Hon English II Per. 6
The Swallows of Kabul Literary Analysis
The Swallows of Kabul, by Yasmina Khadra, is a brilliantly written book about the horrors the Taliban brought within Afghanistan. It revolves around four central characters: Atiq, Musarrat, Mohsen, and Zunaira. Atiq is a jailer and Musarrat is his dying wife, who once saved his life. Mohsen was a wealthy educated middle-class and Zunaira was his beautiful lawyer wife. Because of the Taliban, both Mohsen and Zunaira lost their jobs. In this book, Khadra used diction and metaphors to help set the mood for sympathy. She used syntax to make the reader anticipated for the next chapter. Archetypes also make the book seem depressing and hopeless.
When Mohsen was forced to listen to Mullah Bashir's sermon, and Zunaira had to wait for him, Khadra sets the mood for sympathy for Zunaira and Mohsen's situation by saying that “Anger knots [Zunaira's] stomach and obstructs [Zunaira's] throat” (98). This highlights the fact that Zunaira is frustrated about her current status in society and her inability to do anything about it. Khadra further fuels the mood by using words like “contemptuous glances” (98) and “suspicious object” (98). These phrases describe Zunaira's insecurity about wearing a burqa. Khadra also describes Zunaira's contempt at wearing the burqa by saying “ludicrous outfit” (98), “getup that annihilates her” (98), and “portable tent that constitutes her degradation and her prison” (98). These polysyllabic connotations makes the reader sympathetic for the circumstances in which the characters have to live in under the Taliban.
When Mohsen finally confronts Zunaira about her silence, Khadra sets the mood for anticipation using short, independent clauses and interrogative sentences, such as “You're going to take [the burqa] off, right now” (132), or “Are you listening to me?” (130). Using short, independent clauses makes the conversation seem a lot faster paced than...
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