The Kite Runner
The Kite Runner is Khaled Hosseini's debut novel from 2003 about the troubled friendship between two Afghan boys, Amir and Hassan. There are major dividing lines between the two boys; as a Pashtun, Amir is the master and belongs to the ruling class while Hassan, with his Hazara ancestry, is the servant. The novel is set against one of the world's most dramatic historical events ranging from the fall of the Afghan kingdom, through the Soviet invasion leading to a mass flight of refugees, to the rise of the Taliban. In 2007, the novel was adapted for the screen.
Before his notable debut as an author, the Afghan-American, Khaled Hosseini (born in 1965), practiced as a physician. His second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, also set in Afghanistan, matched the success of his first novel. He currently works as a writer and a UN Ambassador and is renowned for his commitment to his troubled home country.
Watch this BBC clip from 2009 and the novelist's accounts of his UN visit to Afghanistan where he witnessed flying kites in the Kabul skies once again.
Read the excerpt from Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 from The Kite Runner
- Why do you think the author starts his novel by going back to 1975? Describe the mood in the opening paragraph.
- What does the author state about what seems to be the plot in the second paragraph?
- Amir is still hearing Hassan's whisper: "For you, a thousand times over" , what is implied in that statement? Why do you think Amir cannot forget this?
- What might Rahim Kahn mean by his words: "There is a way to be good again"? Do you think he sounds accusing?
- Describe the setting in Chapter 1.
- Why do you think the author chooses to dwell on the description of Amir and Baba's mansion in Kabul? How is it contrasted to the home of Hassan and Ali?
- Amir and Hassan have both lost their mothers in infancy. How do they deal with their loss?
- How is the relationship between the two boys depicted?
- What is said about the differences between the Hazaras and the Pashtuns?
- What do you think is implied when the narrator states that his first word was "Baba" and Hassan's first word was "Amir" ?
Watch the Movie
How has the director adapted the two chapters in the film? Which significant choices did he have to make do you think?
Upon reading The Kite Runner a Norwegian Afghan student started crying. He thought it was painful to read about Hassan's destiny as a Hazara, since he himself had a Hazara background. Search the net and jot down information about the Hazaras in Afghanistan. Why do you think this student responded so strongly?
Film and Novel
According to the teaching plan you are supposed to read a novel from after 1950, you are also supposed to analyze a film. A lot of students choose to read and watch The Kite Runner. You can find information on the Internet both about the film and the novel. Here are a few useful links: , , .
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- ENGLISH – PROGRAMME SUBJECT IN PROGRAMMES FOR SPECIALIZATION IN GENERAL STUDIES