Year 11 English Prelim Assessment Task HOST: Welcome to the show Khaled. Before we begin the interview proper I would like the listeners to hear an excerpt from the novel. When it is finished, could you explain how this scene sets up some of the characters and themes of the novel? KHALED: Good morning and thank you. These particular few pages of my novel, The Kite Runner, hold some of the most important parts regarding character and theme set up. One of the first apparent themes is the book is the tension and delicate relationship that exists between father and son.
In the excerpt I show the reader that Baba is unimpressed with Amir. He feels that there is something wrong with Amir; he infers that Amir is a coward. This is revealed when Amir overhears the conversation between Rahim Khan and Baba. They are discussing Baba’s disillusion with his son, Baba says “A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who won’t stand up to anything. ” At this moment Baba is keeping his true feelings hidden, which only serves to heighten Amir’s feeling of inadequacy. This theme runs throughout the book and causes a lot of complication.
The reader also learns of the Loyalty and Devotion to Hassan to Amir. This is shown by Baba’s comment, “You know what always happens when the neighbourhood boys tease him? Hassan steps in and fends them off… I say ‘How did Hassan get that scratch on his face? ’ and Amir says ‘He fell down. ’” Man’s inhumanity to man is another theme I expose in the excerpt. The reader is told of a game called ‘Buzkashi’. This extremely violent game, played on horseback, sees men killed in a power struggle for an animal carcass. In this scene, after seeing a man killed, Amir begins crying. He continues crying all the way home. I remember how Baba’s hands clenched the steering wheel. Clenched and unclenched. Mostly, I will never forget Baba’s valiant efforts to conceal the disgusted look on his face as he drove in silence. ’ The setup of the characters traits and personalities in this excerpt is very clear. I disclose that Baba is seen as being cold, critical of his son, enjoys blood-sport, disappointed, secretive and confident he is right. The reader is shown he disregards others advice. HOST: Thank you for that, could you talk a little about your use of foreshadowing and irony? You have used these techniques quite extensively.
Why is that Khaled? KHALED: I used irony as a way to organise the structure of the book, also to add some interest and intellectual challenge for the reader. Irony assisted me in a powerful way to develop themes without being too literal or obvious. For example when Sohrab uses a brass ball in his slingshot to hit Assef it becomes ironic as that is how Hassan fends off Assef in an early chapter of my book. I also used irony to show that there are always consequences for your actions. Like when Amir tries to escape his guilt by living in the US, however it becomes ironic because Amir cannot live with his guilt.
He must face the consequences and return to Afghanistan to save Sohrab. In The Kite Runner, I utilized foreshadowing to give structure and let the reader have hints of future events to occur later in the book. I wrote the first chapter foreshadowing Amir’s atonement of saving Sohrab. In the first paragraph I give the reader a hint of something that happened a long time ago, and after reading the book they learn that this is that rape of Hassan. The reader is shown that this event has been haunting Amir for twenty six years. I therefore introduce Hassan before the reader even knows him.
I did this to create anticipation which makes the reader want to find out who these people are and how the events come about. HOST: Guilt, atonement and redemption seem to be important themes in the novel. What are you trying to say about these themes Khaled? KHALED: These themes sit under the umbrella-like theme of strength of character. Amir’s journey through guilt, atonement and finally redemption shows the reader a prevalent idea, Amir’s strength of character. He commits terrible sins against his friend and half-brother, Hassan.
The story of what Amir does and how he seeks and finds atonement is a lesson for everyone who wants to find a way to be good again. Amir’s journey is very difficult, both emotionally and physically, yet he manages to see it through and achieves his objective. The reader can relate to Amir’s experience because he is ‘everyman’. What he experiences, the reader con relate to either specifically or imaginatively. HOST: Some reviewers have said it was quite risky having a main character who is not very likeable for large parts of the novel. What do you think about the criticism? KHALED:
Amir’s unpleasant beginning perhaps creates problems for the reader, but as my book progresses and Amir begins to redeem himself the reader grows closer to him. The main reason I created Amir to be unpleasant at first was to give the book more realism, as we all know, no-one is perfect. It also gives a stable platform to show contrast between “Bad Amir” before he starts to atone and “Good Amir” when he has shown the reader he is not a coward and con stand up for himself. The reader now has the chance to feel sincerity for Amir because they now believe in him as he admits to them about his shortcomings as well as takes steps to atone.
I believe a great example of Amir’s atonement is when he puts the “fistful of money” under a mattress he was sleeping on in Farid’s home (pg 223). This is in great contrast to when Amir put his birthday money under Hassan’s mattress to try and get him and his father Ali removed from his life. HOST: Your novel has been praised for its literary techniques, particularly you use of figurative language. Referring to a particular scene of your choice, con you give us some examples and explain what the intended effect on the reader is of these techniques? KHALED:
My use of figurative language paints a picture in the readers imagination, it encourages the reader to make use of the mind and can also create empathy for another’s situation so the reader has the choice to relate to how to the characters are feeling. One of my favourite uses of figurative language in my novel including the use of metaphors, similes and personification is on page eighty-five “in another month or two, crops of scorched yellow weeds would blanket the hillside, but that year the spring showers had lasted longer than usual, nudging their way into early summer, and the grass was still green, peppered with tangles of wildflowers.
Below us, Wazir Akbar Khan’s white-walled, flat topped houses gleamed in the sunshine, the laundry hanging on the clotheslines in their yards stirred by the breeze to dance like butterflies”. HOST: Khaled, do you think that with the current war going on in Afghanistan, the popularity of your book will diminish? KHALED: No. If anything, I believe that my book will become more widespread because of the current war in Afghanistan.
The war itself I believe is a terrible thing, as it is clearly portrayed to the reader by Amir and Baba having to move to the US and Hassan and his wife being shot. Because Afghanistan is in the world news a lot more often now and my book is based in Afghanistan and around the rule of the Taliban the general public may see The Kite Runner as a way to better understand the true happenings of what goes on in Afghanistan. HOST: Why is the absence of females in The Kite Runner so very strong? KHALED: I’ve written this book to reflect how Afghanistan treats women.
Women are also unnecessary in the plot as is focuses not on the racial class divisions rather than the rights of women as in another of my novels A Thousand Splendid Suns. The fact is that males how no remorse for the females and that directly reflects the reality. In the last scene of The Kite Runner, Amir and Sohrab are flying kites while Soraya stands back, watching, having no presence or meaning. This should come as no surprise thought because throughout the entire novel we are deprived of the presence of female characters.
This novel emphasizes on the importance of a males in every scene. It is not hard to recognise the emphasis since there is no major female character to begin with. One could think, “But what about Soraya? ” The truth is in the overall picture of The Kite Runner her presence in only really seen in less than 10 percent of the whole novel, Aside from Soraya other females are mentioned too, but the thing is they are only mentioned. Their presence is extremely short, and they leave no lasting impact.