11th April 2018

Essay Question

Discuss how the author uses language techniques to develop the main character and how this character helps you understand one or more themes or ideas.

The 2003 published novel, The Kite Runner, written by Khaled Hosseini is a remarkable novel based on the life in Afghanistan portrayed through the eyes of a young afghan boy Amir. In this novel Hosseini uses numerous effective language features such as narrative point of view, foreshadowing, and symbolism to capture the readers imagination. Hosseini also includes first language Farsi words and references to cultural and religious events to add to the authenticity of the novel. 

“I remember the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into the alley near the frozen creek. That was a long time ago, but its wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now I realise I have been peaking into that desert alley for the last 26 years”. 

In the first page of the novel Hosseini uses a flashback that gives a small insight of the events to come. The foreshadowing hints to the reader the journey the characters will go on, it creates drama and suspense making the reader wanting to know more. Hosseini uses the flashback so early in the novel is because it is a huge event, and changes the lives of not only Amir and Hassan, but also their family and friends around them, and to show how much Amir’s character develops throughout the novel.

Hosseini critiques the racism of the Afghan society. Ali and Hassan are Hazara’s, an ethnic group that most Afghans look down on as inferior. “They called him “flat-nosed” because of Ali and Hassan’s characteristic Hazara Mongoloid features.” Pashtuns are known as the most high class powerful ethnic group in Afghanistan, the fact that Hassan was a Hazara and Amir was a Pashtun meant that no matter how close the friendship was, social hierarchy would always come first. “History isn’t easy to overcome. Neither is religion. In the end, I was a Pashtun and he was a Hazara, I was Sunni and he was Shi’a, and nothing was ever going to change that. Nothing.” This is also an example of how Amir develops and allows the reader to understand his morals and values, no matter how close the friendship is, he would chose his culture and ethnicity over brother and best friend.

Even though Amir has grown up with a non – religious father, Islam also plays a part in their lives with various festivals, one being the sacrificial lamb for Eid which Hassan is symbolically connected to, and Buzkashi, an annual tournament featuring horsemen. Hosseini also uses language features like islamic phrases throughout the novel, “Inshallah”, “Namaz”, “Kaka”, Khala”. 

“Alas the Afghanistan of our youth is long dead. Kindness is gone from the land and you can not escape the killings. Always the killings. In Kabul fear is everywhere.” Hosseini has used syntax to create tension and emphasise the disruption going through Afghanistan. Kite fighting was a very popular sport/game at the time, yet as soon as the war arose, the kites stopped flying. The Afghan kites, with their glass strings symbolise both violence and beauty, which simultaneously represent Afghanistan before and after the war. Amir and Hassan also symbolise the juxtaposition of roles. At the start of the novel, the tournament of kite fighting was a success and the kite was a symbol of victory and friendship, however towards the end the kite became a symbol of betrayal and redemption. “I had one last chance to make a decision. One final opportunity to decide who I was going to be. I could step into that alley, stand up for Hassan… Or I could run, in the end I ran”

Throughout The Kite Runner many of the characters are haunted by memories of their past, and are constantly looking for redemption. Amir looks for redemption in his father for “killing” his mother. In doing this Amir becomes a boy who he learns to hate when he becomes an adult, a boy who is eager to get his fathers attention and to not be a disappointing son. This led to Hassan’s rape. After this event Amir spends the rest of his life doing anything he can to redeem himself of the betrayal of his best friend. By saving Hassan’s son in Kabul and taking him back to America with a home and a loving family. Finally he feels he has given back, and is free from the guilt and pain he has caused Hassan. “What was so funny was that the first time since the winter of 1975 I felt at peace, I laughed because in the corner of my mind, I had been looking forward to this.” 

Hosseini was originally from Afghanistan and wanted to portray a side of Kabul that readers would never of seen by using narrative point of view. This is effective because the protagonist is taking the reader on a journey through his point of view, on a journey to a complete different world, taking the reader through suspenseful and tense events. By using imagery, the narrator is able to describe the setting and help the reader understand the scene, “Sprawling house of marble floors and wide widows. The floors were made of mosaic tiles, gold stitched tapestries, a crystal chandelier hung from the vaulted ceiling.”

The Kite Runner, written by Khaled Hosseini is a novel based on the life in Afghanistan portrayed through the eyes of a young afghan boy. Hosseini has done a remarkable job in developing his characters, through intense themes including betrayal, guilt violence and redemption. The story becomes very dark, however Hosseini has broken this up with different language features and used culture religion to add authenticity to the novel. The novel grabs your attention and and allows the reader to feel a connection between the characters and story. 

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