What literary devices were used in this passage? (chapter 22 of The Kite Runner): "WHAT'S SO FUNNY?" Assef bellowed. Another rib snapped, this time left lower. What was so funny was that, for the...
What literary devices were used in this passage? (chapter 22 of The Kite Runner):
"WHAT'S SO FUNNY?" Assef bellowed. Another rib snapped, this time left lower. What was so funny was that, for the first time since the winter of 1975, I felt at peace. I laughed because I saw that, in some hidden nook in a corner of my mind, I'd even been looking forward to this. I remembered the day on the hill I had pelted Hassan with pomegranates and tried to provoke him. He'd just stood there, doing nothing, red juice soaking through his shirt like blood. Then he'd taken the pomegranate from my hand, crushed it against his forehead. Are you satisfied now? he'd hissed. Do you feel better? I hadn't been happy and I hadn't felt better, not at all. But I did now. My body was broken—just how badly I wouldn't find out until later—but I felt healed. Healed at last. I laughed.
The first literary device in the selected passage is the flashback to an earlier point in the novel when Amir had taken his anger out on Hassan. Amir has a great deal of guilt dating back to that earlier moment, and he receives the blows from Assef with a kind of masochistic relief because he feels that he deserves them. The flashback thus helps us to understand why Amir is reacting with laughter to such a savage beating from Assef.
Another literary device is the rhetorical question that Hassan asks Amir during the flashback scene. Hassan asks, "Are you satisfied now?" Hassan didn't want Amir to answer this question, but asked it to make a point. And the point was that Amir would never be able to satisfy or appease his own guilt by taking it out on Hassan. There is a second rhetorical question when Hassan asks, "Do you feel better?" Again, Hassan doesn't ask this question expecting an answer. He asks it to make Amir understand that treating him like this will not make him, Amir, feel any better about himself.
A third literary device in the selected passage is the repetition of the word "healed." Amir repeats that the blows from Assef made him feel like he was "healed" to imply the relief of the healing. Amir has been waiting so long to feel this kind of pain, to balance the pain he has caused to others, that to finally receive it comes as such a tremendous relief to him.
Mental images of Assef bellowing and smashing the pomegranate against his head can be created by readers. Engaged and imaginative readers can see Assef screaming at Amir, hitting himself in the head with the pommegranate, and the juice and seeds running down his face onto his shirt.
A simile is found in the following comparison: the pomegranate juice to blood. Amir recalls the pomegranate juice soaking into Assef'sa shirt in the same way blood does. This allows readers to assume that Amir had seen blood soak into a shirt--considering he recognizes the image as the juice soaks into Assef's shirt.
Dialgoue is seen in the conversation between Assef and Amir.
When Amir goes back to another time, outside of the current talk with Assef, a flashback is seen. In the flashback, Amir recalls when he had "pelted Hassan with pomegranates."