In "The Kite Runner," how is Soraya and Amir's relationship part Afghan and part American?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The American component of the relationship between Soraya Taheri and Amir is in the idea that each of them wish to pursue their own lives.  Soraya wishes to become a teacher and to live her own life in accordance to the freedom that America offers.  For Amir, his own identity and his own sense of narrative is equally defined by the freedom intrinsic to America.  Soraya has acted upon this freedom, as seen in her running away to Virginia to live with a man that was not her husband.  The Afghan culture, though, is also evident in their relationship.  The days in which Amir would see her again at the market was described in a uniquely Afghan manner: "starless night tormented lovers kept vigil enduring the endless dark waiting for the sun to rise and bring with it their loved one." This yearning and sense of pain is a part of the Afghan element that is a part of their relationship.  At the same time, the arranged marriage element, seeking consent from the elders, is an Afghan cultural construct, not an American one.  There is also an Afghan cultural remnant evident when the couple feels emptiness and pain at their inability to conceive a child.  It is here where I think that another element of Afghan culture can be seen in their relationship, as the avenue of adoption is more openly received in the West as in Afghanistan.


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