come to America to live with me and my wife?”
– “….we weren’t supposed to be brothers.”
– “I don’t want to go to another orphanage….I won’t ever let that happen. I promise you that.”
– “Death certificates? This is Afghanistan we’re talking about.”
– “The boy has to b declared a legal orphan.”
– “It’s a dangerous business.Making promises to kids.”
– “I’m scared of that place. They’ll hurt me! I don’t want to go.”
– “…we’ll serve as the sponsors…plenty of time to apply for an adoption petition.”
– “Screaming until I thought my throat would rip and my chest explode.”
– Society’s status-quo – Division of casts.
– Restrictions brought about by man-made systems, prohibiting natural actions.
– Positive stereotypes associated with orphanages by showing Sohrab’s protests.
– Amir prayed, for the first time in a long time.
– Amir falls asleep.
– As Amir was considering all of his options, religious and non-religious, the doctor announced that Sohrab was living.
– Sohrab didn’t respond. Silence.
– Amir read to him, Shahnamah.
– Sohrab declared that he desired for his old life back – Sasa, father and mother.
– As Amir said that he was unable to restore Sohrab’s old life, Sohrab announced that he wished that he was left in the water.
– Traveled to America.
– Met with Soraya
– Sohrab had his own room.
– Sohrab met with the rest of the family.
– Sohrab remained in a self-imposed silence.
– The couple had big plans for Sohrab, but Sohrab’s silence suggested differently.
– Destruction of the twin towers, 9th Jan, 2001.
– New year also began with silence.
– Outing to a park in Fremont.
– Kite flying.
– Amir attempted to engage Sohrab with the sport.
– Worked together to cut down other kites, Sohrab smiled slightly.
– Amir ran, physically and emotionally, he wasn’t stuck with a recurring image and the feeling of doubt.
Themes: Restrictions, resolution, redemption, progress, achievement.
-Cyclical, “I ran” – Beginning, Sohrab and Amir, running to cut down the kites. The novel begins with kite flying and ends with kite flying. The kite may be a symbol of freedom.
– Narrative gaps, Sohrab’s growing up? His future?
-Bildungsroman – moral development. Selfish and demanding –> Patient.
-Rites of passage novel – He was no longer a child, he was an adult, responsible for a child.
– Fable: Moral lesson – Passiveness is never an option. It leads to collateral damage. Instead, individuals should actively seek a solution.
-Allegory: Amir’s redemption – redemption for his past passiveness. Generalisable: Wider Afghan population – journey towards freedom, reversal of misfortune.
– “…lower my forehead to the ground….there is a God, there always has been.”
– “He is alive.”
– “Again I was met by silence.”
– “Tired of everything.”
– “I want my old life back.”
– “Afghanistan to America., lifting him from the certainty of turmoil and dropping him in the turmoil of uncertainty.”
– “…books sitting unopened…growth chart unmarked.”
– “…the new year began much the same way the last one had ended. In silence.”
– “A smile.”
– “It was only a smile, nothing more. It didn’t make everything alright.”
– “I ran with the wind blowing in my face…I ran.”
– Redemption is the main cure for everything. Ignorance just makes everything worse.