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Hosseini: The Kite Runner

11. Chapter 10: Escape from Afghanistan

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About this Lecture


In this module, we read through the tenth chapter of the novel, focusing in particular on: (i) the importance of smells in this chapter; (ii) the symbolism of the oil tanker, especially the contrast between what something looks like on the outside and what is actually contained within; (iii) the threat of violence that pervades the whole chapter, and the realisation of that violence at the end; (iv) the gendered nature of the violence, and the intersection of both literal and metaphorical rape; (v) the extent to which the novel is a tragedy; (vi) the number of characters who come close to death, but survive; (vii) the combination of the positive (escape from Afghanistan) with the negative (suicide of Kamal), a structural motif that recurs throughout the novel; (vii) the extent to which the pitch black of the oil tanker is a reflection of the moral bleakness of the chapter as a whole.


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 10: Escape from Afghanistan [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, J. "Hosseini: The Kite Runner – Chapter 10: Escape from Afghanistan." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 13 Jan 2021,