Textual Analysis of The Kite Runner, chapter 7 (answers)
1. a) How does Hosseini’s word choice in the opening paragraph create an unsettling mood on the morning of the kite tournament?
The final sentence in the opening paragraph creates the unsettling mood as it tells us that there is a ‘monster’ in the lake and that it has been swimming at the bottom, ‘waiting’. The idea that there is a monster is already unsettling as we see these as something disturbing and not to be trusted. It is a malevolent being. It is made worse by the point that the monster is ‘waiting’. There is a sense that it is lurking there, biding its time before it launches an attack or take some innocent.
b) Show how this mood changes in the telling of the rest of the dream.
The mood changes from unsettled to happy and exultant. The word choice demonstrates this – we read the people are ‘clapping’ for Amir and Hassan telling us they are applauded for their actions and therefore revered. The idea of them being revered and celebrated is also suggested in the name-change for the lake, it becomes the ‘Lake of Amir and Hassan, Sultans’. Here they are viewed as heroes and their actions catapults them to the highest rank in the land of ruler.
c) How does this dream mirror a later event in the chapter?
In the dream Amir and Hassan work together to prove there is no monster in the lake and are applauded by the adoring crowd. In the kite tournament, Amir and Hassan win, and are congratulated by the tournament audience. The monster however, comes to represent Assef. He is the lurking danger in the two boys life and although he shouldn’t really be a problem he is the thing that splits the two boys up.
2. Comment on the significance of the description of the snow covered scene on p. 57 in terms of later events. Look closely at word choice and imagery.
The snow in this scene is significant because it comes to represent purity and innocence. We are told that everything ‘glistened with fresh snow’ and that it was a ‘blinding white’. The snow should be seen to represent Hassan. The alliteration of the ‘blameless blue’ drags your attention to the odd word choice. The word choice suggests an event is going to happen for which someone should have taken responsibility. We know this event will be Amir’s betrayal of Hassan.
Building on this Amir notes that Ali “always said a prayer when his son left the house” – Ali knows Hassan is in permanent danger of discrimination because he is a Hazara. It is important that this is mentioned now. It gives a sense of foreboding to the chapter.
Both of these phrases are at odds with the purity image, suggesting something bad is going to happen.
3. Explain how the writer conveys the thrill of kite flying on p. 60
The section on kite flying conveys how thrilling it is in several ways. First of all Amir says a prayer – ‘koran ayat’ – before he plays. This is like a charm to protect himself. A series of similes are used to reinforce the thrill of kite-flying. He says the players are like Olympic athletes showing their gold medals. This suggests that they have gone through a tough competition to get where they are and suggests feelings of victory. The kites are also described as “paper sharks roaming for prey”, this makes it sound like the game they are playing is deadly and dangerous, again ramping up the sense of adrenaline. The last simile is that the kites looked “like shooting stars”. This tells us how beautiful they were to watch.
4. Show how sentence structure helps to reinforce how focused Amir is on winning both the tournament and his father’s approval on p. 61
There are a series of short sentences used which demonstrate Amir’s focus like ‘the blue kite’. His thoughts are becoming very centred on winning. In particular he tells us and convinces himself that “I was going to win”. A colon is used to add information that the competition is near an end point and that now there is only two of them left.
Parenthesis also adds that all Amir was thinking about was winning.
The use of ‘I’ and ‘me’ at the start of sentences demonstrates Amir is aware of only himself and the tournament.
5. Study Hosseini’s description of Amir’s ‘out of body experience’ on p. 62. How does this momentary pause motivate Amir into action?
This pause allows Amir to see what he needs to do. He can see himself and he smiles at himself which pushes him onto victory.
6. Comment on the effectiveness of the structure of the sentence beginning “and that right there was the single greatest moment…” p. 63
A list is used to build up a sense of Amir’s emotions. The sentence begins with the conjunction ‘and’ which tags it on to the rest of the paragraph and emphasises that this is a separate but linked point which expresses this is the happiest Amir had been up until that point. The placement of “at last” at the end of the sentence emphasises just how long Amir had been waiting for Baba’s approval.
7. What is the significance of Hassan’s final word to Amir on p.63
Hassan’s final words to Amir are “for you a thousand times over” shows the extent of Hassan’s devotion to Amir. Also becomes a motif throughout the novel of one’s devotion to another.
8. In light of later events, how do these words seem poignant?
Hassan refuses to give up the kite, proving he meant what he said. Amir’s loyalty to Hassan does not work like this though as he betrays Hassan by not stepping forward.
9. How do word choice and sentence structure reinforce Amir’s buoyant mood in the first paragraph on p. 64?
colon – to expand on how he plans the scene in his head
One word sentences – places a great deal of importance on these things. This shows how much Amir wants them from his father.
Rhetorical questions – Amir doesn’t know what else will happen. He has not planned beyond that point of celebration.
Elipses – a moments pause whilst Amir and the reader envision the scene.
“warrior”, “hero” – word choice, victorious champions of violence .
“prized trophy” – treasured reward for which one worked hard
“bloodied hands” – pride in his wounds, which prove his might
“worthiness” – deserving of his father’s attention.
“grand entrance” – dramatic scene
“Rostram and Sohrab” – pictures a happy ending to the tale, over the sad.
Vindication, salvation, redemption. – everything will be fine now
Could the story of the novel exist without the class difference between Amir and Hassan? Make a case, using specific plot points and historical facts to ground your argument.
Examine the concept of circularity in the novel. What important cycles exist in the characters' lives and histories? How is circularity connected to redemption?
Explore the way in which courage is portrayed in the novel. What constitutes true bravery? What are the key moments when characters are brave and who is the bravest character, if any? Use specific examples from the text to support your argument.
Each character in the novel is shaped not only by his particular circumstances, but by the historical and political events that occur during his life. Consider Sohrab, the only character of his generation; how is he different from the other characters and how are these differences a function of what he has experienced?
Consider the idea of a homeland or "watan." How do you think the novel defines a homeland? Make sure to consider the opinions of Farid and Assef. Also, consider this question in terms of Amir and Sohrab, two characters who leave Afghanistan when they are still growing up.
Even though countless events occur in the novel, the title refers to kite fighting and kite running. What do these activities represent in the novel and why are they so important? To whom or what does the title, "The Kite Runner," refer?
Examine what it means to be American in the novel. How do different characters see America and is there one perspective that comes across most definitively? Some characters you may want to consider: Amir, Baba, General Taheri, Omar Faisal, Farid.
Think about the fathers in the novel. According to the novel, what does it mean to be a father? How can one measure one's success at fathering? Some characters to consider: Baba, Ali, Amir, Hassan, General Taheri, Farid, Wahid, Raymond Andrews.
"Like father, like son." "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree." "Monkey see, monkey do." Use one of these cliches as a starting point to consider the way characters in the story behave. Characters to consider: Amir, Hassan, Assef, Baba, Sohrab, Rahim Khan.
Make a list of instances in the novel where someone is forgiven. What constitutes true forgiveness? Why is forgiveness so important? You may want to consider moments between Hassan and Amir, Baba and Hassan, Hassan and Sanaubar, Amir and Sohrab, General Taheri and Soraya, and Amir and himself.
Think about acts of violence in the novel individually and as a whole. Why is violence so essential to the story? Could the story occur without so much violence? Using your answer from the previous question, explain what you think Hosseini is using violence to say. You may want to consider: Hassan's rape, Sohrab's rape, the stonings at Ghazi Stadium, Assef and Amir's fight, Sohrab's suicide attempt, the story of Kamal and his father, Hassan and Farzana's murders, Sanaubar's appearance at the house, and the activity of kite fighting.