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Hosseini: The Kite Runner

2. Chapter 1: The Phone Call

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About this Lecture


In this module, we read through the first chapter of the novel, focusing in particular on: (i) the importance of “I” (Amir) – the first word of the novel; (ii) the themes of adulthood and childhood; (iii) the theme of atonement (“My past of unatoned sins”); (iv) the importance of stories; (v) the importance of California in particular, which is where the American part of the novel is set; (vi) the relationship between past, present and future, and the sense in which the changes Afghanistan experiences in the novel are moves in the wrong direction, back into the past; (vii) the importance of religion; (viii) the ways in which Hosseini brings the world of Afghanistan to life; (ix) the symbolism of the kite; and (x) the circular structure of the novel – from one kite runner at the beginning to another at the end.


In this course, Professor John McRae (University of Nottingham) explores Khalid Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. We begin with a broad introduction to the historical, political and literary context of the novel, before going through the whole novel chapter-by-chapter, providing close reading and detailed analysis, with commentary on character, plot, themes, motifs, language, symbolism and more.


John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

McRae, J. (2021, January 13). Hosseini: The Kite Runner - Chapter 1: The Phone Call [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, J. "Hosseini: The Kite Runner – Chapter 1: The Phone Call." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 13 Jan 2021,