Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Chapter 23. Disjointed state of mind and character links.

In chapter 23 un-common paragraphing is used. This could suggest many things
-Amir’s damaged brain after the accident
- His disjointed state of mind
- His disconnected consciousness from the world
- His drifting of in and out of consciousness

At the start of the chapter Amir lacks any state of time. When referring to meeting Soraya he says “when was that, last week?” when we know for a fact that was well over a couple of months ago.
“He drove me somewhere a few years ago” when referring to recognising Farid. Farid drove Amir for the first time well within a month.

Amir also has a very disjointed narrative, time and focus. When referring to Sohrab he says “his face reminds me of the sound of bells”. He can’t make true sense of anything around him.

There is also a great sense of achievement for Amir in this chapter and links between other characters.
Through saving Sohrab----------Amir has gained the strength of Baba (demonstrated in his dream about the black bear)
Amir has also gained physical similarities related to Hassan.
“The impact had cut your upper lip in two, clean down the middle”ß--- just like a harelip, like Hassan had before he has the corrected surgery.

Chapter 22 & pace

The pace alternates a lot during chapter 22 and I think it is slowed down mainly due to the distance Amir creates between himself and the story.
He creates a distance in one way by using the phrases in itallics to foreshadow events such as "surgical cap". This phrase has no relevance to the current position or place Amir is in, and perhaps shows us that something is going to happen to him in order for him to end up in hospital ------> surgical cap. Surgery.

Also even though Amir tells the story of his and Assef's fight in graphical detail it lacks greately in any serious emotion. He is reciting it but not creating any sence of his emotion at the time whatsoever.
The only thing he repeats or that we get a sence that he feels/notices is "sohrab screaming". This obviously holds emotive context and the repetittion shows significance of the caring emotions Amir holds towards Sohrab.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Time references in Chapter 14

“Fifteen years of marriage” – a time passing reference, which is referring to Amir and Soraya.
“When I was a kid” – references to the past when he was young (could also be a sign of reminiscing – maybe about him & Hassan – maybe this is a decision making chapter for Amir.)

“a pair of kites” – refers back to Afghanistan and the start of the book when he was a child.
“A way to be good again” – refers to the start of the book when he was thinking about Rahim Khan saying those words to him. This phrase is also mentioned three times, the repetition of this holds great significance as well as reinforcing the idea of redemption. (This again gives us clues that this chapter may be the beginning of the road for Amir to achieve redemption and become free of his guilt for Hassan).

We have almost regained the narrative circle! We are almost with the present Amir.


Anyone know anything else interesting about the background on America and the taliban around that time period? I would be interested to know.



The demonic qualities of Assef

pg 241
"I saw marks on his forearm” Which indicates that Assef uses drugs. This is immediately negative when describing his character. Suggests Assef is still as harmful as usual.

“Still wearing his dark John Lennon glasses” – He doesn’t seem to fit in with everyone else; the other guards, the religion. Also slightly ironic how John Lennon is an important English role model and Amir is describing Assef as this person, as well as Assef actually wearing the glasses.
The fact that he doesn’t fit in makes him seem mysterious and intimidating.
We are aware at this point that from what Amir is saying about him, he hasn’t changed his generalised characteristics since the beginning of the book where he was presented as a sick, sadistic and evil character. I almost feel like there are no boundaries to Assef’s actions, anything remotely cruel you can think of- I believe he would do it! If not he would definitely not be scared to do anything that would be at all frowned upon. I think because of this Assef and the reader may even go as far as to see Assef as insane. Especially as Amir later goes on to say “his hands were shaking and he almost dropped the cigarette”. This makes him seem so out of control and excited at the thought of murder and cruelty. He seems dangerous and out of control. He makes us feel anxious. It’s so hard to relate to Assef and his sinful attributes it’s almost as if he is not human.

“he hadn’t changed clothes since the executions earlier that day”- this phrase extenuates Assef’s sadistic features. He literally enjoys the suffering of others. He wears the blood of other people on his shirt because he is proud of it! Assef connotes madness and the upmost impurity. He is the lowest of the low.

“We left them for the dogs” – Assef lacks any compassion. He possesses no positive characteristics. HE IS THE EMBODYMENT OF EVIL.


I think especially as this book was written to an American audience, also shortly after 911 it distinguishes Assef to not only be a murderous cruel man, but he also enjoys being surrounded of many LABELLED that way. The book was published after 911, and America had held the Taliban partly responsible for that. This holds very strong and emotional connotations for the reader; mainly pain and suffering and danger.
This is also very ironic, because it was America who actually supplied the Taliban’s weapons.

Monday, 2 November 2009

chapter 17

In chapter 17 the narrative changes back to Amir's perspective. This is a very interesting chapter and one that doesn’t surprise me in the way that Amir is so deep in denial towards Hassan. I think Hosseini uses Amir’s voice in this chapter to demonstrate his sense of loss, and regret.

It begins with rubbing the salt in Amir’s wound. Amir reads a letter from Hassan, who is surprisingly upbeat and good natured, as if nothing ever happened all those years ago (which is exactly what we’d expect from Hassan’s forgiving, relentlessly good willed character). This does however shock Amir. Amir remarks ‘I read the letter twice’, almost in disbelief that Hassan could still be so impossibly nice, he puts at the end of the letter ‘you will find an old faithful friend waiting for you’. This phrase once again shows us Hassan’s willing dedication to Amir, his respect and forgiving heart. Hassan is pure and free, and Amir is jealous of Hassan but still guilty at the same time.

We then find out that to our disgust Hassan was murdered, once again he is hurt due to standing up for Amir. Hassan was shot because he refused to leave Amir’s house, not wanted it to be overtaken by unwanted people. Hassan wanted to respect Amir and Baba and it ended up getting him killed. Amir is overwhelmed with guilt and disbelief that he crumples into denial over Hassan, repeating ‘no, no, no’ over and over again.

I would have thought that this was the biggest persuasive event for Amir to do almost anything to set himself free, to give himself even the smallest little piece of hope for himself to feel like he is a good person again, but instead he is once again presented at the same selfish, ungrateful, un-heroic character that we have seen throughout. He could go to the orphanage and save Hassan’s son, or he could stay and mourn forever over his selfish life and his guilt over Hassan’s life. He was not only a coward, but now he has another excuse to feel sorry for himself; Hassan’s death. This confuses me a lot because it could be said that Hosseini has literally just created a character the reader is inevitably going to hate, forever. It certainly works on me. I find Amir cruel and selfish and I cannot believe that he refuses Rahim’s dying wish, after all Rahim has done for him!

I almost don’t feel like there is any possible way for Amir to redeem himself now anyway, even if he did save Sohrab from the orphanage.

Overall I think Amir’s voice was used to display his character’s reactions to the dreadful events of Chapter 17, and was used to expose more negative opinions towards Amir.Do something right for goodness sake!