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Ms. Ola Gabr
English Literature
7th November 2018
The Kite Runner
"They say, find a purpose in your life and live it. But, sometimes, it is only after you have
lived that you recognize your life had a purpose, and likely one you never had in mind." said by
Khaled Hosseini. Hosseini started writing novels after getting influenced by many factors
including his early life and childhood, traditions like the importance of the family and marriage,
and the everyday life of the Afghans, which reflected his emotions and thoughts by writing his
first novel "The Kite Runner".
In March 4, 1965, Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. Hosseini's father
Nasser worked as a diplomat in Afghanistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. While his mother
Maimoona taught the Persian language. They lived in a middle class neighborhood named Wazir
Akbar Khan, one of most luxurious places in Kabul. Nasser found a job in Paris and then he
moved his family to Paris. When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, the family moved to the
United States. In California, Hosseini went to ‘Santa Clara University’ where he studied biology
and got the bachelor's degree. Afterwards, he earned his Masters degree in medicine in the
University of California.
Hosseini wrote his first novel, The Kite Runner, while he was practicing medicine. It
remained on the New York Times Best Seller list for a month, besides winning an award for it.
Some critics questioned if Khaled Hosseini is Amir in the novel after recognizing a lot of
similarities between them. After releasing The Kite Runner, he stopped practicing medicine for a
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year and a half and started writing another novel, "A Thousand Splendid Suns". Hosseini
concentrated in this novel on the feminine discrimination in Afghanistan by presenting the
protagonists with women. Afterwards, his third novel, And the Mountains Echoed, was released
which sold over 3 million copies.
In Northern California, Khaled Hosseini married Roya and had two children with her:
Farah and Harris. He has established the ‘Khaled Hosseini Foundation’ to help Afghan children
and refugees. In his entire career, he sold a total of over 38 million copies of his novels.
The Kite Runner is a fiction novel written by Khaled Hosseini. In 1999 Hosseini was
watching a news story about Taliban which is basically a fundamental Muslim movement that
took control of Afghanistan. The story was about the different impositions, duties, and taxes that
the Taliban placed on afghan people. Also, they banned kite flying and bird keeping. The
banning of kite flying by the Taliban affected Hosseini negatively and it was kind of personal to
him because as he grew up he used to play kite flying with family and friends. After watching
this news story Hosseini wrote a short story consisted of 25 pages, which was about two boys in
Kabul who were flying kites. Couple of years later in 2001, Hosseini found this story in his
garage, and it became his inspiration for his first novel " The Kite Runner ".
Hosseini wrote about refugees in his book, The Kite Runner, as he and his family used
to be when they left Afghanistan in 1976 to Paris and then to the USA because of the soviet's
invasion in 1979. Although Hosseini was living in the USA, he was writing about afghan people
as he was able to deliver to people through his book the image of the afghan society. As well as,
he referred to himself as a dedicated person or somebody who is interested in the afghan society
not as a person who really knows what’s going on because he is not actually living in
Afghanistan. Besides he says that he is a novelist and prefers to be than to be a politician.
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Traditions and customs may vary between ethnic groups, but at the end the family
remains the most important aspect of an Afghan's life that supersedes everything else. The
relationship between the sons and their parents is based on loyalty, as a result child must show
reference and deference to his elders. Parents are revered for their wisdom and any kind of
disobedience is seen as a huge disrespect.
Family roles differ between ethnicities, socioeconomic status, and the branches of
Islam. The family is most of the time patriarchal, which means that the authority is vested in
male elders, unlike some other families who see both men and women equal. Men carry the
economic burden of the family and often have to support the household. Women are responsible
for raising the children, chores, and catering to the needs of her man. Senior males control most
of the family's spending, while the senior female is in charge of portioning the family's supply of
food for the year. All adults work very hard besides child labor that became very common from
the age of five involving both genders. According to a study 25% of the children ages between 5
and 14 are employed in jobs that result in illnesses, injuries, and sometimes it can lead to death
due to the harsh conditions of work. They work with little or sometimes no pay in agriculture,
mines, home based carpet industry, and shoe shiners.
Most Afghans believe in the separation of genders and in some cases it is legally
enforced. Mixing can occur within the family or a small village community. There was some
progress in women's rights but when Taliban came, they placed extreme rules resulting in their
seclusion and exclusion from contributing to the economy. Inheritance laws are based on Quran
which is dividing the wealth under the ratio 1 to 2, the daughter receives half of what the son
receives. Most of the families are patrilineal, which means that they believe that inheritance
should be through the male line only and the females should not receive anything.
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Marriage is considered an essential component of life in Afghanistan. It is rare for an
unmarried couple to be having time alone. Parents arrange the marriage of their children to
ensure the compatibility of the families. Most relationships are endogamous: husband and wife
are parallel or cross cousins. The couples’ attraction to each other is not always strongly
considerable. After marriage, the girl moves to her husband's residence, they have a private
room, but she lives mainly with her husband's family: patrilocal. Having many wives, polygamy,
is legal if the man can prove his economic support to all of his wives. Divorce is very rare, and
any couple who seek separation face pressure by their families, if they fail to reunite their
community may shun them.
Education is mainly separated into two systems. First the religious system and it is
basically the old one where you get taught by the mullahs who teach the prospects of the Quran,
reading, writing, and arithmetic. The second system is the public educational system in which all
citizens receive free education.
From the foods they eat first there is a kind of bread which is called “naan”. As well
as, soups, rice, vegetables, and meat. There is a kind of yogurt called mast, which is really
known in the Afghani society and its really loved there. A side from food their favorite drink is
Sports in Afghanistan played a major role in their culture. People love wrestling
while their national sport is called Buzkashi, goat dragging, which is basically a game between
two teams of men on horses. Winning the game requires you to drag the goat to the opponent
goal, which looks like a circle. This game is really harsh and many people get injured in a game
of Buzkashi. The horses’ prices can go up to 5000$, because they believe that a bad rider on a
good horse is better than a good rider on a bad horse.
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Traditional males in Afghanistan wear the Khet partug and Perahan tunban,
and usually wear kufi, and Peshawari cap, and the female dress consists of loose-fitting pants,
called a tunbaan that goes down to the ankles, and a headscarf is worn to cover the hair.
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Works Cited
"Afghan Culture - Family." Cultural Atlas,
"Afghanistan - FAMILY." Country Studies,
"Family Structure and Marriage - Norwegian Afghanistan Committee." Afghanistankomiteen,
"Khaled Hosseini on Criticism of His Work." YouTube, 19 Aug. 2008,
"Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini Author on His New Book." YouTube, 26 May 2013,
RFE/RL. "'Kite Runner' Author On His Childhood, His Writing, And The Plight Of Afghan
Refugees." RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty, 21 June 2012,
"Talk to Al Jazeera -- Khaled Hosseini: 'Why I Write About Pain'." YouTube, 4 July 2014,
"Who is Khaled Hosseini? Everything You Need to Know." Famous People - Famous People in
History, Famous People List & Biography,
"Afghanistan - Daily Life and Social Customs." Encyclopedia Britannica,
"Afghanistan Way of Life | Afghanistan's Web Site." Afghanistan's Web Site: ‫افغانستان‬,
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"Traditional Afghan Clothes." Afghanistan Online, 13 Mar. 2018,
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