The Setting—Affghaniisttan • Terrain – rocky and dry, mountainous in the central part of the country • Climate – hot summers, cold winters • Geography – borders Iran, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikstan
Politics • In the 19th century, Afghanistan ceded many territories to Great Britain. • In 1919, the Anglo-Afghan wars returned the ruling power to the Afghani monarchy. • In 1973, the king’s brother staged a coup to create a Republic. • In 1978, communists overthrew the ruler and took over the government.
Politics (continued) • In 1979, the Soviet Union sent troops to Afghanistan to bolster the communist regime. • The Soviet occupation resulted in a mass exodus from Afghanistan. Over 5 million people left the country and settled mainly in Pakistan.
However, the world-wide push against communism was considerable, and the Soviet Union finally left the country in 1989 after much opposition from rebel groups inside Afghanistan.
• The chaos that was left by the Soviet withdrawal spawned the rise of the Taliban, and it seized Kabul in 1996.
The Taliban • Under the Taliban’s rule, human rights and civil liberties were slowly peeled away. • The Taliban instituted cruel and inhumane treatment of those who opposed them in order to solidify their power over Afghanistan’s citizens.
How does it relate? • In the beginning of The Kite Runner, themonarchy is still in place and the country is relatively calm. However, chaos starts to erupt as the king is overthrown by his brother. • In the second half of The Kite Runner, the Taliban is in power, creating a much more volatile and dangerous Afghanistan.
Islam A religion based on the interpretations of God’s word by the prophet Muhammad found in the Qu’ran (sometimes spelled Koran) Followers of Islam, Muslims, are devoted to daily prayer (five times a day facing Mecca, the holy city).
The Tenets of Islam • There are several tenets of Islam, but there are three mentioned early on in the book: • Zakat – charitable giving • Hadj – pilgrimage to Mecca • Namaz – five daily prayers facing Mecca
What is the Kaaba? The Kaaba or "Cube" is a circular building located inside the al-Masjid al-Haram mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The mosque was built around the original Kaaba. The Kaaba is the holiest place in Islam. The qibla, the direction Muslims face during prayer, is the direction from their location on Earth towards the Kaaba. It is around the Kaaba that ritual circumambulation is performed by Muslims during the Hajj (pilgrimage) season as well as during the Umrah (lesser pilgrimage).
The Black Stone The Black Stone is a significant feature of the Kaaba, believed by Muslims to date back to the time of Adam and Eve. Located on the eastern corner of the Kaaba, it is about 30 cm (12 inches) in diameter and surrounded by a silver frame. Hajj pilgrims often attempt to kiss the Stone as Muhammad once did. Because of the large crowds, this is not always possible, and so as pilgrims walk around the Kaaba, they are to point to the Stone on each circuit. Tradition has it that the Black Stone was white when it came to Earth, subsequently turning black under the burden of humanity's sins.
Islamic Tradition According to the Qur'an, the Kaaba was rebuilt by Ibrahim (Abraham) and his son Ishmael. Islamic traditions assert that the Kaaba "reflects" a house in heaven called al-Baytu –Mamur and that it was first built by the first man, Adam. Ibrahim and Ismail rebuilt the Kaaba on the old foundations.
What does it look like during the Hadj? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzAJIXwc49A http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4132858888586976866&ei=uUasSOenA4fy4AL-z5Qi&q=about+the+Kaaba+mecca&vt=lf Info on Islam http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/muslims/etc/faqs.html
Divisions in Islam Islam is divided into two denominations, Shia and Sunni. Because of the differing views of these two groups, they maintain a rather tense and hostile relationship. • The Pashtun (majority) are typically Sunni, and the Hazara (minority) are typically Shia. • Thus, the racial differences are compounded by the religious differences.
Racial Conflict The distinct racial division in Afghanistan occurs between the Hazara and the Pashtun. The Pashtun are the majority race, and discrimination against the Hazara is widespread.
Hazara • The Hazaras are most easily identified by their tendency to have light colored and almond shaped eyes and round faces. • They are possibly direct descendents of Genghis Khan, who invaded Afghanistan in the 13th century. • Thus, they are seen as “invaders” and not true Afghanis.
The Hazaras typically function as the servant class and partake in few of the freedoms enjoyed by the Pashtun upper-class.
Afghani Words • jan – a term of endearment often used after a person’s name: Baba jan • agha – leader, ruler, master, lord • sahib – friend (original), lord • naan – bread • Other words will be explained in context on a need-to-know basis
Characters • Amir – the main character; narrator • Baba – Amir’s father; wealthy Afghani • Rahim Khan – Baba’s best friend and business partner; an uncle to Amir • Hassan – Amir’s best friend; servant • Ali – Hassan’s father
Essential Questionsin daybook • Is it ever appropriate or necessary to remain a silent bystander when someone is being hurt (physically or emotionally)? • Is it possible to atone (make amends) for our wrongdoings? • Do we have an obligation to be loyal and truthful to our friends and family members?
Clarification and Changes for Presentations As a pair or trio, will create one display item ( Chart, brochure, write-up or mural). Present through a PowerPoint presentation your interpretation of your chosen text, alongwith some research you must have conducted to explain the conrext and problems faced by the characters . You must use text from the novel to support your claims.
One group- One TopicYou must be sure to refer to the text (with direct text) in your presentation Group One- Symbolism in the novel Group Two- Characterization of Amir Group Three- Characterization of Hassan Group Four- Foreshadowing in the novel Group Five- Compare and Contrast - America/Afghanistan Group Six- Compare and Contrast- Pashtuns/Hazaras Group Seven- Imagery in the novel Group Eight- “Man’s Inhumanity To Man” as a theme in the novel Group Nine- Tone and Mood in the novel Group Ten- Theme of “the strength of character” in the novel Group Eleven- Theme of “discrimination and bigotry” in the novel