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THEME STATEMENT: In the novel, The kite runner by Khaled Hosseini, from chapters 13-16 , it is evident that life is unpredictable., therefore regretting the past only makes the future diffcult. One should not run away from their past but face what the future will bring upon them. THEMES:Gender roles and inequality.In the modern world, the two major denominations of Islam still exist, the Shia Muslims (known as the hazarat in the kite runner) and the Sunni Muslims and although the relationship between the two is still very strained, it is not as bad as it was in the 1900s. In 2017, Shia Muslims are still living in very poor conditions but they are being treated with a little respect whereas in the 1900s they were treated like absolute crap.Afghanistan was (and some parts still are) divided into two groups, the Sunni Muslims and the Shia Muslims and although both groups had many disputes, the one set of beliefs they had in common was about their women, which brings me to my first theme, gender roles and inequality.The dictionary definition of gender inequality is the idea that women and men are not equal. This refers to an unfair treatment of individuals wholly because of their gender and usually arises from the difference in gender roles, for example, women can work as long as they manage the household as well or men cannot cry because they have to be “strong”.The role of women in the Afghan culture, in the 1900s. is best shown through the characters of Jamila and Soraya. There are many examples in the Kite Runner where the decisions of these women are made by the man and the Afghan community such as when Amir finds out that Jamila is an amazing singer, but the General refuses to let her sing in public because although he loves to listen to songs he believes the “performing of it is best left to those with lesser reputation” (Hosseini, Khaled, 14.186),  and that one of the “conditions” of their marriage was that “Jamila could never sing in public”. She wanted to sing at the wedding,  however, she was not allowed to because General Tahir forbids it. Although in the Afghan community, forbidding your wife to do something might be a small thing, we know that it’s not. Legally General Tahir cannot ‘forbid’ his wife from anything. But, because she is a female and his wife, it becomes her responsibility to do everything according to his likes and dislikes, completely overlooking her likes and dislikes.Or when Soraya and Amir speak at the flea market, they only do so when the General Tahir is not present, because they both know that if he found out about the conversation between Amir and Soraya he would get very upset. When he does find out that they have been meeting, he tells Amir gently but very firmly that it is not allowed for him and Soraya to do that, even in her mother’s presence, stating “you know bachem I have grown rather fond of you. You are a decent boy, I really believe that but–even decent boys need reminding sometimes. So it’s my duty to remind you that you are among peers on this flea market. You see everyone here is a storyteller…”. The emphasis on ‘everyone’ proves that people will talk about Soraya “flirting” with a male that is not related to her which will not only lead to  General Tahir’s pride and honour being  damaged but it is also going to portray Soraya as a ‘women with no respect”, all because she’s a female and she is forbidden to talk to men that are not related to her.  BUT no one will gossip about Amir talking to a female that is not related to him because he is a male and therefore can talk to women without being demonized by his fellow peers.   In some cases, women also experience double standards in the book because of their gender. This can be seen when, at a wedding, Soraya overhears a group of ladies talking about how Amir, who is a very respectable man, made a mistake by marrying Soraya, who is a runaway. Breaking down on her way home, Soraya releases her frustration by telling Amir, “”Their sons go out to nightclubs looking for meat and getting their girlfriends pregnant, they have kids out of wedlock and no one says a god-damn thing. Oh, they’re just men having fun! I make one mistake and suddenly everyone is talking about nang and names, and I have to have my face rubbed in it for the rest of my life.” This very clearly makes Amir understand the amount of luck he has just because of his gender and to us, the readers it gives an example of the extreme sexism there was.Another example of the double standards against women was in chapter 13 when Amir was very careful about engaging in a conversation with Soraya because he understood that although people will find Amir’s decision to talk to Soraya charming, those same people will label Soraya as lochack because she did not let him go. At the end of that day, Amir will be known as a polite gentleman who was forced to have a conversation with Soraya, and Soraya will be known as a girl who traps guys, therefore she not worthy of respect.Memory and the Past:Throughout the Kite runner, every character is haunted by the memories of the past, which is what leads to the overall topic of this book, redemption.Although the past is cruel for most character, some memories are beautiful. Amir remembers his good times with Hassan as a child, and the old, beautiful Kabul before it was destroyed by the war. These good memories bring sadness for what was lost but also hope for what could be.In Afghan culture, every family has its reputation to uphold and with that reputation comes a sense of pride, especially in men, which boosts their ego. After the invasion, many well-respected families immigrated to America, where they did not wield the same amount of power as they did in Afghanistan. After their marriage Soraya tells Amir about her father, stating “…kept his family on welfare and had never held a job in the U.S., preferring to cash government-issued checks than degrading himself with work unsuitable for a man of his stature–he saw flea market only as a hobby, a way to socialize with his fellow Afghans. The general believed that, sooner or later, Afghanistan would be freed, the monarchy restored, and his services would once again be called upon…” (Hosseini, Khaled, 13.186). General Tahir’s memory of Afghanistan was so vivid and beautiful, he refused to believe in reality. He was a highly respected man in Afghanistan, because of his title as a general and he would not work the jobs Baba worked because they were not worthy enough. This shows the amount of ego men had in the 1900s and why they were able to do whatever they want. Although Amir and Soraya are both haunted by their past, Soraya is able to tell her past to Amir so that there are no lies between them but even though Amir wants to tell Soraya about his past, he does not have that courage. This can be seen when Amir thinks to himself, “I envied her. Her secret was out. Spoken. Dealt with. I opened my mouth and almost told her how I’d betrayed Hassan, lied, driven him out, and destroyed a forty-year-old relationship between Baba and Ali. But I didn’t. I suspected there were many ways in which Soraya Tahir was better than me. Courage was just one of them” (Hosseini, Khaled, 13.174).There are many times in the book when Amir buries his past at the back of his mind but when Rahim Khan summons him back to Pakistan, by saying “come, there is a way to be good again” (Hosseini, Khaled, 14.202), Amir knows that now, there is no hiding. He has to face the mistakes he made 38 years ago.Politics and society:The movements of history constantly interfered with the private lives of characters in The Kite Runner. The Soviet War in Afghanistan interrupts Amir’s peaceful, privileged life and forced him and Baba to flee to America. After the fall of the USSR, Afghanistan continues to be ravaged by violence, and when Amir does finally return to find someone very important, the Taliban regime rules the country with violent religious laws.Khaled Hosseini also critiques the sexism and racism of Afghan society throughout the book. Ali and Hassan are Hazaras, an ethnic group that most Afghans (who are Pashtun) consider as slaves, though Hosseini makes it clear that Hassan is Amir’s equal and in many ways morally and intellectually superior. When Amir starts courting Soraya, both Hosseini and Soraya comment on the double standard that Afghan society holds for women and men. Men are forgiven for being promiscuous, but women will be shamed and gossiped about for life. Soraya also comments on how she taught her slave how to read and write, which makes Amir think and reflect about how he treated Hassan.After comforting Soraya and telling her to screw all those who criticized her, Amir wonders why he is different than most Afghan man. “As I drove, I wondered why I was different. Maybe it was because I had been raised by men; I hadn’t grown up around women and had never been exposed firsthand to the double standard with which Afghan society sometimes treated them… But I think a big part of the reason I didn’t care about Soraya’s past was that I had one of my own. I knew all about regret.” (Hosseini, Khaled, 13.190).  Amir is slowly beginning to understand how unfairly women were treated and the amount of power Amir has because he’s a man.Father and Children:The most important relationships in The Kite Runner involve fathers and their children. The central relationship is between Baba and Amir, as Amir struggles to win his father’s affections and Baba tries to love a son who is nothing like him. What makes it worse for Amir is that Hassan gets a lot of praise from Baba whereas Amir is criticized for being the way he is. Later in the book, the relationship between Soraya and her father General Taheri becomes important as well. As an independent girl, Soraya had rebelled against her strict, traditional father, leading them to have a very rocky father-daughter relationship. Symbols:Grand parties.Before the war, Baba used to host parties with more than a 1000 and it was no big deal for him. In Afghanistan, the more extra your parties are, the more respect you gain. After immigrating to America, Baba did not have the wealth he did in Afghanistan, but even in their rough financial circumstances, Baba hosted his son’s wedding like no other. This can be seen when for the wedding “Baba spent  $35000, nearly his balance of his life savings, on the awroussi, the wedding ceremony. He rented a large Afghan banquet hall in Fremont–the man who owned it knew him from Kabul and gave him a substantial amount of discount. Baba paid for the chilas, our matching wedding bands, and for the diamond ring I picked out. He bought my tuxedo and my traditional green suit for the nika–the swearing ceremony.” (Hosseini, Khaled, 13.179)Baba’s funeralBaba’s funeral was symbolic of many things.After losing much of his wealth and business,  the respect that Baba  earned, from his peers, never wavered. On the day of the Funeral “people had to park three or four blocks away to find a spot (Hosseini, Khaled, 13.183). This portrays how many people cared for and highly respected Baba.Baba’s funeral had revealed many realizations to Amir.  After listening to people pay the respect, amir had come to an important understanding, thinking “how much of who I was, what I was, had been defined by Baba and the marks he had left on people’s life. My whole life, I  had been ‘Baba’s son’. Now he was gone, baba couldn’t show me the way anymore. I’d have to find it on my own. The thought of it terrified me”. (Hosseini, Khaled, 13.184).Properly asking for hand in marriage.After General Tahir found out about the conversations between his daughter and Amir, he had told Amir, in a very nice way, to get lost, even though he knew what Amir wanted. This provoked to tell Baba to ask for Soraya’s hand in marriage the ‘traditional’ way. During the engagement party General Tahir greeted Amir as if saying “Now, this is the right way–the Afghan way–to do it bachem” (Hosseini, Khaled, 13.176). This shows that Afghan man had a lot of pride, and if they saw their females talking to makes, that pride would decrease which would lead them to be very rude. Having the parent ask for the hand in marriage, was a sign of respect and integrity. Call from Rahim KhanAfter 38 years of burying the past, one phone call had completely changed Amir’s future. Rahim Khan’s phone symbolized that no one can outrun their past. Regardless of whether or not Amir wanted to go back to Pakistan, he has no choice, he has to go back. After the call ended, Amir had thought to himself, “I thought about a comment Rahim Khan had made just before we hung up. Made it in passing, almost as an afterthought…And again, something in his bottomless black eyes hinted at an unspoken secret between us. Except now I knew he knew…He had always knows…Come there is a way to be good again” (Hosseini, Khaled, 14.202). This symbolizes, how important it is to face your mistakes right now rather than burying them because if not now then later, those same mistakes will come back.Connections:Text to text:Water for Elephants is about a guy named Jacob Jankowski who was a student very close to graduating when a terrible tragedy forces him to leave school. With nowhere else to go, he hops on a passing train and finds it belongs to a traveling circus. Jacob takes a job as an animal caretaker and meets Marlena , a beautiful circus performer. Their shared compassion for a special elephant named Rosie leads to love, but August, Marlena’s cruel husband, stands in their way. The character Amir from the kite runner and August from water for elephants are very similar. Just like Amir, August also overlooks his mistakes and decides to move on. Both, Amir and August use the loyalty of their peers for their own selfish needs.Text to Society.:Martin Luther King Jr. once said “darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that, hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that”. This relates to the kite runner  in many ways because we know that Amir always had a little amount hate in his heart for Hassan, because unlike Hassan Amir could never get Baba to praise him and it was part of that hate that convinces Amir to run when he saw Hassan getting raped. Text to self:I would relate myself to Baba, when he immigrated to America. Just like Baba, I did not fit in at all with the kids at my school. I came from a very different country with values that were nowhere similar to the values over here. What I believed was morally wrong, the kids in my school believed was morally right. I understood what Baba felt, because when I immigrated here from Dubai, I felt the exact same way.

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