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Hosseini: The Kite Runner

18. Chapter 17: The Death of Hassan

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About this Lecture


In this module, we read through the seventeenth chapter of the novel, focusing in particular on: (i) the character of Hassan; (ii) the way in which Hosseini plays with the reader’s expectations at this point in the novel; (iii) the motif (so far) of guns being pointed at people’s heads but not being fired – and the difference in Hassan’s case; (iv) the extent to which the death of Hassan symbolises the death of innocence, kindness, tolerance in Afghanistan; (v) the importance of the adjective “unrequited” in Rahim’s description of Hassan’s loyalty, and its implicit criticism of Amir; (vi) the symbolism of Amir’s journey back to Kabul; and (vii) Amir’s ill-treatment of Rahim Khan – has he changed since he was thirteen years old?


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 17: The Death of Hassan [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, J. "Hosseini: The Kite Runner – Chapter 17: The Death of Hassan." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 13 Jan 2021,