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The Kite Runner

1. Introduction
2. Stylistic prose techniques
3. Reader response
4. Prose analysis
5. Conclusion
6. Bibliography

“The Kite Runner” is one of the most popular and well-known literary works by Khaled Hosseini. The popularity of this work can be easily understood when the novel is analyzed profoundly since the book represents a variety of characters that are close to the real life, their problems are really disturbing and themes raised by the author are really important in the modern world. At the same time, the book provides an excellent opportunity to get acquainted with the traditional culture of Afghanistan as well as it fully reveals the tragedy of Afghani people and depict the fates of those who were forced to leave the country.
In such a situation, it is particularly noteworthy that the author attempts to show the life of the immigrants in a new country and their adaptation to the new lifestyle. On the other hand, Khaled Hosseini manages to perfectly show the extent to which the links with the motherland are strong and the great impact the origin of people can have on their life.
This work is also quite noteworthy from the stylistic and artistic point of view since it is quite rich in different stylistic details and artistic devices which make the reading of the book really interesting and aesthetically pleasant. This is why it is necessary to analyze this book in order to fully reveal its richness and artistic power.
Stylistic prose techniques
1. On analyzing stylistic prose techniques of “The Kite Runner” it would be logical to start with the title of the novel which is actually the first element of the literary work which meaning is reveled retrospectively in the process of reading and evaluation of the work. In the case of Khaled Hosseini’s work, the author obviously intentionally conveys the title throughout the book underlying the significance and symbolism of the kite runner. In fact, it should be said that the kite runner allegorically represents the fate of the main character that is revealed in the book. To put it more precisely, the main character remains a kite runner from his early childhood till the end of the novel but this image is obviously quite allegorical since the kite in the hands of the main character rather resembles himself in the hands of his fate. Moreover, it seems as if his motherland, where he has to return even after his emigration, holds him as he holds the kite in his hand.
2. Furthermore, the author successfully employs the language of the novel which targets at the presentation of the characters and which actually characterize them. What is meant here is the power the language used by the author to fully depict characters and involve readers in the atmosphere of Afghani life and culture. For instance, he uses some Afghani words, such as Baba meaning father, to make readers closer to Afghani culture by means of using the borrowings from the local language. In such a way, the novel seems to be more realistic and true to life helping readers better understand main characters and their actions.
3. Khaled Hosseini is also quite successful in the creation of a clear imagery of the novel. In this respect, it should be said that the main character, Amir, is obviously the protagonist of the novel since he is the character that dominates in the book from its beginning till its end and basically he incorporates positive qualities or at least he is perceived positively. In stark contrast to him, there is a kind of villain, Assef who is an incorporation of evil powers, and commits terrible acts that are crimes as the matter of fact. This character also permanently appears in the novel that makes it possible to define him as the antagonist of the novel.
4. The author also uses flashbacks in his novel that may be seen from the beginning of the book. Basically, flashbacks, the scenes of the past inserted into the narrative, are represented by Amir’s recollection about his past and his childhood in Afghanistan in 1970s when he was a little boy living with his family in Kabul.
5. Furthermore, Khaled Hosseini uses forshadowing in his work, though it does not mean that he constantly makes the reader to guess about the future events but, nonetheless, he often provides hints or remarks that prepare the reader for the future. For instance, when Amir made his first efforts in literature he was obviously discouraged by his father who did not believe in his potential as a writer but, at the same time, the main character was constantly encouraged by Rahim Khan who, in contrast to Baba, sincerely believed in the talent of Amir as a writer.
6. However, the realization of the events that are foreshadowed in the novel do not occur immediately. This is why it is possible to speak about the use of retardation by the author which actually provides the holding of information or development of events until the appropriate time. In this respect, it is worthy of mention the first encounter of Amir and his friend, Hassan, with Assef and the warning of the latter to shoot out his left eye with the slingshot but, this promise was realized only much later in the novel by Amir that was rather a kind of revenge on Hassan and his son’s abuse by Assef. Similarly. Assef also promissed to revenge on the friends in a while he fulfilled his promise.
7. By the way, it is worthy of mention that the use of retardation by the author sometimes is very close to suspense. Even when the denouement of the novel, i.e. the unwinding of the action, is analyzed, it is obvious that it is rather in suspense or that there is even to clear denouement at all but, instead the author rather prefers to live the further development of the life of the characters open to the reader since Sohrab probably starts to recover from a profound psychological trauma he suffers from, while Amir proves that he is the real kite runner.
8. Also, it should be said that the author skillfully uses such stylistic device as irony, which is traditionally identified as the double sense which arises from contrast and it can be achieved by linguistic as well as extra-linguistic means. For instance, it seems to be quite ironic when Amir tells the reader that Baba paid to have plastic surgery done on Hassan’s harelip and now he can smile. However, something will happen next winter that makes Hassan stop smiling, notably, it is the encounter with Assef and the following fighint and abuse of the boy by Assef that has changed his entire life.
9. Furthermore, it is also possible to find a lot of symbols within the novel. Probably the most interesting and noteworthy one is the image of Assef, or to put it more precisely, that he has eventually become a ‘one-eyed Assef’. In this respect, it is possible to find parallels between the image of ‘one-eyed’ Assef and Cyclops that traditionally symbolize the negative power, or even evil. In such a way, similarly to Cyclops, Assef also causes the harm to innocent people and similarly to Cyclops he losses his eye. In such a way, it is possible to speak about this fact as about a symbolic punishment of a cruel man and the victory of good.
10. Finally, it should be said a few words about the tone of the story which, being basically stable, undergoes certain shifts throughout the novel. In fact, basically the tone, which serves to depict the light in which characters and events are depicted, is a bit dark because of the author’s attempt to create the novel that could be close to the real life. This is why the episodes, when the main character remembers his childhood in Afghanistan, or when he returns to this country to save Sohrab, are characterized by quite a dark tone, while the episodes in the US and when the main character enjoys his life while communicating with his relatives and friends, are characterized by optimistic tone.
Reader response
Basically, the novel can be clearly divided into four major parts: the first part is the recollection of Amir about his childhood in Kabul; the second part is the life of the main character in the US; the third part is his forced return to Afghanistan; and finally, the fourth part is his final return to the US with Sohrab.
On analyzing the first part, it is possible to estimate that the author attempts to convey to the reader the story of the main character, Amir in order to fully understand the tragedy of his life and his current position. In fact, this part provides the insight on his entire life since he has been “peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty six years” (1). It should be said that his childhood was quite difficult and since his early life he has faced misunderstanding of his surrounding, including his father is quite skeptical about his son when he says that “there is something missing in that boy” (22).
Basically, this period of life is quite contradictive since Amir just starts to learn the major lessons from life. This is why he equally enjoys and suffers from the life. To put it more precisely, he really enjoys the communication with his friends, such as Hassan, but, on the other hand, he learns the extent to which the life can be unjust and cruel when his friend is beaten and raped by Assef. In such a situation, it is quite natural that he cannot fully understand all the cruelty of life and his childish idealism tends to gradually disappear. However, his idealism has never vanished since he keeps writing and it is literature that probably saves him from the cruel life and prevents him from the total ruin and downcast that Hassan has undergone being unable to find some escape from the reality which Amir has found in literature. Probably, it is due to the fact that Amir remained convinced that “there was brotherhood between people who had fed from the same breast, the kinship that not even time could not break” (11) and he remains faithful to this principle all the rest of his life.
In general, this period of his life may be viewed as the period of maturing and acquisition of the essential experience that influenced the identity of the main character. It is beyond a doubt that it is during this period Amir has learned both positive and negative sides of the life.
In such a situation, the second part of the book may be viewed as an attempt to escape from the cruelty of life Amir has learned at the beginning in Afghanistan. However, the expectations to discover a Paradise or a kind of a Promised Land are doomed to fail since the author remains devoted to the principle of realism of the depiction of the life of the main character and the events of the novel fully meet this goal of Khaled Hosseini.
In actuality, the life of Amir and his family has really changed in the US but it has not become significantly easier. In fact, he and his relatives have to adapt to the new conditions of life and new lifestyle. They live in a different cultural environment. Nonetheless, it does not necessarily mean that this period is rather dark, instead, optimistic tone prevail in this part. It is in this country, Amir find his wife and marries her, moreover, he becomes a famous novelist and realizes his dream in such a way.
Nonetheless, it is worthy of mention that even this period of his life is accompanied by numerous difficulties which constantly return the reader to the reality. For instance, at the beginning he lives in a humble apartment instead of an expensive mansion he used to live in Afghanistan, the family practically lives from hand to mouth, and, what is more, Amir is forced to watch as Baba slowly dies being unable to help his father.
Unfortunately, as the life of the main character gets more stable as he marries and gains public recognition as a novelist, he faces new challenges which seem to arrive from the past and which mark the third part of the novel. To put it more precisely, he receives a call from Rahim Khan and goes to Pakistan where he learns that Hassan and his wife are killed by Taliban and, what is more, that his friend was his illegitimate half-brother. Moreover, he has to return to Afghanistan to save Sohbar, the sun of Hassan. It is important to underline that he returns to his motherland but he is alien here. No wonder that Farid says “You’ve always been a tourist here, you just didn’t now it” (232). Symbolically, his mission, being successful enough, rather resembles the revenge or even the final victory of good power over evil since in the fight he shoots out the left eye of Assef who abused Sohrab and saves the boy.
The successful escape from Afghanistan opens the final part of the book which is supposed to be the most optimistic one as the main character returns to the US to his family and remains faithful to the principle of brotherhood as he brings Sohrab up. Actually, in this part the author attempts to show how difficult it is to recover from the horrors the main character and Sorhab had to pass through in Afghanistan. No wonder that Sohrab has a profound psychological trauma which practically leads him to an attempt of suicide that, fortunately, has failed. At the same time, it should be said that the ending of the novel is quite optimistic and the author probably attempts to show that, regardless all the problems and cruelty of life, there still remains some room for happy life.
Prose analysis
Probably the most memorable and interesting episode in the book is the episode where the author actually sets the basic principle Amir, the main character of the novel will follow all the rest of his life. As it has been already mentioned above, this was the principle of brotherhood (p.11) which Amir has learned probably unconsciously. In this respect, it is possible to say that the author attempts to convey the traditions of Afghanistan, its cultural norms and moral standards and to emphasize this he is even using the language typical for Afghani people, for instance Baba, instead of father. At the same time, the kinship of Amir and Hassan also underlines the theme of brotherhood that is one of the central themes of the entire novel. No wonder that Amir always supported his friend-brother, Hasan and even after his death, the main character saves and adopts his son that fully corresponds to the principle of brotherhood.
Thus, it is possible to conclude that “The Kite Runer” is the novel written by Khaled Hosseini which rises an extremely important problems and which, at the same time, remains extremely realistic. Due to the skillful use of stylistic devices the author makes the novel really interesting to readers and, what is more, the book is really thought provoking.

1. Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. New York: Random House, 2005.


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