Topics for Further Study

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  • What would have happened if Amir had fought to rescue Hassan from Assef, instead of running away? Would Hassan and Ali have moved with Baba and Amir to California? How would the boys'lives have been different? Create a timeline of events and milestones for each boy as their lives were presented in the novel, then create a new timeline for each boy to reflect how his life might have changed if Amir had saved Hassan.
  • Return to the middle chapters of the novel, when Amir's wife Soraya interacts with her father and mother. Think about the ways that traditional Afghan culture, as Hosseini represents it in the novel, appears to have differing expectations of men and women. How have Soraya Taheri and her mother Khanum Taheri been affected by the ways that women's behavior is constrained by traditional Afghan culture? Write a two-page essay in which you discuss how the politics of gender in Afghan culture affects the characters in the novel, using concrete examples from the book to support your arguments.
  • Gather in a small group and study the scene from pages 70 to 79. Then review the confrontation between Amir and Assef in Chapter 22. How has Amir changed in the years between the early scene and the later one? Next, think about the letter from Hassan that Rahim Khan presents to Amir. Suppose Amir wrote a letter in response. As a group, write a one-page letter in which Amir explains to Hassan how his character, goals, or understanding of the world has changed. Provide specific details from the novel to support Amir's claims.
  • Think about Amir's relationship with Baba as it is detailed in Chapter 2 through Chapter 7. Make a list of the adjectives that describe Amir. Now make a list of adjectives that describe Baba. How are Baba and Amir alike? How are they different? In a short essay, describe the relationship between Baba and Amir, giving at least four concrete examples from the novel to support your points.
  • Twice in the novel, the character Assef is associated with Adolf Hitler. Research the early twentieth-century German nationalist movement that led to Nazism. Based on the novel's depiction of the Taliban regime, make a list comparing and contrasting how citizens responded to the two regimes. How did Nazism affect Germany from the 1930s to the 1940s? How were the effects of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s similar or different? Include specific examples from the novel to support your arguments.

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