Can someone do an analysis on these quotes from The Kite Runner? Much appreciated. "But as I watched a pigeon peck at a bread crumb on the windowsill, I kept thinking of something else Armand/Dr....

Can someone do an analysis on these quotes from The Kite Runner? Much appreciated.

"But as I watched a pigeon peck at a bread crumb on the windowsill, I kept thinking of something else Armand/Dr. Faruqi had said: The impact had cut your upper lip into two. he had said, clean down the middle. Like a harelip." (297)

"Sohrab's hips truck the table, knowing it upside down and spilling the grapes. He fell on them, face first, and stained his shirt purple with grape juice. The table's legs, crossing through the ring of brass balls, were now pointing to the ceiling." (285-286)

"The words spilled out suddenly and unexpectedly, came out before I could yank the leash. I wished I could take them back. Swallow them. But they were out. I had crossed a line, and whatever little hope I had of getting out alive had vanished with those words." (284)

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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All quotes must be analyzed within the context of the book.  They are inextricably connected to what has gone or what follows in this story. 

The first quote is significant because Amir's injury is a match for the harelip with which Hassan was born, a harelip fixed with surgery, paid for by Amir's (and Hassan's) father.  This kind of surgery, no matter how skilled, always leaves at least a slight scar.  So now Amir has a scar similar to that Hassan had.  Hassan, of course, is gone now, but Amir could be said to be bearing the scar for him. And it is also a bit of a badge of honor for Amir, who is finally trying to do things right.  This detail gives the book a satisfying symmetry, one of Hosseini's writing strengths.

The second quote has great significance, too, for a number of reasons.  Sohrab's fall on the grapes and the subsequent staining is an echo for Amir of the time he and Hassan, as children, had an encounter in which Amir "pelted Hassan with pomegranates" (289), trying to get a reaction from Hassan. Hassan did not react and only further stained himself with the red juice of a pomegranate, rather than fighting back.  So, in both instances, we have the stain of a fruit, in one case purple, and in the other case red, and we have the staining of the father and the staining of the son. We also have Amir "at peace" (289) for the first time since this early incident occurred, because he is trying to rescue Sohrab and no longer needs to feel what was really self-contempt for all of his actions against Hassan, along with all of his failures to act for Hassan.  The brass balls in the table are significant  for three reasons. They are a foreshadowing of the brass in the brass knuckles that Assef proceeds to use against Amir.  And it is one of those brass balls that Sohrab uses in his slingshot against Assef, to rescue himself and Amir from Assef.  Finally, the brass ball in the slingshot is meant to remind us that it was Hassan who rescued Amir from Assef earlier in the book with his own slingshot.  This parallel is a particularly pleasing plot element. 

The third quote is important because Amir, while he has crossed the line between possibly saving himself and what now looks like certain death, has finally seized the courage and righteousness to face down evil.  This is something that he has consistently managed to avoid doing through most of his life, for example, when Hassan is raped and when Hassan and his father are banished from the household.  If you recall, the book opens with Amir being presented with "a way to be good again" (2), and this is the point at which Amir seizes the moment to do so. 

The entire novel is filled with such echoes, parallels, and symmetry, making so very many quotes from the book worthy of note! 

Sources:

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