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Hosseini: The Kite Runner

21. Chapter 20: Kabul

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About this Lecture


In this module, we read through the twentieth chapter of the novel, focusing in particular on: (i) the character of Kabul, and the extent to which the city differs from when we last saw it in the late 1970s; (ii) the character of the old beggar, who used to be a lecturer in poetry at the university; (iii) the novel’s general interest in narratives of all kinds (poetry, dreams, stories, rumours, lies, etc.); (iii) the character of Amir’s mother; and (iv) the nature of Afghan society, in which “such absurdity [i.e. that a beggar would just happen to know a passer-by’s mother] was commonplace” (p. 231).


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 20: Kabul [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, J. "Hosseini: The Kite Runner – Chapter 20: Kabul." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 13 Jan 2021,