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.

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