AP English Literature and Composition
11 February 2019
Setting in The Kite Runner
The setting in The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini plays a very important role because it is a backdrop for the occurring events, and it shapes the story. The changes in setting set the tone for the events that are going to occur there. For example, in pre-Soviet Afghanistan Baba and Amir have to leave their home, in America Amir becomes a young man while Baba suffers from a serious illness, and finally in the Taliban controlled Afghanistan Amir experiences a late maturation. The setting controls the cultural environment, historical period, and social standards. As the setting changes, the way the characters react to each other and what is going on around them is what develops the plot, and characters themselves.
The first important setting is pre-Soviet Afghanistan. In this society, there is a large prejudice against both women and the Hazara population. Because of this prejudice, the friendship between Hazara Hassan and Pashtun Amir is frowned upon and is put to many tests. One of these include Amir witnessing the rape of Hassan by another Pashtun boy named Assef. Because of the setting Amir grows up in, he is unable to speak out socially about the injustice he witnessed. Since most of the Afghani population is against the Hazaras anyway, it is evident that they would not be that bothered by the mistreatment of Hassan. Although this point is not directly addressed in the novel, it can be implied that if Amir had been brought up in a more progressive and lenient country, then he would have had the courage to help Hassan by bringing this issue out into the community and having Assef punished. Some may say that Amir’s silence is due to his lack of courage, but Amir could easily have brought Assef to justice by confessing what he saw. He did not do this because of the prejudice against the Hazara community and because of oppressive community where he lived.
The next large setting that has a major impact on the plot is that of California. In California, Amir is able to see a world w...