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Hosseini: The Kite Runner

1. Introduction

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About this Lecture


In this module, we provide a broad introduction to the novel and some of its themes, focusing in particular on: (i) the long history of the Bildungsroman, e.g. Jane Eyre (1847), David Copperfield (1850), Great Expectations (1861), and the extent to which The Kite Runner belongs in this genre; (ii) the relationship between Amir and Hassan; (iii) the extent to which the ending of the novel is typical of the Bildungsroman genre; (iv) the importance of narrators and narratives in the novel – stories, lies, myths, propaganda, etc.; (v) the importance of the gap in time between Amir’s childhood (1975) and the present day (2001); (vi) the importance of the ethnic difference between Amir and Hassan; (vii) the idea of ‘what might have been’; (viii) the extent to which Hassan’s ‘invasion’ by Assef is an echo of Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979; and (ix) the idea of the American Dream novel, and the extent to which the Kite Runner fits this genre.


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 - Introduction [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

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