How does Hosseini tell the story in chapter 17?
Chapter 17 is potentially the most important chapter in the novel for structuring the shape of the narrative and may be seen as the turning point in the novel. During this chapter, Amir is handed a letter by Hassan writing about his son Sohrab and how life in Kabul has changed dramatically since he and Baba fled to America. Rahim Khan explains how Hassan and Farzana were killed by the Taliban and as his dying wish, Amir must go and rescue Sohrab. It is revealed that Baba is Hassan’s father, making him and Amir half brothers. Hosseini uses 3 different narrative voices in chapter 17 opposed to other chapters with just Amir narrating. This gives us a much more personal perspective into Hassan’s life, adds realism to the narrative and how corrupt Kabul has now become. ‘…suddenly a young Talib ran over and hit her on the thighs with his wooden stick’, contrasting hugely with Amir and Hassan’s childhood. Amir’s usual retrospective first person narrative is present however Hosseini also uses the present tense to make Hassan’s death more emotive as we can imagine it more vividly as a reader. ‘Hassan slumps to the asphalt, his life of unrequited loyalty drifting from him like the windblown kites he used to chase.’ Not only is this quote used so we can see Hassan dying but it links the whole novel together by using the recurring motif of kites, linking back to chapter 7 when he ‘chased’ the blue kite, and his ‘unrequited loyalty’ is evident throughout the majority of the novel, ‘Hassan never denied me anything’. Although Hassan’s death is foreshadowed however in chapter 16, ‘God help the Hazaras now’, Hosseini creates suspense and dramatic tension towards Hassan’s death by giving Amir the letter first before revealing his death, giving Amir hope and making the reader assume his journey to redemption would soon be over. ‘I dream that someday you will return to Kabul and re-visit the land of our childhood. If you do, you...
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