Friday, October 24, 2008

The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini Cycle 7 30-45

The beginning of these 15 pages has continued with Amir’s interest, reading and writing. Amir writes his very first story about a man who’s tears turn into pearls and later succumbs to greed, killing his wife. Excited to show Baba, Amir tells him of his accomplishment in his smoking room. Baba grins and shows no interest in reading it. Rahim Khan relives the pressure and accepts the paper from the outstretched arms of Amir. Rahim believes that Amir’s writing is amazing and should hone his skills. These reviews have boosted Amir’s morale and have him wish that Rahim were his father. I believe that the smoke in the smoking room serves as a metaphor that shows that Amir and Baba’s relationship is clouded. The reviews do not stop there. Hassan is also excited to here the story, especially because Amir had written it. He imagines Amir to be a great famous writer one day. Something changes the mood during the chapter; it also changes the way of life for the characters in the book. Gunshots ring out during the night, which frighten Hassan and Amir because they are unfamiliar to the loud noise. They later find that the monarchy has ended in Afghanistan and a republic has begun. Amir and Hassan need to escape reality in the only place they know where to, their tree. The long walk up the hill is interrupted by Assef who is known to be the neighborhood bully. He believes that Afghanistan should be rid of Hassan’s people. He confronts them with his infamous brass knuckles. Hassan pulls out his slingshot and saves them from a brutal beating, for now. These pages weren’t all negative, some positive events occurred.
For Hassan’s birthday, Baba usually got him a toy or cowboy hat, which Hassan was always pleased with. This time Baba receives something not of material, but something that could change his life, surgery that would fix his cleft lip.
I can many connections from the book to my life. When Assef confronted Amir and Hassan is very similar to an experience I had. A group of boys had come up to my friend and I. My friend was much smaller than me so he looked for cover behind me. These boys were taunting us and looking for trouble. Suddenly they had started to back away. I looked for an explanation, turning to find a stick in my little friend’s hand. These connections reflect that even in the face of danger small and innocent figures can stand up for them selves, showing courage and loyalty.
There were words that I somewhat understood, but were still unfamiliar to me. Indecipherable, which means to make out the meaning of (poor or partially obliterated writing, etc.): to decipher a hastily scribbled note. The word staccato, which means shortened and detached when played or sung: staccato notes. The last word is trepidation, which means tremulous fear, alarm, or agitation; perturbation.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Found Piece

Erie and weird, I awoke, my window had been open and a midnight breezy brought chills down my body. A quick look at the clock revealed it was 4 o’clock. Something troubled me. Outside my window, a loud and clear a Hawaiian chant had arisen. A choir of angels seemed to be singing a harmonious melody. I lay there awestruck, frightened, and frozen. A dream perhaps, but the harsh reality of the haunting chant combined with the choral was all too real. I let the music lay me back to sleep.
“She’s passed on”
My mother’s voice pierced my ears and wedges my shut-eyes open. An end to hope itself. It isn’t true, and worse, does you no justice if we call your death the death of anything but you. A person so loving, so caring, so generous, taken from our lives. It’s hard to believe that someone like that could be gone. It became even more strenuous to cope with. Inevitable but, unthinkable. Sudden and saddening. How I’m I supposed to go along with my life? From my upbringing to present day, always keeping vigil over me. Nostalgic and heartbroken, my memories transport me back to the past, playing ball and laughing. Snapped back to the present, my eyes flooded with everlasting tears. The arduous task of waking up and going to school added on to the heavy and depressing mood. She is the reason I can go to school, forever indebt will I be to her. She has given me the gift of opportunity and changed my life.
I summoned the courage to go to school, with my eyes red and rivers pouring down my face. The most awkward and sad morning I’ve ever had, will remain with me always. I will always wonder, what was the chant and song outside?

John Lennon
By Mary Jo Salter

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini Cycle 6 15-30

At the start of these 15 pages, Amir and Baba have a serious talk about what is sinning to Baba. Baba explains that the only real sin that matter is theft, taking anything that doesn’t belong to you. Baba does not share many personal stories with Amir. Instead, Rahim Khan informs Amir about his father. One story that is told to him is when Baba’s father was killed and had his life stolen from him.
Read further into Kite Runner, I learn that Amir and Baba not really close and rarely have one on one talks. Baba is kept at the orphanage and his business leaving Amir at home by himself, restricting the time they have to spend together. Baba envisioned a son that was just like him, unfortunately he sees Amir as the complete opposite. Amir interested in reading books, he discovers his interest while reading his mother’s books. Baba wants him to be a great soccer player or at least have an interest for the game. The realization that it wasn’t possible for Amir to love the game of soccer disappointed Baba. This leads to an argument with Rahim Khan, Baba’s best friend. Baba is accusing Amir for having no fight in him and he won’t be able to stand up for him self. Overall, Baba thinks he doesn’t recognize his own son because he does not resemble him in any aspect of life.
Amir and Hassan are brought closer together by the books that Amir reads. Since Hassan is somewhat illiterate, Amir reads him stories, poems, or riddles. These spark Hassan’s mind and bring joy to him. When Amir stumbles upon a word Hassan does not know he teases him for it, but Hassan’s smiling face doesn’t show any anger.
Amir has a loving relationship with Hassan, but I don’t think that he appreciates all the things that he does for him. This reveals that Amir is somewhat spoiled and isn’t grateful for what he has compared to others like Hassan. Even though he does make fun of Hassan for being illiterate, Amir tries to help him by reading him books. This shows that Amir is a helpful and caring boy. The patterns that I see with Amir is that he is trying to find his own way in life, instead of following his father. He is an independent boy with his own aspirations like reading. I think the reasons for this is to show that Amir is going to do something other than run the family business when is older.
These 15 pages were full of words I didn't understand. The definition of mullah is (in Islamic countries) a title of respect for a person who is learned in, teaches, or expounds the sacred law. Shambled was used to described how Amir walked around on the field. The definition is to walk or go awkwardly; shuffle. Impeccable means faultless; flawless; irreproachable: impeccable manners. Nemesis means something that a person cannot conquer, achieve, etc.: The performance test proved to be my nemesis.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini Cycle 5 1-15

The first few pages of Kite Runner explains a lot about the main character, Amir. The book places Amir in San Francisco, but refers back to his past childhood when he lived in Kabul. 1975, a year that is mentioned where something happened to Amir that changed his life forever. Little is known about this event only an image of a deserted alley is hinted to us. His childhood is focused on greatly in the first 15 pages. Hassan, a boy with his share of problems as well, lives on the same property as him. Hassan is viewed as less fortunate than Amir because Hassan lives in a mud hut and his father, Ali, is a servant to Amir’s family. Amir also has more benefits because he lives in one of the nicest houses in Kabul and his father is one of the richest men in town. Hassan and Amir have their share of differences, but also similarities. Both of their mothers have left them, either in death or abandonment.
Ali, stricken by Polio had been blessed with Hassan. Even though Hassan was born with a cleft lip he was still proud and loved his son. However, Hassan’s mother, Sanaubar, thought of Hassan as ugly and wanted nothing to do with him. The surrounding community feels the same as Sanaubar about Hassan as he is ridiculed not for his looks, but for his unloving mother. He is confronted by soldiers and told how much of a whore his mother is. His father had also run into some mocking and scornful abuse from older children of the neighborhood. They tease him for his crippled leg suffered from Polio and for his characteristics. None of this bothers him because Ali is kept happy by the joy of his son.
Both Ali and Baba have made sacrifices. They have their critics that doubt them whether it was when he was opening an orphanage or living while your wife left you.
What really makes the first 15 pages of this book interesting to read is the excellent and descriptive word choice. There are many examples but here is one. Amir brings up 1975 and how his “past claws its way out”. I believe this to be a great choice of words because viewing this image would be very vivid and spectacular, instead of just saying the past would come back to me. Amir also describes what his friend Hassan looks like. He is described in a rather usual way, “a face like a Chinese doll chiseled from hardwood: his flat, broad nose and slanting, narrow eyes like bamboo leaves, eyes that looked, depending on the light, gold, green, even sapphire.” The details that the author had put in gave me a clear visual on what Hassan looked like. At first making him appear beautiful and magnificent, then bringing up his flaws and imperfections. “And the cleft lip, just left of the midline, where the Chinese doll maker’s instrument may have slipped, or perhaps he had simply grown tired and careless.” These phrase from the book helped to enhance and make the book more enjoyable to read.
A few words that were unfamiliar to me in this reading were congenital, squatty, and hemorrhaged. The definition of congenital is of or pertaining to a condition present at birth, whether inherited or caused by the environment, esp. the uterine environment. The definition of squatty is short and thick; low and broad. The definition of hemorrhaged is a profuse discharge of blood, as from a ruptured blood vessel; bleeding.