Thesis

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N.T
Senior Thesis
Analysis of Khaled Hosseini
& best selling novel “The Kite Runner “

The story of the Kite Runner is fictional, but it is rooted in real political and historical events ranging from the last days of the Afghan monarchy in the 1970s to the post-Taliban near present-day. Hosseini also pulls from his own memories and experiences growing up in the Wazir Akbar Khan section of Kabul and his adaptation to life in California. Khaled Hosseini’s aim was to not only call attention to the devastation in Afghanistan; he set out to remind the world that before he last few decades under the world’s scrutinizing eye highlighting the negativity of the country, Afghanistan was a generally peaceful nation.

Afghanistan gained international attention after the coup of 1973. From 1933 until 1973 Afghanistan was ruled by monarchy.On July 17th 1973 power was seized from the monarchy and by April 1978 the power of the country lied in the hands of the PDPA -- or the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan. The military coup was nearly bloodless, but was still a very frightening time for the people of Kabul who heard rioting and shooting in the streets; as is depicted through the eyes of Amir, the protagonist of The Kite Runner. The PDPA instituted many political and social reforms in Afghanistan, including abolishing religious and traditional customs. The reforms incensed groups of Afghans who believed in adherence to traditional and religious laws. 1979 brought the beginning of an occupation by the Soviet Army which would last a decade. This is the historical point in the Kite Runner where the protagonist and his father leave Afghanistan.

The Muslim internal forces, or mujahedins, were represented by the character Farid and his father who engaged in the resistance against the Soviets on the side of Islam. In 1992, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the mujahedins finally won Afghanistan and converted it to an Islamic State. Despite the Soviet withdrawal, there was still a great deal of infighting and unrest among rival militias within the country. Unrest made everyday life in Afghanistan during this time unsafe. In The Kite Runner, Hosseini chooses the figure Rahim Khan to represent a voice of reasoning. Khan describes the fear in Kabul during this time; “The infighting between the factions was fierce and no one knew if they if they would live to see the end of the day. Our ears became accustomed to the rumble of gunfire, our eyes familiar with the sight of men digging bodies out of piles of rubble. Kabul in those days... was as close as you could get to that proverbial hell on earth.” Khan’s description of the situation in Kabul directly reflects Kabul in the 1990s and also present day Afghanistan and the Middle East as a whole.

The Taliban is a internationally and infamously known fundamental Muslim movement. A negative retrospective surrounds the Taliban movement and militia due to their reputation of terror reeking, however in 1996 when the Taliban first took control of Kabul, their presence was welcomed. The country and populus were vulnerable after many years of violence and insecurity in Afghanistan. To describe the public reaction Hosseini employs Rahim Khan once again; “...We all celebrated in 1996 when the Taliban rolled in and put an end to the daily fighting” However, soon after their arrival life in Afghanistan had become dangerous once again under their corrupt leadership. The Islamic community became divided by what can be best described as an Iron Curtain. Although a disagreement between the Sunni and Shiite of Islam has always been present, the Taliban developed the separation into a tangible battle. The Taliban, as Sunni fundamentalist supremacists, systematically massacred Shiites including the Hazara people. In The Kite Runner, we see how the Taliban used fear and violence to control the people of Afghanistan, for example at the frequent and very explicit and public executions Assef...
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