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The Kite Runner Context

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2 The Kite Runner Context
Author & Book Geography History Culture Religion

3 Author Khaled Hosseini
Born in Kabul, Afghanistan in 1965 In 3rd grade he taught a 31-year-old Hazara man to read and write In 1973 he was in 4th grade when the Afghan king was overthrown

4 Khaled Hosseini His family moved to San Jose, CA, in 1980
He is a medical doctor His first novel was The Kite Runner, which has sold over 3 million copies worldwide

5 Khaled Hosseini His second novel is A Thousand Splendid Suns
It was published in 2007 While The Kite Runner focuses on men, Suns focuses on women

6 Novel Accolades ALA Notable Book Alex Award
Entertainment Weekly's Best Book 2003 San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year 2003

7 What is kite running? A favorite pastime in Afghanistan for over 100 years Two people are involved: one holds the spool; the other holds the string The string is sharp because it is made with razor wire

8 What is kite running? Competitors fight against other kites from around the city The goal is to cut the other kite’s string The kite runner collects the defeated kite that flutters to the ground

9 What is kite running? Kites come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors Under Taliban rule, kite flying was outlawed in Afghanistan Kite running has now resurfaced

10 Afghanistan Geography
A little smaller than Texas Rugged, mountainous terrain Population of 32 million (Texas has a pop. of 23 million) Life expectancy is 43, compared to 78 in the United States

11 Afghanistan Geography
Low literacy rate: 51% for males 21% for females Official languages are Dari and Pashto Form of government: Islamic Republic Predominant religion is Islam (99%)

12 Afghanistan History Was invaded and conquered for years
The Kite Runner begins in 1973, when the army overthrew the monarchy. Daoud Khan declared himself president, but was eventually overthrown by the same army that led him to power. Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979.

13 Afghanistan History A resistance group called the mujahidin (holy strugglers) fought against the socialist, Soviet leaders. The mujahidin was aided by the United States, Saudi Arabia, and other countries. Soviet army withdrew in 1989—ten years after they had invaded. The mujahidin takeover in 1992 resulted in civil war.

14 Afghanistan History In the 1990s the Taliban assumed control and introduced the Islamic law. Battles, ethnic genocide, pillage, famine, and misery followed. After 9/11, the U.S. entered Afghanistan. By November 2001, the Taliban had lost control of Kabul. Since 2001, a new government in Afghanistan has tried to establish itself.

15 Ethnic Groups: Pashtuns
Pashtuns make up 42% of the population Highest ethnicity on the social ladder Dominate government bodies Language is Pashtu Mainly Sunni Muslims


17 Ethnic Groups: Tajiks Tajiks make up 27% of the population
Second largest ethnic group in Afghanistan Live in towns and cities as well as the country


19 Ethnic Groups: Hazaras
Hazaras make up 9% of the population Have Mongolian origins: seen as outsiders Decendents of Genghis Khan’s army? Mainly Shi’ite Muslilms



22 Islam Second largest religion in the world
1.3 billion followers in 2006 Fastest-growing religion in the world Prophet Mohammed received the word of God (Qur’an) during A. D Allah is the name for God in Arabic People who have completed good deeds get to go to heaven

23 Five Pillars of Islam Declaration of Faith Five Daily Prayers
Giving of Charity Ramadan Fasting Pilgrimage to Mecca

24 Islam: Two Sects *Split happened after Mohammed’s death
Sunni Muslims 80% of population Follow the most knowledgeable leader Shi’a Muslims 19% of population Follow the leaders who are blood-related to Mohammed

25 Taliban’s Rules for All
No one can listen to music. No one can watch movies, television, or videos. All Afghan youth must have short hair or be subject to forced haircuts. All Afghans must attend prayers in mosques five times a day.

26 Taliban’s Rules for All
In any sporting events, onlookers may not clap. Anyone who carries objectionable literature will be executed. Anyone who converts from Islam to any other religion will be executed. Non-Muslim minorities must stitch a yellow cloth onto their dress to be differentiated from the majority.

27 Taliban’s Rules for All
No one may use the Internet, including foreigners. No one may dance at weddings. No one may gamble. No burying of anyone who was killed by the Taliban. Bodies must remain in the streets as examples to other “wrongdoers.”

28 Punishments for Rule-Breakers
Public whipping Public stoning Amputation of limbs Public hanging Imprisonment Public shooting Public execution Dangling of bodies from cranes Public beatings

29 Taliban’s Rules for Women
Females may not work outside the home Females may not study at schools, universities, or any other educational institution Females must wear a long veil (burqa) which covers them from head to toe Females whose ankles are visible will be whipped in public

30 Taliban’s Rules for Women
Females may not use cosmetics Females may not laugh loudly Females may not wear high heel shoes. Men must never head a woman’s footsteps. Females may not play sports or enter a sports center or club

31 Taliban’s Rules for Women
Females may not ride bicycles or motorcycles Females may not wear brightly colored clothes All home windows must be painted black so females cannot be seen from outside their homes Females may not be filmed or photographed

32 Punishments for Rule-Breakers
Public whipping Public stoning Amputation of limbs Public hanging Imprisonment Public shooting Public execution Dangling of bodies from cranes Public beatings

33 Kite Runner movie Released December 14, 2007 Directed by Marc Forster
Filmed mainly in China Banned in Afghanistan Roger Ebert ranked it the #5 film of 2007

34 Other Marc Forster Films


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