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					THEMES

Friendship

      List the friendships in the novel. Rank them by strength. Then rank them in order of what you consider the best
       relationships.

 The friendship between Amir and Hassan clearly had its problems, but in what respects was it a true friendship?
Amir and Hassan

          Find quotations that illustrate that Amir might be afraid to be Hassan’s true friend.

          In what way do Amir and Hassan view Amir’s stories differently?

          List three instances of where Amir tests Hassan’s loyalty and find a quotation that illustrates how well Hassan
           does in each test.

          Why, after all Hassan has done for him, does Amir no longer want to be Hassan’s friend, even before
           Hassan’s rape?

          Explore the possible parallels between the sacrifice of the sheep at the Afghan celebration and both Hassan’s
           rape and Hassan’s departure from the household.

Friendships
      Ali and Baba
      Amir and Hassan
      Baba and Rahim Khan
      Amir and Rahim Khan
      Soraya and Amir
      Ali and Sohrab
      General Taheri and Amir
      General Taheri and Baba

Friendship between Amir and Hassan

       The friendship between Amir and Hassan clearly had its problems, but in what respects was it a true
          friendship?
It was definitely a true friendship as these two boys shared a connection. They grew up together; learning each
other’s likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. It was a true friendship because of their love for each other and
the fact that Hassan would do anything for Amir. They were half brothers, and even if they didn’t know that, they
shared that type of bond. Over time, Amir realizes how close he and Hassan really were, even though he never
accepted it at the time. Even though it was too late for Amir to tell Hassan how much he really cared about him, he
showed his grief and love for him through Hassan’s son. He went far and wide to find the boy who was his half-
nephew. Amir spent his whole life proving his friendship to Hassan, whereas Hassan proved himself to Amir every day
of their childhood. Loyalty

Amir never accepts Hassan

Evil

      How has ‘evil’ been visited upon the Afghanistan nation by many generations of soldiers? The Russians were
       brutal to the Afghans; they massacred many small towns, bringing a lot of evil across the country.

      Is Assef evil? He is a young boy who has lots of problems.

How has ‘evil’ been visited upon the Afghanistan nation by many generations of soldiers?
Persia
British
Genghis Khan – power – eats people, drink blood
Mongols
Mugals
Taliban
Soviets
Americans


Is Assef evil?
I think that Assef is evil. He has a lot of qualities that caused him to be identified as a bully, and a person who has no
heart. He never gave a second thought to anything. He did whatever his heart said was right. He never thought from
his brain. He did many evil deeds throughout the entire span of the book.



Some of the examples that proved that Assef was evil are shown below: -:
    He raped little children, which is completely an inappropriate behavior.
    He was bully as he used his brass knuckles to injure and scare little kids away.
    He likes to fight and beat up other people for fun.
    He believes in the theories of Adolf Hitler such as ethnic cleansing.
    He resembles Genghis Khan as he likes blood (hurt and rape people)
    He also betrays people like his friends.
Questions:
   1. What is evil?
   2. Is Assef evil?
   3. How has evil been visited upon in Afghanistan?

Answers:
   1. Evil is an act of injustice, evil is something done selfishly on your own behalf to harm someone else. It is being
       immoral or malevolent
   2. Assef is evil because he harms other people through rape to make himself feel better and more powerful. He
       is of the opinion that not all people are equal and thinks that those who are on standing below him should
       follow his command, even if that involves ethnic cleansing. This mindset definitely makes Assef evil.
   3. Evil has been visited upon Afghanistan in many different ways. Throughout history Afghanistan has seemed
       like a fairly vulnerable country and has therefore been pursued by many different world powers. When
       Genghis Khan came to Afghanistan he brought violence and a need for power. In addition, he brought new
       ideas and people that would later cause ethnic and religious struggles. When the British attempted to
       colonize Afghanistan they in turn brought a new culture that clashed with the ways of the Afghans. The
       Russians that invaded brought further violence and clashing between the ethnic groups that were in
       Afghanistan. The Taliban brought even more evil because the Taliban were discriminating against some of
       the religious and ethnic groups in Afghanistan. The Taliban encouraged that discrimination based on race
       and religion.


Identity

 What hopes do Amir and Baba share with other immigrants?
That they get out safely
The Russians don’t find them
Amir wants to find himself
They all want Afghanistan to be safe again
To live well
The hopes that Amir & Baba share is a need for peace, they all [except Amir] anticipate returning to a safe peaceful
homeland. Amir isn’t eager to return. They want the best for their country and for it to be safe again.

 How successful are Amir and Baba as immigrants?
They’re managing
Amir graduates – Baba works at a gas station
They have a very low income, but they do make extra at the bazaar on Sunday
As immigrants, they did fairly well. They survived the limitations/standard of livings and Amir even went to college,
Baba made his own income & even did extra work selling at the bazaar.

 How much does Amir consider Afghanistan home when he returns?
He feels like he didn’t belong there
He doesn’t feel welcome
It’s not the same place anymore
He feels like an outsider; doesn’t remember much
Amir doesn’t want to consider it his home, but he feels connected to it; even though it wasn’t the same country he
grew up in. He feels that all the bad memories still lurk somewhere and for that reason, even though he loves his
country, he was scared to go back.

     Amir belongs to a number of groups in the book including his family, the dominant Pashtun ethnic group, the
      Sunni religious group, his country, and those immigrants who went to America. How do these different identities
      conflict with each other?
Created a social imbalance
Fracture in the religion
Caste system created differences in privileges
Abuse of power and status
Hassan died because of his place in society, even though he is a much better person [morally] compared to Amir
All of these identities affect the way Amir perceives life and looks at it. From the very beginning when he was a Sunni
all the way to being an immigrant, power has affected him in some form or another making the way he perceives life
very hard to trust. All the groups he’s associated with affects the things he does in life and the way he makes his
decisions.
1.Hopes – leave afghan, fear further betrayal and death.

2.Successful in fleeing to USA.

3. He doesn’t consider Afghanistan home

4. Pashtun – identity conflicts

Power

   Draw a diagram that illustrates the power relationships in the novel.

   What abuses of power are there by:

        Amir
        Baba
        The Soviets
        The Mujahedeen
        The Taliban?

    1.   Amir – knows Hassan is loyal -> takes advantage of him, uses him, abuses his power given to him by his class
         (Pashtun)
         He has power over Hassan
    2.   Baba – doesn’t show his love Amir, he COULD stop making Amir feel like a disappointment, instead he
         chooses not to
    3.   Soviet – Use their powers against Afghanistan’s in a bad way, example: when Baba and Amir are fleeing from
         Afghanistan and the men say they need a “tax payment” and ask for 30 minutes with the woman ->
         inappropriate use of power
    4.   The Taliban – Use their powers for good, help the Afghans against the Soviet Union

Power relationships:
Amir is more powerful than Hassan and is therefore possessive of more power in society. He has power over Hassan,
since Hassan is the servant and he can’t read or write.
Baba is a wealthy businessman and is more powerful than Ali and Hassan. Therefore, they are his servants (not vice
versa). Although he is very powerful due to his bold personality and sufficient wealth, Baba isn’t portrayed as a
character that highly abuses it or is “up over his head”. He is a good guy and a savior-type fighting for the rights of the
under-dog. People respect him and seek him for help.
Baba is more powerful than Amir because he has a bold personality and is an adult. Therefore, he is able to press his
opinions on Amir (not vice versa). Furthermore, he is more influential on Amir and society.
Power Abuses:
Amir abuses his power. He is wealthier than Hassan. Hassan is always nice to him and protective as well. However,
Amir is narrow-minded and believes he is superior to Hassan. Therefore, he is not as nice to Hassan.
Baba is very bold and wealthy so he abuses his power (though not to a high extent) by pressing his ideas on Amir.
The soviets abuse their power by trying to take over Afghanistan. This causes Baba and Amir to escape to the most
powerful country in the world, America.
The mujahedeen is part of the Taliban and abuses his power by causing harm to the general population.
The Taliban takes control of Middle Eastern states and transposes its beliefs on the people. It abuses its power by
imposing limits on people’s lives and violating human rights for its personal profit.
Small class wrote:
Baba: good guy, help people and is a savior, everyone in Kabul knows him and respects him.
The soviets: they all made all Afghanistan leave their country by invading it.
Amir: he has power over Hassan since Hassan is his servant and he can’t read or write.

Guilt

   Guilt shapes Amir and the novel. Find quotations that illustrate what Amir feels about his guilt for (a) not
    intervening in the Hassan’s rape and (b) being instrumental in Hassan’s dismissal.

Amir’s search for redemption is a direct result of his guilt regarding not defending Hassan.
“a boy who doesn’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything” ( )

“I actually aspired to cowardice, because the alternative, the real reason I was running, was that Assef was right:
Nothing was free in this world. Maybe Hassan was the price I had to pay, the lamb I had to slay, to win Baba” (77).
Because he was a coward and was afraid of what Assef would do to him.
“I ran because I was a coward, I was afraid of Assef and what he would do to me… He (Hassan) was just a Hazara,
wasn’t he?” (77).

Amir takes some of his birthday money and a watch and hides it under Hassan’s mattress. He doesn’t feel guilty about
it. He wants to get rid of Hassan.
“I envied her. Her secret was out. Spoken. Dealt with. I opened my mouth and almost told her I’d betrayed Hassan,
lied, driven him out, and destroyed a forty-year old relationship between baba and Ali” (165).

“I almost did tell him. Almost told him everything, but then what would he think of me?” (99).

Amir strives for love from Baba, and in truth let’s Hassan get raped so that he can take the kite to Baba.

Baba is guilt-ridden, as he cannot acknowledge Hassan as his son.

Amir earns redemption by becoming a father figure to Sohrab.

Forgiveness/redemption

   Amir’s efforts and sacrifices to rescue Sohrab are an obvious act of redemption. What other acts of redemption
    does Amir make?
By saving Sohrab and adopting him, and fighting off Assef.
Probably after Hassan was raped.

   What indications are there that Hassan has forgiven Amir for forcing him to leave? What indications are there
    that Hassan has not forgiven him?


MOTIF

Rape – complete domination of those in power over those without.
Irony – Amir wants respect, but doesn’t earn it

SYMBOL
Kite -
Lamb – sacrifice of the innocent
Hassan’s hare-lip
the slingshot [26]
the pomegranate tree (tree carving)
stories about Rostam and Sohrab in the Shahnamah (29)
Sohrab’s silence
eyes




 “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.” (1)

“A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything.” ( )



Destiny

 In what ways have the major characters avoided their destinies imposed by hierarchy and class?
Baba sleeps with Ali’s wife and she births Hassan –
If Baba hadn’t slept with her then Hassan wouldn’t have got raped.
Amir avoids destiny when he sees Hassan being raped and doesn’t stop Assef.
Baba and Amir avoid destiny when they flee Kabul it was Amir’s destiny to go to the flea market and meet Soraya.
It was Amir’s choice to avoid his destiny when he decided to go back to Kabul to meet Rahim Khan – he then found
out a lot of truths, and he finds Sohrab.
Baba alters the lady’s destiny when he doesn’t let the Russian officer take her.
 Much of Assef’s taunting suggests Hassan’s destiny as victim and Amir’s destiny as perpetrator. Write down
     Assef’s assertions and explain how each has or hasn’t come to be.
Amir is a perpetrator. He knows everything he has done wrong, not only did he witness Hassan [servant] whom he had
a strong bond with being raped – yet he does not try to help Hassan. Hassan was always being loyal to Amir, he was a
good boy. Not only did Amir not help Hassan he avoided Hassan – and if that wasn’t bad enough Amir then framed
Hassan by putting the watch under Hassan’s mattress. Amir was a criminal in many ways – he stole Hassan’s
happiness, home and family {Baba}. Hassan became a victim because Amir stole many things from him.


Religion

   Comment on how true each of these statements is:

     Amir exercises religion in a private way – sometimes, when he moves to the US and Baba is sick with cancer
      he prays.
     Hassan is a victim of religious discrimination – Hassan is a victim of religious discrimination because he is a
      Shia and everyone he lives with is Sunni.
     for Assef, Islam is a pretext for his pathological cruelty
     Baba is secular in a very traditional society – true, he believes in only one rule and that is theft, but he
      believes in his cultural traditions.

Betrayal

   Was Amir’s betrayal of Hassan inevitable?

   When Baba’s betrayal of Ali is revealed, how are we enlightened about earlier events in the novel?

				
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