Essay Comparing The Kite Runner To The Handmaids Tale

3401 words - 14 pages

Compare the ways in which gender roles are controlled in the ‘The Kite Runner’ and ‘The Handmaids Tale’.
In both, The Kite Runner and The handmaids Tale, Hosseini and Atwood present a variety of methods used to control gender roles, these include; the corruption of religion and its influence over gender roles, the institutionalism of marriage and its use to control women in particular, societies complicit nature that allows oppression of genders to occur, the censorship and use of education in either novels and also the political and authoritative power that essentially governs gender roles to suit its own personal agenda. Hosseini and Atwood use their own novels not only portray how life is like for many men and women around the world –especially in third-world countries but also how events similar to those occur in our own ‘modern and progressive’ societies.
The root of gender roles in The Kite runner stem from the largely provoked regimented power of religion. Throughout Khaled Hosseini’s novel, the reader observes many injustices committed due to “the arrival of the USSR and the fierce retaliation of the mujahedin”, this not only led to several years of war, “the destruction of a social infrastructure”[footnoteRef:1] but also the arrival of the Taliban which “had disguised itself as an ultraconservative political party” although Hosseini prefers to refer to them as “self-righteous monkeys” who “nothing but thumb their rosaries and recite a book written in a tongue they don’t even understand”. When Amir returns to Afghanistan, we not only observe a number of injustices committed due to the arrival of the Taliban but also see a drastic change in the setting. The novel began by Amir describing “the lake on the northern edge…propelled by a crisp breeze… with long blue tails… women and children dancing across the streets”, this blissful image is contrasted after the arrival of the Taliban, the setting changes into a “rutted dirt road…sun-baked bushes…a dead donkey on the side of the road”. This dramatic change in scenery could be interpreted as the consequence of the introduction of the Taliban and the corrupt form of religion it used to control society- particularly women. Amongst these concerning issues is the inequality and oppression women face on a daily basis due to the Taliban’s corrupt enforcement of what they believe to be “sharia law”[footnoteRef:2]. We learn this from when Farzana- Hassan’s wife, who was “beaten in the marketplace”, she was “struck so hard she fell down” for simply raising her voice to “ask the vendor how much the potatoes cost”. This rigid enforcement not only highlights the illogical and unjustifiable actions the Taliban promotes but also dramatizes the unequal rights of men and women. This being just one of the countless examples of women being forced into “dressing modestly”, “speaking quietly”, “serving tea” and “sowing clothes”- all of which fit the typical gender roles we even find today in many societies. ...

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