Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. New York: Riverhead, 2003. Print.
Khaled Hosseini grew up in Afghanistan and moved to the United States in 1984. He started writing The Kite Runner in 2001 during the U.S. war in Afghanistan. Amir, the protagonist, is a young man from a wealthy family growing up in Afghanistan. Amir’s mother passed away while giving birth to Amir. Amir is convinced that his father, Baba, believes he is responsible for his mother’s death. He cannot let go of his mother’s death or the past because he feels guilty. He deeply desires his father’s approval and compassion. As a young boy, Amir grows accustom to getting his way except for his father’s approval. His selfish attitude leads him to betray his servant friend, Hassan, and he makes a decision he will forever regret. While playing a game called kite running, he runs after Hassan and finds Hassan in an alley getting raped. Instead of defending his friend, he runs away, to protect himself, and pretends he didn’t see. Although he was not attacked personally, he lives in pain unable to escape the guilt for not defending Hassan. Eventually, Amir and Baba are forced to leave home and escape the Soviet invasion. After Amir departs his home, he faces more traumatic events. At the end of the novel, he experiences adulthood and has a family of his own. He reveals his loyalty through being an honorable lover and builds a family full of strong relationships.
It is important for students to understand the context of The Kite Runner in comparison to Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. Based on the political events present place in each novel, students should create a venn diagram. This will benefit their comprehension of each narrative and the protagonists. For example, compare and contrast the political influence on each protagonist’s personal life. Also, compare and contrast each protagonist’s way of coping with trauma and loss. Hopefully, comparing the two novels based on political influence and the traumatic consequences, students will realize the perspectives of a young man living in America and a young man raised in Afghanistan. After creating the venn diagram, students are responsible for writing a compare and contrast essay answering the following questions.
1. Both, Oskar and Amir struggle coping with guilt. Compare and contrast three different moments that show each protagonist overwhelmed by guilt and explain how they move on from it.
2. Compare and contrast the relationship between Oskar and his father and Amir and Baba. Although Oskar’s father has passed away, how does he influence Oskar in the present and how does Baba continue to influence Amir?
3. Oskar and Amir live in two different countries with conflicting political views. Compare and contrast the setting for both Oskar and Amir. Explain how setting plays a part in the decisions both protagonists make.
Age Range: 14- Young Adult (+19)