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An Analysis of the Kite Runner as Bildungsroman

Author DingShouZuo
Tutor LvHongLing
School Nanjing Normal University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Khaled Hosseini The Kite Runner Bildungsroman
CLC I712.074
Type Master's thesis
Year 2013
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Khaled Hosseini’s debut novel, The Kite Runner (2003), established his reputation as an Afghan-American writer of merit. Since the novel’s publication, it has become an international bestseller; it has been published in70countries and in55different languages.The Kite Runner centers around the relationship between Amir and his servant, Hassan. In his effort to right a wrong committed crime in his childhood, Amir undergoes a long and difficult personal journey and eventually becomes a virtuous, righteous, courageous, and mature person.The Kite Runner describes Amir’s continuous efforts to move from his past and confront the obstacles he faces as he grows up, telling a story of initiation and redemption. Basing its argument on this great text, this thesis probes the Bildungsroman features of The Kite Runner from four perspectives:the process of the story, the influence of the fellow characters on the protagonist, the novel’s structure, and cultural influences. With regard to the first perspective, the novel depicts the growth process of the protagonist and includes many autobiographical components that are rooted in the author’s actual life experiences. In the view of the second, the characters in the novel exert both positive and negative influences over the protagonist and affect his growth. All these spiritual guides and companions play a role in shaping the protagonist’s future. With regard to the third, in terms of the plot pattern, the protagonist’s insights, and the narrative viewpoint, this novel acts like a typical Bildungsroman in that it maintains a structured perspective. Fourth, this thesis emphasizes the "kite" as a special symbol in the novel; through detailed and careful descriptions, the author skillfully infuses the idea of the "kite" with unique tropes of Afghanistan’s culture, namely Arabic social characteristics and reflections on the Muslim religion. This further supports the view of this novel as a unique Bildungsroman with Afghan characteristics. Through a detailed analysis of The Kite Runner, this thesis reveals the novel’s traditional and innovative qualities in terms of its content, characters, structure, and sociocultural influences.

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