Writing notes for prose can be a long, arduous task as you’re dealing with a bulky body of text. Thus, I prefer making a summary booklet with key points once I finish the novel instead, along with links to resources I found useful. This may or may not suit your study style! Below are the notes I made for the Kite Runner.
Kite Runner – Revision
(Use with highlighted copy of the text)
- Narrative structure
- Narrative and chronological time, including the use of tense
- Narrative voice
- Use of speech
- Prose style and language choices including sentence structure
- Use of images, symbols and motifs
- Genre and generic conventions.
- Historical drama
- Coming-of-age (albeit a little unconventional…) — Bildungsroman novel
- Retrospective novel!!!!!
Narrative and time:
- Narrative time and chronological time differ due to the time skips
- Wholly in past tense (except in the beginning). Links to nostalgia and remembrance and the novel was written after all the incidents have happened
- Temporal shift!!!!!!!! Eventually jumps back to the present
- Jumps from the present to the past, then to the present
- This allows for a lot of irony when secrets are revealed in the future, e.g. Amir and Hassan’s connection is much more than the nursing woman.
- 1st person narrative
- Unreliable narrator — Amir is biased, one-sided, may romanticise parts of his experience
- Makes the Kite Runner more complex — readers have to make a judgement on whether to trust Amir’s presentation of the story
- Stream of consciousness?
- Shifts in POV
- Focaliser: the person whose point of view dominates
- Letters: Kite Runner uses many letters to convey other characters’ feelings through the eyes of Amir — again, susceptible to bias although it does overcome limitations of 1st person narrative
http://www.bookrags.com/studyguide-the-kite-runner/#gsc.tab=0 Quotes by Theme
Friendship (or lack thereof) and Loyalty
- ‘Hassan never denied me anything’
- ‘Then he [Ali] would remind us that there was a brotherhood between people who had fed from the same breast.’
- ‘Mine [first word spoken] was Baba. His was Amir, my name.’
- ‘As he was preparing my breakfast, Hassan asked if something was bothering me. I snapped at him, told him to mind his own business.’
- ‘Ali and Baba grew up together as childhood playmates — just like Hassan and I grew up a generation later.’
- ‘But in none of his stories did Baba refer to Ali as his friend. The curious thing was, I never thought of Hassan as a friend either — not in the usual sense, anyhow.’
- ‘During the school year, we had a daily routine… (chapter 4)’
- ‘“Amir and Hassan, the sultans of Kabul.” That made it formal: the tree was ours.’
- ‘As always, it was Rahim Khan who rescued me.’
- Hassan’s scarred lip in chapter 5??
- ‘But there was something fascinating — albeit in a sick way — about teasing Hassan. Kind of like when we used to play insect torture.’
- ‘If i was going to toy with him and challenge his loyalty, then he’d toy with me, challenge my integrity.’
- ‘He was always doing that, reading my mind.’ ‘Hassan couldn’t read a first-grade book but he’d read me plenty.’ p.58
- ‘But even when he wasn’t there, he was…Everywhere I turned, I saw signs of his unwavering loyalty.’
- ‘Think of something good, something happy.’ And Amir thinks of his time with Hassan.
- ‘A perfectly encapsulated morsel of a good past.’
- ‘It was a matter of respect. He moved to the hut, where he was born…Like he was preparing the house for someone’s return.’
Good/Evil or Just/Unjust
- ‘Even in birth, Hassan stayed true to his nature: he was incapable of hurting anyone.’
- ‘Baba had personally funded the entire project.’
- Amir’s grandfather was ‘a highly regarded judge and a man of impeccable reputation’ whose ‘punishment was harsh but fair.’
- ‘I would always feel guilty later… I would tell myself that was amends enough for a harmless prank.’
- ‘It was the look of the lamb.’
- ‘I had to make him stop kissing my hands.’ — Rahim Khan about Hassan
- Some people stay evil — Amir (to Sohrab)
- ‘There is a way to be good again’ — Rahim Khan
- Maybe Hassan was the price I had to pay, the lamb I had to slay, to win Baba’s heart.
- ‘I understood the nature of my new curse: I was going to get away with it.’
- Symbols of monster
- I wish he’d give me the punishment I craved, so that I could finally sleep at night.’ (pomegranates)
- ‘It was living in America that gave him an ulcer.’
- ‘For me, America was a place to bury my memories. For Baba, a place to mourn his.’
- ‘What was the old saying about a penny? My past was like that, always turning up.’
- I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded, not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things… and leaving unannounced…
- ‘And that, I believe, is what true redemption is, Amir jan, when guilt leads to good.’ — Rahim Khan.
War/Politics/Religion (and their influence on private lives)
- ‘I told him what the mullah taught us in class. Baba was pouring himself whisky…’
- ‘God help us all if Afghanistan ever falls into their hands.’ (Dramatic irony?)
- ‘There is only one sin, and that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft.’
- ‘The year Baba was born an the year Zahir Shah began his forty-year reign of Afghanistan…’
- ‘Never mind that to me, the face of Afghanistan is… (Hassan’s face’).’
- ‘Because history isn’t easy to overcome. Neither is religion…Nothing is ever going to change that.’ // ‘But we were kids who learned to crawl together, and no religion, ethnicity or history is ever going to change that either.’
- ‘The generation of Afghan children whose ears would know nothing but the sounds of bombs and gunfire was not yet born.’
- ‘“We [Pashtuns] are the true Afghans, the pure Afghans, not this Flat-Nose here. His people pollute our homeland.”’
- ‘Baba was the lone Republican in our building.’
- ‘What kind of a country is this? No one trusts anybody!’ — Baba
- ‘Baba was like the widower who remarries but can’t let go of his dead wife.’
- Hassan’s letter opens and closes with religious prayers. Difference between him/Amir
- ‘A land mine. Is there a more Afghan way of dying, Amir jan?’
- Lots of quotes in Chapter 19 about Afghanistan’s situation
- (After watching the horserace) ‘I began to cry. I will never forget Baba’s valiant efforts to hide the disgust on his face.’
- ‘He never fights back.’ — Baba ‘A boy who won’t stand up for himself won’t be able to stand up for anything.’
- ‘I will never forget how Assef’s blue eyes glinted with a light not entirely sane and how he had grinned as he pummelled that kid unconscious.’
- Calls Assef sociopath
- ‘Cut him! Cut him! (during kite competition)’ like Romans chanting for gladiators to kill! kill!’
- The Afghan wedding song.
- Quiet vs Silence
- The entire rape scene tbh
- ‘This was Hassan’s last sacrifice for me.’
- ‘Now it’s me who has to prove my worthiness (to Sohrab)’
Father and Son/Daughter
- ‘He’d close the door, leave me to wonder why it was always grown-ups’ time with him’
- ‘Sometimes I sat there for an hour, sometimes two, listening to their laughter, their chatter.’
- ‘I’m in his arms, but it’s Rahim Khan’s pinky my fingers are curled around.’
- ‘Mine [first word spoken] was Baba. His was Amir, my name.’
- All that bear stuff about Baba
- ‘ He asked me to fetch Hassan too, but I lied and told him Hassan had the runs. I wanted Baba all to myself.’ ‘I think I have saratan (cancer)’. Baba told me I could get the soda myself.’
- Irony: Baba is building an orphanage for children who are not his, and writing a speech for that orphanage but barely takes notice of his own and is too busy with the orphanage speech to listen to Amir.
- ‘I was so proud of Baba, of us.’
- ‘With me as the glaring exception, my father moulded the world around him to his liking.’… ‘You can’t love a person who lives that way without fearing him too. Maybe even hating him a little.’
- ‘It wasn’t often Baba talked to me, let alone on his lap — and i’d been a fool to waste it.’
- ‘I already hated all the kids he was building the orphanage for; sometimes I wished they’d died alone with their parents.’
- ‘I was always learning things about Baba from other people.’
- ‘If I hadn’t seen the doctor pull him out of my wife, I’d never believe he’s my son.’ —Baba
- ‘After all, didn’t all fathers in their secret hearts harbour a desire to kill their sons?’
- ‘Most days I worshipped Baba with an intensity approaching the religious. But right then, I wish I could open my veins and drain his cursed blood from my body.’
- ‘I wish he’d let me be the favourite.’
- ‘And that right there was the single greatest moment of my twelve years of life, seeing Baba on that roof, proud of me at last.’
- ‘I finally had what I wanted. Except now that I had it, I felt as empty as this unkempt pool I was dangling my feet into.’
- ‘Lost her to a fate considered worse than death: She ran off with a clan of traveling singers and dancers.’
- Sanaubar, misunderstood?
- Soraya’s father’s control over her — Afghan customs to wed girls
- Chapter 19 — women spoke in ‘low voices’ and ‘made no sound at all’, subservient.
The Kite (more like a symbol)
- ‘Baba and I lived in the same house, but different spheres of existence. Kites were the one paper-thin slice of intersection between those spheres.’
- ‘Fighting kites was a little like going to war in Afghanistan.’
- Symbol for Amir’s reputation in Baba’s eyes.
- ‘That was the thing with kite flying — your mind drifted with the kite.’
- ‘Sitting on piles of scrap and rubble, was the blue kite. My key to Baba’s heart.’
- ‘We’d actually deceived ourselves into thinking that a toy made of tissue paper, glue and bamboo could somehow close the chasm between us.’
- ‘That was how I escaped my father’s aloofness, in my dead mother’s books.’
- ‘Real men didn’t read poetry — and God forbid if the should ever write it!’
- ‘That Hassan would grow up illiterate like Ali and most Hazaras had been decided the minute he was born… after all, what use did a servant have for the written word?’
- Irony: Amir was only reunited with Sohrab through Hassan’s written word, despite him retaining his servant status. Ironic because Amir used to belittle Hassan through his superiority.
- ‘My favourite part of reading to Hassan was when we came across a big word that he didn’t know. I’d tease him, expose his ignorance.’
- ‘Baba went on staring me down, didn’t offer to read.’
- ‘But the most impressive thing about your story is that it has irony.’ — Rahim Khan to Amir
- ‘Taught by Hassan of all people,. Hassan who couldn’t even read and had never written a word in his entire life.’Summary + Link to themes
- Chapter 1: Opens up with Amir’s current life in Seattle. Flashback to Kabul.
- Chapter 2: Introduction to life in Kabul: history and politics, Hassan’s character.
- Chapter 3: Mostly about Baba and Amir’s relationship, Baba’s figure from Amir’s perspective.
- Chapter 4: Amir and his writing, some bits about his relationship with Hassan and Baba.
- Chapter 5: References to Afghan politics, Assef.
- Chapter 6: Introduction to kite running and build-up to competition. Friendship.
- Chapter 7: The Kite competition and Hassan’s rape.
- Chapter 8: Drifting away of Amir and Hassan (loss of friendship), Amir’s birthday party.
- Chapter 9: Presents, Hassan’s last sacrifice and his departure with Ali.
- Chapter 10: Escape to Pakistan. Baba’s bravery and closer relationship with Amir.
- Chapter 11: New life in the USA. Adjustment period; culture, heritage. Amir falls in love.
- Chapter 12: Baba’s waning strength, Amir’s pursuit of literature, Soraya’s confession, engage.
- Chapter 13: Wedding, Baba’s death, Soraya’s sterile. Themes of fatherhood and redemption.
- Chapter 14: Back to present time. Amir thinks of childhood. Decides to visit Rahim Khan.
- Chapter 15: Descriptions from others of war-torn Afghanistan, religion. See Rahim Khan.
- Chapter 16: Rahim Khan tells Amir Hassan’s story in Afghanistan after he left.
- Chapter 17: Shift in narrative point of view. Secrets spilled, theme of betrayal.
- Chapter 18: Amir reflecting on Rahim Khan’s news. Themes of redemption, betrayal.
- Chapter 19: Stayed at Wahid’s house. Nightmare about Hassan. Starving Afghan children.
- Chapter 20: Back to Kabul, war-torn place. Meet beggar. Just/injustice, orphanage.
- Chapter 21: Go to Ghazi stadium to find Sohrab. Witness stoning. Appointment with Taliban.
- Chapter 22: Meet Assef, fight. Themes of redemption and strength.
- Chapter 23: Aftermath. Lots of flashbacks, disjointed thoughts. Go to Islamabad.
- Chapter 24: Try to win Shoran’s trust, US visa, orphanage, Sohrab attempt suicide. Betrayal.
- Chapter 25: Sohrab recovery, back to the US, he’s mute. Ending with kite. Redemption, cycle.