What is the importance of the American section of The Kite Runner?I am writing an essay for this question and have included the ideas about how America reflects Amir's hope for forgiveness and the...

What is the importance of the American section of The Kite Runner?

I am writing an essay for this question and have included the ideas about how America reflects Amir's hope for forgiveness and the fact that he desperately wants to escape from his past.  But I'm not sure about how to explain this.  What main points should I include?

Expert Answers
scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The American section of the novel serves several purposes.  As you stated, it does indeed illustrate Amir's hope that he can put Kabul and its events far behind him.  The section set in America also:

1. Highlights the differences between Baba and Amir.  Amir narrates that Baba "loved the idea of America, but living there gave him an ulcer." For Baba, America takes away his prestige and wealth that he enjoyed in Kabul. He is far from the culture and country that he loved so much and would not have fled to the States if it were not for Amir.  Amir, on the other hand, sees America as a place where he can "bury the past," even though he discovers later that the past "claws its way out again."

2. The American section also allows the reader a glimpse into the life of an immigrant, especially the lives of those who come to the States for political or religious asylum.  Hosseini makes his readers sympathize with Baba's isolation and frustration at losing almost everything that was important to him and his not being able to participate in business or political matters.  Readers also understand from this section why so many immigrants ban together (such as Baba at the flea market)--there are security and comfort in finding others with one's culture and language.

One thing that I've found when I teach this novel to high school juniors is that they don't enjoy the American section nearly as much as the two parts set in Afghanistan--I think it is because they love the uniqueness of the Afghan culture and truly enjoy learning more about that region.

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The Kite Runner

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