Different Aspects of Afghan Culture in the Kite Runner Essay
Hosseini uses a variety of literary devices, syntax features and different feelings and attitudes to portray different aspects of afghan culture. Different characters seem to have different views towards cultures, such as Assef and the Hazara’s and Baba’s views of Muslim tradition and the Mullah Fatiullah Khan, with Hosseini using literary devices such as Foreshadowing to portray these views. Amir believes in a lot of Afghans culture and the religious traditions he gets taught, however Hosseini also shows he doesn’t believe in some traditions, such as the Buzkashi tournament.
The theme of social statuses is very clear throughout the chapters, and includes massive contrasts in Afghan culture between Amir and Hassan. Moreover, different themes he uses to represent Afghan culture include kite flying, loyalty, courage, honour, low statuses of women in society and hierarchy. There are a lot of references to Afghanistan’s traditional cultures of people and Assefs portrays his views of negativity towards Hazaras, stating his opinions on Hitler in “a great leader.
A man with vision. The simple sentences show he has an idolizing persona for him, and believes the new president should follow his plan on getting rid of the Hazaras, portrayed in “Now I have a vision and I’m going to share it with our new president” The abstract noun “Vision” reveals his strong negativity towards Hazaras, and the repetition of the abstract noun emphasises his seriousness even more, in “That’s my vision”. Assef also portrays his agreeing with the Taliban, shown in the short simple sentence “Too late for hitler, But not for us” This could also foreshadow what happens later in the book, as Assef actually becomes involved with the Taliban.
The different afghan cultures are further portrayed in the social statuses of Amir and Hassan, and the description used to portray their households. Amir’s house is described with a lot of detail, whereas Hassan’s in contrast, is described as minimal and simple. Amir illustrates “Gold stitched tapestries, which Baba had bought in Calcutta, lined the walls; a crystal chandelier hung from the vaulted ceiling” the use of asyndetic lists portrays the room is dynamic, well decorated and almost never ending. Amir describes “Intricate mosaic tiles, handpicked by Baba in Isfahan, covered the floors of the four bathrooms. The description consists of a lexical field of wealth and fortune, emphasising the social status of Amir and the grand objects he can own, compared to Hassan, shown in “in the shadows of a loquat tree, was the servants’ home, a modest little hut where Hassan lived with his father”. Hosseini’s use of the metaphor “modest” further portrays the lifestyle of Hassan and the hut being “in the shadows” expands and highlights on the social status of Hassan, which is much less than Amir. Furthermore, the social class of Amir could additionally be portrayed when Hassan receives a “birthday present” from Baba, which is an operation.
Amir states “There was no gift wrapped box in sight. No bag. No toy. ” The minor sentences and repetition emphasise Amir’s expectations, which could relate to his social class, as if he actually expects there should be some sort of wrapped gift, and also shows how well off he is compared to Hassan, as he must receive these sort of gifts from Baba. An aspect that highlights the low statuses of women in Afghan culture, is portrayed in the soldiers rude description of Sanaubar, Hassan’s mother. The solider speaks with lack of respect and insolence to Hassan in “Hey, you! I know you”.
The overuse of the pronoun “you” suggests the soldier has no respect for Hassan because of his status in society. When Hassan ignores the soldier, he is denounced for being a Hazara in “You! The Hazara! Look at me when I’m talking to you! ” Hosseini’s use of imperatives in the soldier’s dialogue increases the soldier’s authority over Hassan. The soldier continues his impudence when he begins speaking about Sanaubar, in a very vulgar and crude way, and the “shaking hands with the others, grinning” imples the other soldiers are praising him, and suggests Sanaubar is a possession, which eventually upsets Hassan.
There are various references to Muslim tradition and beliefs and there is an active role of Islam on the story and its characters. Religious views of afghan culture are portrayed when Amir asks about the views of Mullah Fatiullah Khan. Baba portrays his views of the Mullah Fatiullah Khan as negative and insulting in “understand this, and understand it now, Amir: you’ll never learn anything of value from those bearded idiots” the use of repetition puts Baba’s point across to Amir, and the colloquial insult emphasises his thoughts as only negative.
Amir however, shows respect, which is a key tradition in Afghan culture, in “You mean Mullah Fatiullah Khan? ” Amir directly addresses them, which is a massive contrast with Baba’s colloquial slur. Baba goes on to emphasise his negative thoughts, in “Piss on the beards of all those self righteous monkeys. ” The taboo imperative and Hosseini’s use of cultural language shows Baba has no other thought about them. Within Kite Fighting, there are no rules, suggesting kites are a symbol for freedom. Hosseini uses foreshadowing to emphasise the Taliban and the effects that were brought when they were introduced.
When the Taliban are introduced, kite fighting is banned, subsequently taking away the right of freedom. Amir describes Afghans as “cherishing customs but abhorring rules”. This emphasises the freedom of kite fighting and the alliteration could highlight how important Afghans think traditions are. Amir states “And so it was with kite fighting. The Rules were simple: No rules. Fly your kite. Cut the opponents. Good luck. ” The conjunction at the beginning shows Amir is continuing his point, and the imperatives and short simple sentences emphasise “no other choice”.
The lack of rules and the hint of humour Hosseini adds at the end, highlights the freedom Afghan culture had, before the Taliban were introduced, as Kite Fighting is said to be “an old winter tradition in Afghanistan”. Another afghan cultured sport, the Buzkashi tournament, portrays violence as a “traditional game”. Hosseini uses Harsh and active verbs, “kick, claw, whip, punch” to show how violent the tournament can be, and although to Baba, what is considered to be tradition, the Buzkashi tournament to Amir, when he witnesses an accident and the death of a chapandaz, extremely disturbs him, portrayed in “I began to cry.
I cried all the way back home. ” The simple sentence and the layout of it having its own paragraph is important, and shows Amir is rather sensitive to the violence, emphasising the fact he’s only a child. However Baba views Amir’s behaviour in a “disgusted” way, portrayed in “I remember how Baba’s hands clenched around the steering wheel. Clenched and unclenched. ” The repetition and elliptical verbs further emphasise Baba’s disgust and shows he almost expects more of Amir, even though he is only a child.
Throughout chapter’s 1-6, Hosseini portrays different aspects of afghan culture effectively, using different language features such as foreshadowing, repetition, harsh and active verbs, metaphors and asyndetic listing. These features emphasise the different aspects of culture Hosseini tries to express, such as cultures of people, traditional afghan tournaments and different Muslim beliefs, with the kite fighting tournament being the most intense as it symbolises freedom, and the liberty afghan culture once had, before the Taliban invaded.