We as people read for so many deferent reasons; to entertain and educate ourselves, to escape reality, to better ourselves, and to become more aware of the world around us. Every book offers us a unique chance to experience at least one of these things, and Chalked Hazel’s novel The Kite Runner Is no exception. Written and narrated by an Afghan native, The Kite Runner follows the fictional but realistic Afghan boy Emir through his life’s conflicts, spanning from early childhood well Into adulthood. People have very different opinions on this novel, and debate about whether or not this novel should be read is certainly understandable.
However, the novel The Kite Runner by Chalked Hussein should remain a part of the World Literature II curriculum, for it provides adolescents with a realistic view of modern day Afghanistan, helps close cultural gap between Americans and Middle Easterners, and illustrates numerous literary elements that students may have minimal exposure to previously. The surplus of Information made available by news and media sites undoubtedly plays a crucial role In supplying the general public with International news that would otherwise be unavailable.
However, It has also led to a many people having a false sense of knowing everything’. In other words, when people are provided with a just bit of knowledge, perhaps a fraction of the total story, they will form opinions on the whole situation. Not only will this story often be missing crucial pieces of information, but depending on the source, can also be largely bias. No one is more a victim to this incomplete and bias information than children and adolescents- the people who will eventually grow up to be our nation’s political leaders and voters.
With little “real life” experience, young people have little to form opinions off of other than what they hear in snippets on the news or what their parents and mentors pass own to them. As a result, other people’s opinions will often settle in their heads. If you wish to test this, gather yourself a group of adolescents, ages 13 to 17. If you were to ask them what the first thing that comes to mind when they hear the word “Afghanistan,” don’t you think that a large percent of them would say something along the lines of “Terrorism, 9/1 1, AH-Qaeda,” et cetera?
Kids that have very little exposure to the Middle East already have formed very negative opinions on it. Though it’s true that at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what kids think, it’s important to recognize that these kids are eventually going to grow up to be our nation’s political leaders and voters. While they will hopefully gain more information as they age, a lot of that info will be from the same incomplete or bias material their elders heard originally and passed down to them.
Young people should be provided with another source of Information to form opinions off of, preferably a primary source from a middle Eastern point of view. While It will not and should not cause them to completely forget everything else they’ve heard regarding the Middle East, It ill help to alleviate some of the unfair pollens and stereotypes caused by American part of Cheshire High’s World Lit II curriculum to provide kids with another source of information to form opinions off of.
Additionally, though this book is largely based out of Afghanistan and narrated by an Afghan native, the themes such as friendship, loyalty, and redemption are applicable to life no matter what culture you are from. Reading this book helps to enforce the idea that even if a person is from a different continent, they are likely going through some of the same if not very similar struggles as you. As a reader, we follow Emir through a number of conflicts with his peers, parents and guardians, and especially with himself.
Now, you can argue that some of Emir’s struggles are directly related to his Afghan upbringing, and are therefore foreign and unrepeatable to your average Chorine High School sophomore. However, on the flip side of that, the novel actually does a beautiful Job illustrating that though the struggles the characters may go through are unique to their culture, the underlying conflicts are the same. For example, to the admittedly limited extent of my knowledge, dealing with the guilt of avian stood and watched your best friend (who is also secretly your sibling) get raped by bullies for the prize of a kite is not a common struggle among my peers.
However, bullying is certainly something that very many if not all high school sophomores have had to deal with at one point or another. The internal conflict as to whether or not you should stand up for yourself and others is quite common as well. When Emir is standing in the alley, he knows he must decide whether or not to defend Hosannas and risk losing Baby’s affection, or let Hosannas pay for his cowardliness and selfishness. “l had… One] final opportunity to decide who I was going to be.
I could [stand] up for Hosannas- the way he’d stood up for me all those times in the past- and accept whatever would happen to me. Or I could run. In the end, I ran. ” (Hussein 73). Almost every teenager has had to decide to stand up for others at their own personal expense or let someone else take the fall. If they chose the latter, they have also more than likely had to deal with the guild that came with it. What teenagers may not realize though, is that someone else their age is probably dealing with a very similar struggle, and that this person might Just live on another continent.
The Kite Runner helps to reinforce the idea that the conflicts American teenagers face everyday aren’t so different from those teenagers are facing halfway around the globe. Not only are the themes in the book relatable, but the characters as well. The characters Emir, Baby, Hosannas, Sorrow, Ihram Khan, and many more, are all extremely well developed as well as very realistic. Be it Emir’s cowardice and extreme self punishment, Hessian’s selflessness, Baby’s distance, Corpora’s kindness, or Safest cruelty, no reader will have trouble finding a character relatable to him or herself or o someone they know.
Even some of the smallest subtleties hidden in the novel can serve as bonding ground between the reader and the characters. For example, Alias protectiveness over Hosannas is something almost everyone could relate to in one way or another. After Emir frames Hosannas with stealing his watch, All decides that he will leave Baby after 40 years of friendship in the interest of his son. When the four of protectiveness over Hosannas. “Life here is impossible for us now, Gaga sahib’s. We’re leaving. ‘ All drew Hosannas to him, curled his arm around his son’s shoulder.
It was a retroactive gesture and I knew whom All was protecting him from. ” (Hussein 106). Everyone could relate this is instant to either a parent figure that protected them, or a time they felt the need to protect someone they cared about. Similarly to themes, the relation a reader will build with a character will emphasize the idea that even someone from a different continent who speaks a different language than you can be very similar in many ways. Vie hit the nail over the head with cultural aspects of The Kite Runner, but now I’m going to ask you to forget all of that for a moment.
As said before, one of the reasons people read is to gain knowledge. Though The Kite Runner does a beautiful Job providing us with information on modern day Afghanistan, the knowledge we seek doesn’t necessarily have to be of a person or a place; it can simply be about literary elements and techniques. The required reading of World Literature I seems to focus more on a classical style of a writing. Literature such as the Odyssey, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Romeo and Juliet are all considered classics. While students should definitely be required to read this form of writing, it is a bit… Dated. Many sophomore’s at CSS may not have experienced many more modern writing techniques such as flashbacks, flashcards, foreshadowing, full circle, figurative language etc. Its essence and cultural aspects ignored, The Kite Runner illustrates a number of literary elements that students may not have much exposure to. The very first chapter of this book demonstrates this wonderfully; in two short pages, it is full of figurative language, and contains flashbacks and flashcards. “l became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975.
I member the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into the alley near the frozen creek. ” (Hussein 1). When Emir narrates this passage for us, we have no idea who he is, where he is, how old he is, or what he’s talking about. All in all, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Two pages later, he’s narrating about his childhood, and it’s not until late into the book that we realize what was actually happening on the first page of the novel. This is a unique style of writing that is not very common, but should definitely still be recognized.
Many literary elements re used throughout the novel that Chorine High sophomores may have previously had minimal exposure to, and therefore should remain a part of the World Literature II curriculum. Turn on the news, or Google “Afghanistan”. Ask a stranger what they think when they hear the word “Muslim”. Sit and watch a documentary on 9-11 . With the tension between American and the Middle East, it’s extremely difficult not to associate Afghanistan with a negative and even hateful aura. In our hearts, we all know under no circumstance should a person be Judged for the actions of others in their country.
However with all the conflict occurring, we often forget that. In short, Chalked Hussein’s The Kite Runner provides adolescents with a picture of modern day Afghanistan from the point of view a native and helps close the cultural gap between literary elements and techniques. To take this out of the World Literature II curriculum at Chorine High School would benefit no one, Afghan or American. I truly hope that you take these points into consideration while deciding whether or not The Kite Runner will remain a part of the World Literature II curriculum. Thank you for your consideration.