How can knowing the historical or cultural context of a story help your understanding of The Kite Runner?  If you could use some examples from the kite runner that would help a lot! Thanks! ;)

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first time I read The Kite Runner, I knew little about the culture of Afghanistan. I had a rudimentary understanding of the civil war that had been going on there, but I did not understand the differences between the many factions that were fighting. Since my completion of the novel, and Khaled Hosseini's follow-up, A Thousand Splendid Suns, I have read many articles about the history of Afghanistan since the 1970s, and I certainly would have benefited from having done this research before reading the two novels.

Just a few examples of improved clarity:

  • Cultural differences between the Pashtun, Tajik and Hazara ethnic groups.
  • Knowledge of the geographical regions of Afghanistan.
  • Differences between the Sunni and Shi'a Muslims.
  • Causes, outcomes and divisions of the various civil wars that took place during the 1990s.
  • Knowledge of many of the real-life political and military leaders mentioned.
  • Anything Taliban-related.


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The Kite Runner

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