Discussion Topic

The portrayal of life and suffering under Taliban repression in "The Kite Runner."

Summary:

The portrayal of life and suffering under Taliban repression in "The Kite Runner" is stark and harrowing. The novel depicts the brutal control and fear imposed on the Afghan people, highlighting public executions, the suppression of women's rights, and the overall climate of terror. This environment profoundly affects the characters, shaping their lives and decisions in significant ways.

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How effectively does "The Kite Runner" present life under Taliban repression?

How effective is “The Kite Runner” in presenting the repression of living under the Taliban?

How effective is The Kite Runner in presenting the repression of living under the Taliban?

The scene in the soccer stadium really communicates the horror of living under the Taliban. During the soccer game, the half-time entertainment is a man and woman being stoned to death for adultery. There is something chillingly routine about their brutal executions. Amir wears a fake beard to avoid arrest by the Taliban. No expression of individuality or dissent goes unpunished.

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How effectively does "The Kite Runner" present life under Taliban repression?

This is really an opinion question.  I would suggest answering that it was effective in showing life under the taliban.  Then giving various examples of the ways in which it showed the real situation under the taliban regime.  Examples could include; Ali was killed by a land mine. The murder of Hassan, his wife and son, for refusing to give up their house and leave. The issues with the orphanages and Sohrab's status as an orphan, as well as, living conditions after the invasion by Russia can be pointed to as effects of the strident rule of the Taliban.

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How does "The Kite Runner" depict the sufferings of Afghans under the Taliban?

There's not much to add to what the previous posts have mentioned, but if you want a more thorough discussion of what life is like under the Taliban, read Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns.  Unlike The Kite Runner, which is only partially during Taliban rule, a portion of Suns focuses on characters who endure the Soviet invasion and live under Taliban rule.  It provides an especially vivid picture of the oppression of women in the country.

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How does "The Kite Runner" depict the sufferings of Afghans under the Taliban?

It is hard to argue with this statement.  The relevant parts of the novel clearly do show that the people of Afghanistan suffered while ruled by the Taliban (assuming that they stuff that happens in the novel is accurate).

There are a few examples in the book that make this clear.  Amir has to wear a fake beard for fear of getting trouble with the religous enforcers.  Once in the city, he is told not to look at the young men in the trucks for fear that they will kill him just for looking at them.  He tells of the couple being stoned to death for committing adultery.  He mentions the dead body hanging near a restaurant and he says that no one even seems to notice.

All of these things show that life under the Taliban was repressive and harsh.

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How does Hosseini portray the horror of the Taliban in The Kite Runner?

The personal terror and horror of the Taliban is shown very clearly in chapter 22 when Amir goes to the house where he hopes to get Sohrab back.  Amir is immediately patted down and surrounded by armed men who pull of his beard and mock him.  He sees the Talib who just came from the public execution and notices the still fresh blood on that man's clothes.  Amir is told guesome stories about how the Taliban took control of the land and all of this carried a tone of underlying menace.  Then Assef walks in and all of the childhood fears and recriminations come flooding back.  Assef launches a brutal physical attack on Amir -- he is lucky to be alive, and is only alive because Sohrab uses his sling-shot and shoots Assef in the eye, causing him to retreat from the assault and allowing Amir and Sohrab to escape. 

The details of the chapter and the atmosphere Hosseini creates have readers on the edge of their seat here because this is the scene that the novel has been building to and we care about the characters and the outcome of the events.

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How does Hosseini portray the horror of the Taliban in The Kite Runner?

For me, one central event that is key to bringing to life the horror of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime is in Chapter 21, when Amir goes to the stadium to meet the man who took Sohrab to get him back. The Taliban is famed for its executions that took place in football stadiums to ensure maximum audience numbers, and this description really seeks to bring alive the terror and the horror of these public executions that are carried out as a form of entertainment. Note the following description:

The man in the hole was now a mangled mess of blood and shredded rags. His head slumped forward, chin on chest. The Talib in the John Lennon sunglasses was looking down at another man squatting next to the hole, tossing a rock up and down in his hand. The squatting man had one end of a stethoscope to his ears and the other pressed on the chest of the man in the hole. He removed the stethoscope from his ears and shook his head no at the Talib in the sunglasses. The crowd moaned.

The description of this slaughter of a man in such a public way shows the true brutality of the Taliban regime and indicates how Afghan society has changed so drastically for the worse. You might want to re-read this Chapter and pay attention to how Amir compares what he sees now in the stadium with how things used to be and consider how the horror is evoked in the almost festival-like atmosphere that is created. It is this description, above others, that brings the realities of life under the Taliban to life.

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How does Hosseini portray the horror of the Taliban in The Kite Runner?

The senseless killing of Hassan and his wife was one vivid portrayal of the brutality and profiling the Taliban embodies. The fall from privileged status of Amir's family and friends is another. The destruction of all his childhood locales was a stark reminder of the destruction of innocence in warfare. Of course, using Aseef as the role model for a Taliban soldier was a bit contrived, I thought. Assef's drug use and child molestation does not fit with Muslim beliefs. However, the groups of Taliban in pickup trucks enforcing their brand of "justice" was much more believable. Public stonings for crimes of adultery also seems to fit in with their beliefs. The overall abject poverty and destruction with vigilantism drove the point home.

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