- May 31 - King Library Opens at 1:00 PM
For August, 2012, our Online Book Club continues by discussing The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Each week, we'll put forth a different question to prompt reflection on the book and it's ideas. We hope you will participate in the discussion by leaving comments below!
Question for Week 4:
When Amir and Baba move to the States their relationship changes. Discuss these changes in their relationship.
As I considered the changes in the relationship between Amir and Baba during their lives in America, I was struck by the details the author does not talk about, as well as the ones he does. Baba and Amir moved from a large, wealthy home to a refugee camp to a small apartment. How did the intimacies of sharing this small space with only each other affect them? Also, Amir becomes more dominant as he becomes "the English speaker" for a father who speaks only broken English. How does that affect them?
Baba certainly retains his authority as the father. "Don't you challenge me in public, Amir. Ever. Who do you think you are?" he says after leaving the doctor's office. Baba is also the one to speak to General Taheri about Amir and Soraya becoming engaged, following Afghan custom.
He shows his love by supporting Amir financially through his job at the gas station, and later spends his life savings on Amir's wedding. And on the day of "lafz, the ceremony of "giving word" for the engagement of Amir and Soraya, Baba says that "It's the happiest day of my life, Amir." Finally, Baba retained his nang and namoose throughout his life. "Honor and pride. The tenets of Pashtun men."
One of Amir's childhood wishes comes true. In America, he and Baba spend a great deal of time together, at home and later working together buying and selling flea market items. I think this time together, as well as Baba's illness, shows Amir that Baba is not just his father, but a man with human frailities. Such a man is less intimidating and more approachable than a distant, lionized authority figure. After Baba called General Taheri to ask if he could come by to discuss "an honorable matter... Amir bursts into giggles, and Baba joins in". It is good to see them sharing such a moment.
Amir also realizes that his father is proud of his writing ability when Baba shows Soraya the book Amir first wrote stories in. Baba accepted Amir's writing as he went to college, but showing the book off was more... much like showing off the blue kite from Amir's tournament.
Readers, please join us at 7:00 PM tomorrow, August 23, 2012 as Khaled Hosseini comes to San Jose Public Library for an author talk and discussion at Almaden Library and Community Center. Meet the author of this month's book, The Kite Runner. We hope to see you there!