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The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini “ There is a Way To Be Good Again”

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1 The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini “ There is a Way To Be Good Again”

2 About Khaled Hosseini Born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1965, the son of a diplomat and a teacher. Lived in Tehran, Iran, and Paris, France, for parts of his childhood. In 1980, granted political asylum and moved to California. Graduated from high school, college and medical school in California. Practiced medicine and now a writer. The Kite Runner was his first novel, published 2003. Works with the United Nations Refugee Agency, as a goodwill envoy.

3 Influences on The Kite Runner Relationships: Khaled taught Hossein Khan, the family’s Hazara cook to read and write despite the social injustice and racial bias imposed by their society. Memories: Fond recollections of pre-Soviet era childhood in Afghanistan. Literature: Persian stories and poems, characters and themes presented in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. Khaled Hosseini on his Influences

4 Introduction and Background The novel is divided into three main parts: Part I – The novel is set in Afghanistan from the late 1970s to 1981 and the start of the Soviet occupation. Part II – Moves to the Afghan community in Fremont, California from the 1980s to the early 2000s Part II – Returns to contemporary Afghanistan, during the reign of the Taliban.

5 Introduction and Background The Kite Runner is the story of strained family relationships between a father and a son, and between two friends, how they deal with guilt and forgiveness, and how they weather the political and social transformations of Afghanistan from the 1970s to 2001. The Kite Runner opens in 2001. The adult narrator, Amir, lives in San Francisco and is contemplating his past, thinking about a boyhood friend whom he has betrayed.

6 Introduction and Background The action of the story then moves backward in time to the narrator's early life in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he is the only child of a privileged merchant. Amir's closest friend is his playmate and servant Hassan, a poor illiterate boy who is a member of the Hazara ethnic minority. As a young boy, Amir makes a crucial and ultimately fateful decision not to act on behalf of his friend at a key moment in the first section of the novel.  As the protagonist Amir grows to adulthood, he must come to terms with his past wrongs and adjust to a new culture after leaving Afghanistan for the United States.

7 Key Themes Identity and Self-Discovery Throughout the novel, the protagonist struggles to find his true purpose and to forge an identity through noble actions. Amir's failure to stand by his friend at a crucial moment shapes this defining conflict. Much of the novel deals with Amir trying to overcome his own weaknesses.

8 Family, Fathers, and Fatherhood In this novel in which family relationships play a great part, mothers are strikingly absent. Both Amir and Hassan grow up without mothers, and with problematic relationships with the father figures in their lives. Meanwhile, the tension of father-son relationships is exemplified by Baba's treatment of his son Amir, and Hassan, the son of his friend. Some of the key questions the book is asking include: What is the definition of fatherhood? What is the definition of family? What happens to these relationships if they are compromised by secrets or betrayals?

9 Friendship Friendship is a key theme throughout the book. A key question being asked is: What does true friendship look like? Betrayal Betrayal is a key theme in The Kite Runner, where close relationships (including those between Amir and his friend Assan, and Amir and his father, Baba) are significantly altered or destroyed through lies and betrayal. Redemption The novel is in some ways a quest for redemption for Amir; his attempt to atone (make up for) his betrayal of his friend Hassan early in the novel. The novel is asking the question “How can we become good again, when we have sinned?

10 The Immigrant Experience The novel asks several questions by having its protagonists flee Afghanistan for the United States: – What challenges does one face when leaving one culture to enter another? – How does one maintain one’s own culture when one is in a minority in a new land? – Does the immigration experience change who you are? Can you ever truly return back to your “homeland?”

11 Other Themes Power – Who has it? How can it influence how we behave towards others? What can happen politically? Love – Self preservation vs. love of others? Conditional vs. unconditional love? Courage – What constitutes true courage? Social Injustice – What are the consequences of economic, racial and religious prejudice? Are they personal, or political, or both? Coming-of-age - How do we begin to face the complexities of adulthood?

12 Key Symbols Kites Scars (Psychological and Physical) ‏

13 Key Symbols Pomegranate Tree Shahnamah “Rostam and Sorhab”

14 Key Symbols Slingshot Children or Lack of Children (Infertility) ‏

15 Key Symbols Wall of Corn

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