I opened my eyes. They were gone- Wali, Kamal and the monster with the shiny brass knuckles. The pain from the lower half of my body ran through me like an electric pulse. It was more painful than anything I had ever felt before, the physical agony was bad but the mental torment was unbearable. I felt violated, dirty and never had I felt more alone. As a Hazara I was constantly treated as nothing but filth- ‘slant-eyed donkey’ they called me. The monster called me. Its brutal words clawed their way into my mind, ‘rid Afghanistan of all the dirty, kasseef Hazaras’. The talons of the past were tearing their way into my head but I managed to fight them off, just for an instant, by turning my thoughts to Amir. My friend Amir and his bright blue kite, for which I had made my sacrifice. The kite! Had the monster taken it? I used my cold, bleeding hands to lift myself from the rubble, a sharp piece of rock slicing me as I did so- the very foundations of Kabul punishing me for my ethnicity. I frantically searched for the kite and for a fleeting moment I forgot my torment as I saw the blue kite shining in the corner, a vivid sight prominent amidst the dullness of the muddy alley, silently lingering- waiting for its new owner.
I checked it wasn’t ripped; Amir would not be pleased if it was in poor condition. I had promised him I would bring him the kite a thousand times over and I never lied to Amir, just as he never lied to me, we were best friends, close enough to be brothers. Again my eyes were drawn to the kite and suddenly the monster’s twisted face flashed in my mind. Its grunts echoed in my ear. The sight of the kite reminded me of the monster’s bright blue eyes and the feeling of helplessness as he savaged me. Like a wolf on a lamb. I felt the seat of my pants- they were wet to the touch. I vomited on the crumbling wall behind me. I looked up to the sky and saw the sun was beginning to set, burning bright red as it continued its descent. I remembered my dream. I looked at the blue kite. Amir had defeated his monster; I had been unable to escape from mine. What Amir had said was true; I can’t swim, so I was helpless to escape my foe lurking beneath the lake. Amir can swim and I knew that if he had found me he would have vanquished my monster and saved me from drowning.
I have chosen to write an insert for ‘The Kite Runner’ set shortly after Hassan is raped in an alley as it is an event which is central to both the plot and themes of the novel and I wanted to convey these themes from Hassan’s point of view. I felt it would be interesting to imagine the perspective of Hassan after this massively traumatic experience as it is an event which truly tests his dedication to his friendship with Amir.
I decided to open with a date as it is a technique employed by Khaled Hosseini to emphasise the importance of the past on our present and future experiences. It also enables the author to change time frame and make cataphoric reference to events later in the novel. It is significant that the events of my insert take place in “winter 1975” as winter is generally associated with death and suffering and Hassan’s rape is very harrowing.
Throughout the insert I deliberately wrote in mostly short sentences to convey the frenzied state of Hassan’s mind, I attempted to communicate a sense of a ‘stream of consciousness’- a technique frequently utilised by Hosseini during the text to include the reader in the character’s thought processes and deepen their understanding of their emotions. The main emotions I was striving to develop in the insert was Hassan’s anguish at the terrible situation he had been put through, “I felt violated, dirty and never had I felt more alone” juxtaposed against his relief at finding the kite which he had promised Amir, “for a fleeting moment I forgot my torment as I saw the blue kite”.
Imagery is often used by Hosseini to enhance the reader’s understanding of the harsh environment and make one feel more involved in the text, I utilised imagery to convey the grim nature of the scene and contrasted it with the kite “the sun was beginning to set, burning blood red as it continued its descent”, “I saw the blue kite shining in the corner, a vivid sight prominent amidst the dullness of the muddy alley”. I also personified the kite, much like Hosseini in the opening chapter of the novel where he says that a pair of kites “danced” and were “like a pair of eyes”. This idea of kites being personified as eyes was very intriguing to me and I thought it would be essential to link the kite with Assef’s eyes so I have described both in the same way throughout the insert- Assef let Hassan keep the kite as a reminder of his ordeal so I feel it is ironic that in giving the kite to Amir Hassan is effectively presenting him with a permanent reminder of his cowardice.
I was also concerned with exploring the central themes of the novel, from the perspective of Hassan rather than Amir. I evoked the theme of prejudice and conflict in Afghanistan by showing how alone Hassan, and other Hazaras, felt in Kabul, “a sharp piece of rock slicing me as I did so- the very foundations of Kabul punishing me for my ethnicity”. I also felt it was important to incorporate phonetic Farsi as it adds authenticity to the insert, “kasseef”. One of the most important themes in the novel is the idea of friendship; I used irony to demonstrate Hassan’s unyielding love and trust in Amir by having him say that “he never lied to me”, though it is clear from the text that he frequently does so. Furthermore, I make a cataphoric reference by having him say they were “close enough to be brothers” as it is revealed that they are half-brothers. I also reference Hassan’s dream throughout the insert by referring to Assef as ‘the monster’ as Hassan tells Amir he will defeat his monster- winning the kite running competition; I have twisted this dream to mean that Hassan’s dream inadvertently prefigures his rape, and Amir’s opportunity to ‘defeat’ the monster who abuses him. I also use the lake metaphor to make a statement about Hassan’s trust in Amir by having him say that “if he had found me he would have vanquished my monster and saved me from drowning”, I have here used drowning as a euphemism for his rape, a technique frequently employed by Hosseini.
Overall, I feel my insert adds another dimension to the novel as it encourages the reader to imagine the thoughts and feelings of Hassan and give them another insight into the key themes of the text. I also believe I have been successful in recreating the style of Hosseini as I used many of his writing techniques and feel the passage shares the same tone and pace of the novel.