- May 31 - King Library Opens at 1:00 PM
For August, 2012, our Online Book Club continues by discussing The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Each week, we'll put forth a different question to prompt reflection on the book and its ideas. We hope you will participate in the discussion by leaving comments below!
Question for Week 3:
What is the significance of the novel's title? What might the kite fighting tournament symbolize?
There are two main characters in the book who act as kite runners, Hassan and Amir. Hassan was the first, "the best kite runner in Wazir Akbar Khan. Maybe all of Kabul". Hassan ran for the blue kite, the last opponent's kite that was cut down from the sky during the tournament Amir won. At the end of the book, Amir acts as kite runner for Hassan's son, Sohrab, during a gathering of Afghani refugees in California.
The circularity of these runs is stunning. Both Hassan and Amir embraced their roles as assistants and runners. By doing so, they showed their love for the kite fighter and the lengths they would go to in order to serve him... "a thousand times over". Hassan had always embraced this love. Amir had to change, take action, and grow into his role over the course of the book.
Amir states that "In Kabul, fighting kites WAS a little like going to war". As in war, the victor who cut the last opponent's kite string was feted and cheered. The last downed kite was the biggest trophy of the battle, and the kite runner who found it got to keep it. (In Hassan's case, he wanted to give the kite to Amir).
"Afghans cherish customs but abhor rules." "And when a kite runner had his hands on a kite, no one could take if from him. That wasn't a rule. That was custom." However, it was not the case for Hassan. Asef's brutality and his rage at Amir and Hassan led him and his friends to hunt Hassan down. In order to keep the blue kite he'd found for Amir, Hassan endured Asef raping him. At the end of the book, when Amir ran for Hassan's son, he says "I ran with the wind blowing in my face, and a smile as wide as the Valley of Panjsher on my lips. I ran."
Kite fighting is found not only in Afghanistan but throughout Asia, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Malaysia, Japan, and Korea. It can also be found in the Caribbean, South America (Chile), and most recently, in the United States.