What did you learn about Afghanistan from reading The Kite Runner?I know it's impossible to answer my question as in 'me' so please answer them in your opinion and your perspective. Thanks in...

What did you learn about Afghanistan from reading The Kite Runner?

I know it's impossible to answer my question as in 'me' so please answer them in your opinion and your perspective.

Thanks in advance!


Asked on by dydwlsxod

3 Answers | Add Yours

lmetcalf's profile pic

lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

I am in my mid-forties and only know about Afghanistan from the time of the Soviet invasion and the subsequent Taliban regime.  My mind's-eye picture is a sandy, dusty, barren third world country. I was surprised by the modern feeling of Afghanistan prior to the Taliban takeover.  Little details such as their cars and the modern things in their homes surprised me!  Descriptions of the land with trees and grass and yards also made me re-think my naive suppositions about Afghanistan.

The novel made me especially sad to think about the deplorable physical and social conditions of the Afghan people today.  We hear snippets on the news, but this novel made it much more real.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Because I am a social studies teacher, I read a lot of nonfiction and therefore knew about the terrible conditions in Afghanistan already.  But one thing that I thought the author did a good job of was dramatizing the depth of religious oppression imposed by the Taliban.  I think a reader coming to this book without my prior knowledge would be impressed by how harsh the Taliban are towards people who do not conform to their view of religious purity.

akannan's profile pic

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

Posted on

Afghanistan is probably on the short list of "saddest modern historical development."  That's what I learned from the book.  Part of what makes the book so powerful is that the ravaged nature of Afghanistan makes its history in the modern setting so sad.  The years of fighting the Soviet Union, the belief that peace and tranquility will result with the Taliban, and the horrors that followed have contributed to making Afghanistan a land where sadness and misery follows both the land, itself, and the people who have to live there.  I think that it goes beyond the "war on terror" and goes to the very heart of those who live there.  The vision of the nation that is brought out in the book is one where the "best lack all conviction while the worst are filled with passionate intensity," to quote Yeats' "The Second Coming."  Any setting where a character like Assef could seize power and be seen as force of political authority is indicative of how difficult things are in Afghanistan.  Finally, I think that the narrative does a great job of bringing out the most sad component of all in the children of Afghanistan.  The Sohrabs who are there, children whose parents have been killed due to years of war and domestic unrest, are reminders of how strife has lasting effects.  The images of filled orphanages is one vision of sadness, but when we consider what is being done to these children by the Assefs of the nation, sadness moves into horror.  The fact that Amir must rescue Sohrab from this is a symbolic reminder to everyone that action needs to be taken when injustice is present.  In this case, the narrative demands that the "falcon" hear the "falconer," to apply Yeats in another manner.

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