Time and Sequence
Time and sequence refers to when the novel was set (and the historical context of that time eg if Rahim Kan had called Amir any later with 9/11 it would have been impossible for him to fly over to Afghanistan and definitely to take Sohrab back with him) and the sequence in which the events take place, if you change the order in which they occur it can change the outcome and probably the meaning of the book.
The message of The Kite Runner is didactic (intended to teach). This makes clear that the Hosseini is trying to make the reader learn from Amir's mistakes. Themes and ideas of the The Kite Runner:
- War and conflict
- Moral conscience
- American Dream
- Truth and lies
- Faith and religion
The theme of Brotherhood is one of the most interesting for the fact we later find out that Amir and Hassan are in fact brothers:
- The novel identifies the relationship between Hassan and Amir.
- Hosseini gives us hints throughout of Amir and Hassan being brothers, 'Hassan and I fed from the same breast'. This is a healthy clue that they might be brothers considering many sibling feed from the same breast.
- It's the brotherly relationship that causes Baba to treat his sons the same.
It's the brotherly relationship that causes Baba to treat his sons the same.
This is important as Amir and Hassan's friendship was uneven as children because Amir always thought he was superior to Hassan. As it turns out, they were of equality meaning Hassan was mistreated by Amir and shouldn't have been for example when he throws the pomegranates at him even though he says, 'I treated Hassan well...like a brother' (P36). This adds to the pressure of redemption.
Narritive Form in The Kite Runner
Khaled Hosseini uses several different narrative perspectives throughout The Kite Runner. He uses the narrative mode 'First Person Plural Epistolary' in sections of the novel when letters are read and sent from different characters being Rahim Khan, Amir and Hassan: the story is temporarily told through letters. It could also be argued that during the letters, the first person changes from Amir to the person writing the letter, giving us the views of different characters without letting the unreliability of Amir come through. As well as that, the majority of the novel is in first person unreliable. Amir is an unreliable narrator due to the events in Chapter 7 being the **** of Hassan. Amir's conscience has the guilt of Hassan's **** throughout the whole novel which leads him to become unreliable. Remembering that this novel is told as it happens and not in a conscience of tranquillity, a 7 year old boy is likely to become an unreliable narrator with the shocking events Amir has had to witness and react to. However, there are times when Amir becomes reliable as a narrator and that is mostly nearer the end. As time progresses and the pressure of redemption increases, Amir goes to the further extremes to gain redemption from Hassan. He knows Hassan, even if he is dead, will only be truly happy once Sohrab, his son, is. This is why when Amir states, 'It was only a smile, nothing more...but I'll take it' is so important. After previously attempting to commit suicide, Sohrab is now finally happy. The weight has been taking off of Amir's shoulders which is why he is at his most reliability at the end of the novel. Going on, Khaled Hosseini uses the narrative mode, 'First Person Stream of Conscious'. This is displayed most in moments where Amir and Hassan talk/think about dreams such as the dream of the lake before the kite tournament in Kabul (start of Chapter 7). The narrative mode is also present at the scene of the **** scene. Amir recalls two memories and one dream during the **** of Hassan by Assef. Amir is attempting to shut off his mind from the disturbance of what is going on with Hassan illustrating the emotional trauma he is going through. By having these memories here also help to slow down time. The memories and dreams of Amir make the **** scene feel like it goes on for much too long making the reader feel disturbed from this trauma. Therefore, Hosseini is making the reader feel the same emotions Amir is feeling from slowing down the time: we have to suffer the **** scene for longer.
- Form - Rites of passage such as an adventure or quest.
- The climax appears in this chapter where the hero (Amir) confronts the monster (Assef).
- Structure - History is repeating itself with this time having a different outcome: rerunning events with a different outcome.
Most important events in Chapter 22
- Assef wearing the John Lennon glasses - severe juxtaposition is occurring here because the John Lennon glasses are known to be linked with peace but they are being worn by a socio-path.
- The brass ball and slingshot - this links with chapter 4 where Hassan threatens to use his slingshot at Assef.
- Foreshadowing the future with the grape that is will be 'the last whole thing' he would eat in a long time suggesting he is going to get injured.
- Sohrab - 'a slaughtered sheep's eyes'. 'Sohrab is being abused'. There is comparisons between Hassan as a child and Sohrab.
- The reveal that Amir's beard is fake creates tension.
Charecter of Assef
Character of Assef
- Well earned reputation for being savage.
- Owns a pair of brass knuckles.
- Has obeying friends.
- Presented as a socio-path (doesn't understand the difference between right and wrong).
- Racist towards Hazaras.
- Aspired to Hitler.
- A Pashtun who has an influential family. He has mixed parents: his dad is Afghan while his mum is German.
- 'One Eyed Assef'. Later on in the novel he fulfils this name when Sohrab flings a stone at him using a slingshot.
More Important Quotations
“That was a long time ago, but it’s 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 realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.”“A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything.”
“Huddled together in the dining room and waiting for the sun to rise, none of us had any notion that a way of life had ended.” (p. 36)
“I actually aspired to cowardice, because the alternative, the real reason I was running, was that Assef was right: Nothing was free in this world. Maybe Hassan was the price I had to pay, the lamb I had to slay, to win Baba.”
“My body was broken—just how badly I wouldn’t find out until later—but I felthealed. Healed at last. I laughed.” (p. 289)