The Purpose of this Blog

Your task on this blog is to write a brief summary of what we learned in class today. Include enough detail so that someone who was ill or missed the lesson can catch up with what they missed. Over the course of the term, these 'class scribe' posts will grow to be a guide book for the course, written by students for students.

With each post ask yourself the following questions:
1) Is this good enough for our guide book?
2) Will your post enable someone who wasn't here to catch up?
3) Would a graphic/video/link help to illustrate what we have learned?

Saturday, 21 January 2012

aspects of narrative: PLACES

Aspects of Narrative: PLACES

*interpret the function of place in The Kite Runner.
*Analyse how place is constructed using structure, language and form.

Why did Amir leave Afghanistan?
- There was a war taking place and Russia was taking over the territory and gaining a sense of power and control over the country.
- Leaving was his idea of escaping from the past and gaining a new lifestyle in new, unfamiliar surroundings.
- At the age of 18, he has a sense of independence from his Baba, and a new surrounding would allow him to break free from this patronising control Baba has over him.

Why did Amir return to Afghanistan?
- Because he recieved a call from his friend Rahim Khan, during which he was reassured that "there is a way to be good again."

DIASPORA = the spread of culture to different areas.

A SENSE OF PLACE = ‘effects in fiction are plural and interconnected, each drawing on and contributing to all the others’
What is meant by this is that it is difficult to focus on an individual aspect of narrative, as we often link more than one together, such as setting with place, and beginning with end.

AFGHANISTAN 1981 – We thought about why this image would upset Baba and formed the idea that this image demonstrates the country to be deteriorating. This would upset Baba as he is witnessing his home land transforming into this fallen country, though he is proud of its previous state from his upbringing, therefore it is saddening to witness such a change, as he is aware of the poor conditions his home land now provides and is certain it will not change.

In the opening of Chapter 10, a sense of place is identified through:
- A different language being included, shown through the use of italics.
- Auditory imagery emphasises the echoes within his mind.
- Senses. Taste – “ throat tasting bile.”
- Physical reaction to this place – symptoms of an anxiety attack every time he thinks about the past. Not familiar with the new surroundings.
- His sickness implies that it is not a physical place, but a metaphorical place, as it is within his mind, buried amongst his thoughts.
- No longer a happy place where he grew up, but a place he is now uneasy in, as if he is unfamiliar with it.
- Foreshadowing – constant reference to memories. Suggests he is trying to relieve a sense of comfort by reliving happy memories of the place from his past with Baba.

We then watched a clip of Inge Missmahl stating the conditions within Afghanistan:
- Average age = 17
- 70% of the population are illiterate
- Most of the population have grown up amongst the war
- Recites the words; shame, fear, bad health, cultural conflict, poor country, malnutrition.
These conditions emphasise the poverty within Afghanistan, and the unbearable living conditions found within the country.

We looked at the opening of Chapter 11. We established that Baba does not fit in to the new place, he is uncomfortable with the surroundings he is now forced to face. This is presented in the first two lines:
Baba loved the idea of America.
It was living in America that gave him an ulcer.
By looking at the language in the line “Baba was the lone Republican in our building” we can identify his incongruity within the new place.
“lone” = different, separate, individual.
“our” = together, shared, ownership, integration.

This displays structural juxtaposition as the contradicting ideas are within the same sentence.

Sense of place -> refugee finding it hard to adapt to new conditions -> adjusting to new home -> memories tie him to his old home -> his afghan culture.
These ties will drag them back to Afghanistan.

We then looked at the opening of Chapter 13 and identified a sense of place in California and Afghan culture still present:
- Their home language, displayed in italics
- The ceremony = a tradition from Afghan culture
- Ford = symbol of American industry
- Auditory imagery – afghan music playing as a way of celebrating their traditions
- Greeting in their cultural way
These aspects included suggest the characters are presenting the idea of ‘Diaspora’ as they are merging their Afghan culture with their current place.

‘With The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini has used the story to reflect on the historical events that surround it, but also uses the history to highlight the protagonist’s journey.’

Hosseini does this by using an individual's experience to highlight a national and cultural problem: that of how Afghanistan can move on from conflict.

What is the function of ‘place’ in telling the story?
- Its function is to elaborate the culture within the story. The place helps to tell the story by building the situation up. We are presented with the idea that another place would create a different situation; therefore the significance of this specific place is displayed. Also, the place within the story represents different themes. In this story, Afghanistan represents the themes of conflict and disputation. Whilst America represents the themes of security, safety and opportunity.

How is ‘place’ constructed in the text?
- Through language, description, imagery, senses. These features allow the reader to create an idea of the place in their mind, enabling them to visualise the surroundings. Also through juxtapositions as the two different countries are displayed through two different ideas, contrasted together.


  1. A very clear summary of the class. I like how you have included the aspects of narrative, especially the place/setting through language and structure.

  2. This is a good blog as it helps me to understand what I missed in the lesson. It helps me to develop on the things I knew about but learn more knowledge.

  3. This was really helpful in consolidating what we learnt in class.

  4. Go on Shaz!
    excellent blog on recapping ALL that we did in lesson, its fab. I will definitely use this as revision for our exam.
    Sophie :)