The Kite Runner - Literary Criticism

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Danil Kukovitskiy

The Kite Runner written by Khaled Hosseini can be seen as a great book but at the same time one that is too simple and easy. In discussions of The Kite Runner, one controversial issue has been the inner levels of the novel. On one hand, many people believe that the novel is filled with numerous themes that are deep and make one think about the human experience and will leave you thinking long after you finish reading it. On the other hand, there are also many literary critics who contend that opinion and say that the novel is overly sentimental and simplistic. The view I obtained while reading The Kite Runner would be in agreement with the first statement. I also believe that the novel is deep and makes one think about the choices we make and the inner workings of the human mind. One literary critic writes “The first-person narration is a problem here for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that Amir is a complete ass. Even people who liked the book have noted this issue, and while he is definitely supposed to be a flawed character, you get the impression that he is more flawed than the author believes him to be… Amir is a tourist in his own country: as a son of privilege, he really doesn’t know or understand that much about Afghanistan’s sad history, and since he is our only window, we are left not knowing much about Afghanistan, either” (Beth, http://www.outsideofadog.com/?p=311). I found this true at some level but at the same time harsh. Yes, Amir is a character who is made with flaws and the reader sees that but throughout the novel Amir grows out of them, he stops being a coward and goes to Afghanistan, he loses his spoiled life when he comes to America and is maybe humbled by it, and more importantly he saves and adopts Sohrab and gives him back his childhood. The critic also mentions that the book failed to elaborate upon the history of Afghanistan and the reader learns nothing about it. I also think that is too much, yes, there isn’t much history or culture being shown in the novel, but it is not meant to be a history book but a fictional novel. And even so, if the reader didn’t know anything before reading The Kite Runner they would still learn something, such as the way people treat each other there as they do in America, or the time period when the Russians came in, or as the Taliban took over. After all this the reader could go on to learn more if they want but Hosseini choose to write a story that would enchant the reader and keep him at the edge of their seats. Had Hosseini chosen to further elaborate on the story he could have only done it through historical content and facts. The plot that he wrote was enough to cover everything, he had figured that his readers coming to his book would already know the story of the exile of King Zahir Shah, of the Soviet invasion and the devastating civil war that followed, and the rise of the Taliban, since he had meant for people to read it when it was published in 2001. Another thing would be how he was vague about the culture and typical life in Afghanistan. Hosseini writes “Now if you were Americans, it wouldn’t matter. People here marry for love, family name and ancestry never come into the equation. They adopt that way too, as long as the baby is healthy, everyone is happy. But we are Afghans…” (188). He wrote enough that you could make guesses and he hinted at certain aspects such as customs that are oppressive to women, and the relations between Pashtuns and Hazaras. If you want to know more you would be able to research it on your own. Hosseini may have realized that some readers are reading his book for the experience of it and to get away, not to learn about culture and traditions. If critics say that the story is too simplistic and easy, then that could be easily arguable through the text. Hosseini touches on themes that people go through everyday and some that are rare but still make you think about them just as much....
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