I need help finding evidence to support my answers to these Kite Runner questions with more detail: 1. Explain the significance of the antecedent action in the novel. 2. In the novel, select the...

I need help finding evidence to support my answers to these Kite Runner questions with more detail:

1. Explain the significance of the antecedent action in the novel.

2. In the novel, select the part that you consider could be most easily eliminated and why.

3. Explain the climax of this novel, specifically detailing not only where the conflict is resolved, but how it is resolved.

4. Explain the information provided in the denouement.

5. Discuss how Rahim Khan is important to the overall impact of the novel. Consider what the novel would lose without him.

6. Explain one or more of the insights about human nature that Hosseini had gained and then communicated via his novel. (I am a bit confused on this.)

Expert Answers
Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I am going to respond to all of the questions but #2.  For all the others, there are clear "right" answers, but #2 is very much a matter of opinion, and your opinion is at least as important as anyone else's.  You might want to consider how much Hosseini should have written in providing all the details about the various wars that take place throughout the story. 

1. What is antecedent action?  If you understand this term, you will see why this is such an important question. This is action that comes before the story starts, simply put.  As the characters come onto stage, they bring with them histories that we learn of only gradually, histories that have a powerful impact on the story that unfolds. 

First, we have Baba and Ali having been raised together, but not as friends.  Ali was a Hazara orphan, taken in by the family and taken care of, but Hazaras were of a lower "caste" than Baba's family, who were Pashtun, so he occupied a lower rung in the family. It is also worth mentioning that Ali had polio as a child and was left with a problem that leads to the other significant antecedent part of the plot.  As the story of Amir and Hassan begins, Ali and Hassan are part of Baba's household as servants.  Thus the ethnic inequalities in Afghanistan and the circumstances of Ali's presence in a Pashtun family set the stage for the action of the novel, the way Amir treats Hassan, the way Assef regards any Hazara, the way that Ali and Hassan are left behind to die, and the subsequent turmoil in Afghanistan after the Russians leave. 

Second, Ali is presented as Hassan's father until about two-thirds of the way through the story, when Amir learns that Baba is Hassan's father, having had a relationship with Hassan's mother, who left as soon as she had Hassan.  Neither Amir nor Hassan was aware of this, Hassan having died before having found out, and Amir learning of this only from Rahim Khan.  Once Amir is aware of this, he is able to look back and understand why Baba treated Hassan as he did, why he always felt as though he was competing with Hassan for Baba's love, and why Hassan's death is even more tragic than he had realized.  He also becomes motivated to save Sohrab, who is not only his means of redemption for all he has done to harm Hassan, but who is also his blood. 

3. You may or may not disagree about this, but I would say that the climax of the story occurs when Amir rescues Sohrab.  All the action up to this point is clearly rising action, leading us to this culmination in the plot.  The conflict is resolved in the scene between Assef and Amir, with Sohrab present, at a house Assef has commandeered, more now a military compound for him and his men.  Amir fights bravely, but it is Sohrab's quick and accurate aim with a slingshot that rescues them from Assef, who loses his eye in the battle.

4. The denouement of the novel follows the climax, as all elements of the story are wrapped up. We see Amir and Sohrab safely to the United States, after great bureaucratic obstacles and Sohrab's attempted suicide,  with Sohrab living with Soraya and Amir.  Sohrab clearly is suffering from all he has been through and has a difficult time adjusting, but as the book ends, Amir persuades Sohrab to join him in flying a kite, actually manages to get him to smile a bit, and then volunteers to act as his kite runner, as Hassan had acted as his kite runner all those years ago. This is a lovely way to wrap up the story, offering hope for Sohrab in a new land with his uncle and aunt and providing the redemption that Amir has finally so bravely sought.    

5. Rahim Khan has a few important roles in this story. First, he is able to love and appreciate Amir in a way that Baba cannot. Khan is in this way a bit of a foil for Baba, as a reflective man, rather than a man of action.  He appreciates Amir's writing, for example, something Baba seems impatient about, something Baba thinks is foolish.  So Khan is a father figure and a mentor for Amir.  Second, Khan ultimately acts as a conscience for Amir, until Amir can find his own conscience.  It is Khan who offers Amir the opportunity to right the wrongs that were done to Hassan (and Ali) by Baba and by Amir.  Without Khan in the story, Amir would have gone on living in guilt, fear, and regret. Without Khan, Sohrab would have been likely to have remained in the clutches of Assef. 

6. Hosseini is a wise man, and his novel reflects this.  He understands the imperfection of mankind, as evidenced by his portrayal of the imperfections of his characters, who are shown not so much as evil, but as people with backgrounds that formed their characters in imperfect ways.  Even Assef, who is the very worst character in the novel, is explained by his background. Hosseini also understands that redemption is always possible; the overriding theme of his novel is "There is a way to be good again" (2).  He also has great insight into the pain and tragedy that inequalities create, as we see in the outcome for Ali and Hassan, as well as an understanding of the devastation and chaos that war brings to a country.  He sees the beauty of friendship, the frailty of love, the difficult relationships that fathers and sons have, and the strengths of ties of blood. 

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The Kite Runner

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