Wednesday, 18 November 2009



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.

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