Our story is set in Kabul, Afghanistan in 1975, before the Russian invasion. The main character, Amir, is looking back at his childhood and how it has had a profound effect on his life.
Amir’s father, Baba is a cold, hard man who is disappointed in his son. He is a successful businessman. They are of the high-caste Pashtun, and one sunni muslims. Amir’s best friend is Hassan, who is son of the severnt Ali. They are low-caste Hazara, and are Shi’a muslims.
Amir is the leader, and Hassan is the follower. Hassan is uneducated,whereas Amir loves poetry, reading and writing which disappoints his father who wants him to like football.
Rahim Khan is Babas friend who is kin and shows an interest in Amir and his writing.
Farsi is the language of Afghanistan, and there are the numerous Farsi and muslim words used in the novel for example :
Inshallah = God willing
Kochi = nomads
Buzkashi = annual tournament featuring horsemen
Namaz = Daily prayers
The first man turning point in the novel is Amir witness Hassans rape and makes the decision to do nothing. He just wanted to get to the kite to please Babba.
Hosseini has built up to this event by foreshadowing that something will happen that will change there lives forever, in a negative way.
Hosseini writes: Hosseini uses foreshadowing right away in chapter 1, ” I became what I am today at the age of 12 on a frigid overcast day in 1975, this type of foreshadowing is a flashback, the chapter is headed with a date of december 2001.
Even in the first paragraph of the novel, Hosseini is hinting at what is to come.
page 17 . foreshadowing how he is turning out >>>>
“the least i could of done was have the decency to turn out more like Babba but i hadn’t turned out like him at all”
“Because suddenly afghanistan changed forever” — foreshadowing after he got raped
“because after the winter that was when hassan stopped smiling”
“but i hadn’t turned out like him. Not at all”
Characters & relationships:
Amir: This character is a rich young boy, he acts like a leader when it comes to him and Hassan. Amir is a boy who will do anything to impress his father. Hassan, the boy who lives in the barn with his father, seems to always impress Amir’s father, and that makes Amir jealous.
Hassan: Hassan is Amirs best friend, he would do anything for Amir, he is polite and caring and expects everyone else to be the same .
Assef: Assef is a nasty, violent bully. Who has a German mother as he is blonde and has blue eyes.
“But in none of his stories did Baba ever refer to Ali as his friend”
The relationship between baba and Ali parallels that that of Amir and Hassan when you dig down how is this relationship NOT a friendship? what is it in reality?
= the relationship is one where the upper class treat the lower class like they are dirt. Between amir & Hassan they act like they are friends but in reality Amir will always treat Hassan like he is lower than him. And Hassan will always treat Amir with respect, as if Amir is a king.
Example: Hassan gets Amirs clothes ready before he has to go to school and when Hassan was getting raped, Amir didn’t do anything about it as he was scared he was going to get hurt himself, and this represents Amirs character as selfish and as a person who only thinks about himself.
Events after the first turning point
- How do things change?
- Amir barely sees Hassan.
- Hassan’s withdrawn and sleeps a lot and Amir and Baba relationship is better
“It shouldn’t have felt this way Baba and I were finally friends … accept now that I had it, I felt as empty as this unkempt pool i was dangling my legs into.
Amir feels physically sick and horrible that he let Hassan go through what he has just so he could get closer to Baba. Amir realises he is a selfish, idiotic boy who would disregard Hassan in an instant for his father, this is a clear representation of upper class and lower class, even though both families have grown up together, Hassan and his father will always be below Amir and his father.
Kaka = uncle
Khala = aunt
Farsi = their language
Chapter nine – Ali and Hassan Leave
Amir planned some of his birthday presents and money under Hassan’s bed and then went to Baba and told him that Hassan had stolen things from the house.
Hassan being the kind caring boy he is new Amir did this, and still took the sacrifice, because he new that the relationship Amir had been trying to get with his father for so long would be lost if Hassan had said he didn’t do it.
“This was Hassan’s sacrifice for me, if he said no Baba would of believed him because he new that Hassan never lied, then I would be accused, and I would have to explain and be revealed for what I really was.”
Amir decided that one of the boys had to go because it was constantly awkward and everytime Amir and Hassan where around each other Amir would constantly be reminded the he didn’t do anything when Hassan got raped. He was constantly getting reminded that he was a horrible person. The fact that Amir had to put things under Hassan’s bed to get them to leave, shows that he is a horrible young boy, who will do anything for his fathers attention.
The importance of setting
explain the importance of the setting (historical, social, cultural, political), its influence on how the narrator (Amir) tells his story.