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Topics: The Kite Runner, Kabul, Afghanistan Pages: 20 (8078 words) Published: September 13, 2013
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The Kite Runner
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Context
Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, on March 4, 1965, and was the oldest of five children. Just as he describes in The Kite Runner, Kabul was a cosmopolitan city at the time. Western culture, including movies and literature, mixed with Afghan traditions, such as kite fighting in the winter. Lavish parties were normal at the Hosseini family’s home in the upper-middle class neighbourhood of Wazir Akbar Khan. Hosseini’s father served as a diplomat with the Afghan Foreign Ministry, and his mother taught Farsi and history at a local high school for girls. Then, in 1970, the Foreign Ministry sent his father to Iran. While the family only spent a few years there, Hosseini taught a Hazara man, who worked as a cook for the family, how to read and write. By this time, Khaled Hosseini was already reading Persian poetry as well as American novels, and he began writing his own short stories. -------------------------------------------------

Repeated moves marked the next decade of the Hosseini family’s life. They returned to Kabul in 1973, the year Mohammad Daoud Khan, overthrew his cousin, Zahir Shah, the Afghan King, in a coup d’etat. The Afghan Foreign Ministry relocated the Hosseini family to Paris in 1976. Though they hoped to return to Afghanistan in 1980, that was not possible because of a military invasion by the Soviet Union. Instead, the Hosseinis moved to San Jose, California after they were granted political asylum in the United States. Khaled Hosseini went on to graduate from high school in 1984 and attended Santa Clara University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in Biology in 1988. In 1993, he earned his Medical degree from University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, and in 1996 he completed his residency at Cedars-Sinai medical Centre in Los Angeles, making him a full-fledged doctor. -------------------------------------------------

Chapter 1
The period is December 2001, and our narrator, who tells his story in the first person, anamnesis an event that occurred in 1975, when he was twelve years of age and growing up in Afghanistan. He does not explain what was so significant that happened, but says the event made him who he is. He follows this reminiscence by telling us about a call he received last summer from his friend in Pakistan who is named Rahim Khan. Rahim Khan asks our narrator, whose name is Amir, to come to Pakistan to see him. When Amir gets off the phone, he takes a walk through San Francisco, where he lives now. He notices kites flying, and thinks of his past, including his friend Hassan, a boy with a cleft lip whom he calls a kite runner. “That was a long time ago, but it’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.” -------------------------------------------------

At the outset of Chapter 1, just as the book begins, Amir writes these words. With them, he hints at the central drama of the novel and the reason he is telling it. To the reader, the quotation functions as a teaser. It piques the reader’s interest without revealing exactly what Amir is talking about, and from the time period Amir mentions, twenty-six years; the reader gets an idea of just how important this moment was. As the novel unfolds, we realize that the deserted alley Amir refers to is where Hassan was raped, and that this event has largely defined the course of Amir’s life since. This is what Amir means when he says that the past continues to claw its way out. Try as he might to bury it, he was unable to because his feelings of guilt kept arising. As a result, he figuratively continues peeking into the alley where Assef raped Hassan, literally meaning that he keeps going over the event in his mind...
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