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The Kite Runner and 101 Poems Against War

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1 The Kite Runner and 101 Poems Against War
Some Links: The Kite Runner and 101 Poems Against War

2 Quotes / Events in the kite Runner
Poem(s) it links to Chapter Four – ‘my grandfather ordered the two young men to go to Kandahar at once and enlist in the army for one year’ – reminiscent of the conscription which started in Wilfred Owen’s time, here seen as a punishment. ‘No history, ethnicity, society or religion was going to change that either’ – a statement which quickly becomes untrue as said by Amir early on – reminds us of the ethnic cleansing which took place in ‘Essential Serbo-Croat’. Hassan takes his ‘punishment’ quietly – does not shout out, does not plead for help, unlike Essential Serbo-Croat but with Amir watching it becomes like Dulce watching the man suffer and will come to define him. It’s also like MCMXIV – moving from innocence to sin and ugliness. ‘Never such innocence again’.

3 Quotes / Events in the kite Runner
Poem(s) it links to Early on chapter 5,When Hassan says ‘’Father! What’s that sound?’ and they huddle together, although the fighters are not coming for them personally – yet. similar to ‘O What is that Sound? Later in Chapter 5, Aseef says ‘We are the true Afghans, the pure Afghans, not this flat-nose here. His people pollute our homeland, our watan. They dirty our blood.’ This again would refer to Essential Serbo-Croat, when I first learned the word ‘ethnic cleansing’.

4 Quotes / Events in the kite Runner
Poem(s) it links to Aseef then says ‘Too late for Hitler’ and it was obvious to Auden that Hitler was ‘cleansing Europe’ too – hence his move to America in Aseef’s role model is Hitler and he brings Amir a book for his birthday – ‘a biography of Hitler’ Chapter 25 – ‘One Tuesday morning last September, the Twin Towers came crumbling down and overnight, the world changed. The American flag suddenly appeared everywhere’. Strongly links in with September 1, 1939 and also ‘A Refusal to Mourn’. There is a hardening after the first shock, death, a change which will never hurt as much again.

5 Quotes / Events in the kite Runner
Poem(s) it links to Does ‘Our old life is gone, Sohrab, and everything in it is either dead or dying. It is just you and me now. Just you and me’ link with ‘O What is that Sound?’ At least one of them thinks they will be together – but the pressures of war means one runs off? ‘He is alive’ – absolute opposite to Futility when Sohrab should be dead but is young and would be if ‘his heart hadn’t been young and strong’

6 Quotes / Events in the kite Runner
Poem(s) it links to the fact that Raymond Andrews’ daughter also committed suicide – and Ray is the person who has power to adopt Sohrab. ‘Suicide,’ she whispered. There is a link between Suicide in the Trenches; possibly a Refusal to Mourn as the girl is never mentioned by Ray? ‘There are a lot of children in Afghanistan, but little childhood.’ Children have to grow up quickly in war. To children ardent for some desperate glory, the old Lie

7 Quotes / Events in the kite Runner
Poem(s) it links to Sohrab’s question ‘Will god put me in hell for what I did to that man?’ when he knows the catapult has injured him severely has a religious edge to it, like Dulce where he is burning in fire or lime. The fact that the man they need to see turns out to be Aseef is just like the theme of ‘O What is that Sound’ – shows that, yes, the war is personal and the person wants you; nobody else. The fact that Sohrab stays (unlike the other in the poem) and saves Amir’s life is the opposite to the person running away in the Auden poem. O What is that Sound

8 Quotes / Events in the kite Runner
Poem(s) it links to Aseef likes the sound of ‘Ethnic cleansing’ when he refers to ‘Afghanistan is like a beautiful mansion littered with garbage, and someone has to take out the garbage’ Essential Serbo-Croat

9 Quotes / Events in the kite Runner
Poem(s) it links to The horror of hearing Aseef slaughtering people but enjoying doing so: ‘I’d sweep the barrel of my machine gun around the room until the smoke blinded me….you don’t know the meaning of the word ‘liberating’ until you’ve done that, stood in a room full of targets…free of guilt or remorse, knowing you are virtuous, good and decent. Knowing you’re doing God’s work.’ Links with How to Kill – it is easy to make a ghost; The opposite to: If in some smothering dreams you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin; As Aseef enjoys the killing. In which poems do soldiers or the persona enjoy killing? Which ones think they are doing God’s work? [All chapter 22 with Aseef]

10 Quotes / Events in the kite Runner
Poem(s) it links to Chapter 21 – ‘when the bloodied corpses had been unceremoniously tossed into the backs of red pickup trucks – separate ones’ is directly comparable to Dulce et Decorum Est: see quote above. At the beginning of the chapter, in italics, there is a long statement: ‘We march on the grass and pull the wagon behind us around apple and cherry trees, which become skyscrapers soaring into clouds, heads poking out of thousands of windows to watch the spectacle passing below (September 11). Dulce et Decorum Est September 1, 1939, linking to September 11, 2011.

11 Quotes / Events in the kite Runner
Poem(s) it links to Also in the same paragraph he states ‘We are Hassan and Amir…about to receive a medal of honour for our courageous feat’. This links in with what Owen was trying to tell them it wouldn’t be like in Dulce; with Sassoon getting a medal but throwing it away in disgust with all his friends dying and the terrible waste of life. Chapter 20 – There are fewer trees now as ‘Snipers used to hide in them’. This is similar to How to Kill. It also says ‘the wars had made fathers a rare commodity in Afghanistan’ – similar to a Refusal to Mourn. It also goes against the view in Futility when Farid says ‘sometimes the dead are luckier’. How to Kill A refusal to Mourn Futility

12 Quotes / Events in the kite Runner
Poem(s) it links to Chapter 19: ‘He takes a step back and raises the barrel. Places it on the back of the kneeling man’s head. For a moment, fading sunlight catches in the metal and twinkles. The rifle roars with a deafening crack.’ In this part in italics there is a similarity in How to Kill, except we’ve gone from 1st to 3rd person. Chapter 19 - However, when he realizes he is the man who has pulled the trigger ‘I woke up with a scream trapped in my throat’ is similar to ‘In all my dreams, before my helpless sight’ and ‘smothering dreams’ of Dulce. In chapter eighteen, there is a strong link to MCMXIV: ‘I looked at the face in the polaroid again, the way the sun fell on it’, the way Larkin looks back when he considers the photo in the poem. MCMXIV:

13 Quotes / Events in the kite Runner
Poem(s) it links to In chapter 17, there are many links: He’s looking at the photo where the man appears ‘at ease’ which echoes MCMXIV, a time just before War and times were never the same again. Chapter 17 is when he finds out that he is related to Hassan – ‘A Refusal to Mourn’, although you could argue that after the first death (Hassan’s), Amir is stronger and more determined and nothing affects him in the same way again. MCMXIV A Refusal to mourn

14 Quotes / Events in the kite Runner
Poem(s) it links to Chapter 16 – ‘watching the Communist propaganda on television’ Owen was angry with people like Jessie Pope and the propaganda machine which made war sound good. Aseef being hit in the eye – a triumphantly disgusting moment Dulce – watch the white eyes writhing in his face

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