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Hosseini: The Kite Runner

5. Chapter 4: Sohrab and Rostam

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About this Lecture


In this module, we read through the fourth chapter of the novel, focusing in particular on: (i) the backstory of Ali being rescued as an orphan and growing up with Baba (“just like Hassan and I grew up a generation later”, p. 24); (ii) the arrival of American films in Kabul (“We saw our first Western together, Rio Bravo with John Wayne, at the Cinema Park”, p. 25) – and the surprise that John Wayne “did not really speak Farsi”; (iii) the importance of literary and illiteracy in the novel; (iv) the story of Sohrab and Rostam, and the interaction between the subject of this story (a father killing a son) and themes of the novel more broadly; and (v) the efficiency with which the story is advanced (“But I never got to finish that sentence. Because suddenly Afghanistan changed forever”, p. 32).


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 4: Sohrab and Rostam [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, J. "Hosseini: The Kite Runner – Chapter 4: Sohrab and Rostam." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 13 Jan 2021,