How is the theme of power presented in The Kite Runner?

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

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I think that Hosseini's work displays the theme of power in a couple of ways.  One specific way would be through Assef.  In this rendering, power is shown to be predicated upon authority and control.  As a youngster, Assef is able to display power in the social stratification that places he and Amir above someone like Hassan.  It is this display that compels him to rape Hassan. If nothing else, the rape is representative of how Assef has power and how Hassan lacks it.  This helps to bring out how Hosseini defines power in modern day Afghanistan:  Someone has power at the expense of someone else.  Assef carries himself in this manner as a member of the Taliban, another construction of power that is more zero sum than anything else.  The Taliban are shown to hold power over others because they possess it and others do not.  The exclusivity of power is what enables them to establish and consolidate their control over others.  In this, power is shown to be something that excludes other and in this exclusion lies a dramatic decrease in power.  When Hassan leads the stoning of the couple in public or the imprisonment of Sohrab, it is a reminder of how power can be designed to limit worlds at the cost of others' expansion.


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