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Narrative as an Act of Cultural Recovery: Reading Khaled Hosseini

In: English and Literature

Submitted By amitj1981
Words 384
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English studies as a discipline is drawing variously on sociology, history, psychology, etc. The relationship between history and literature is interesting one as it reinforces a particular type of discourse. Afghanistan is a land-locked Asian country of 251,825 square miles (652,225 square kilometres) bordered by Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and China. The modern nation emerged during the eighteenth century by Pashtun tribes in reaction to the decline of the Persian and Indian empires. For a long period in history, Afghanistan has been ravaged by invasions, civil wars and terrorist activities. As the country continues to rebuild and recover, it is still struggling against poverty, poor infrastructure, large concentration of land mines and other unexploded ordnance, as well as a huge illegal poppy cultivation and opium trade. Afghanistan also remains subject to occasionally violent political jockeying. Khaled Hosseini, a native of Afghanistan left the country at the age of eleven and settled in the United States. Hosseini's novel The Kite Runner arrived at the perfect post-9/11 moment, hooking reader curious about the suddenly notorious Islamic nation of Afghanistan, and then reeling them in with a deeply affecting and sentimental melodrama of undying friendship, treachery, Taliban cruelty, and redemption. The present paper discusses Khaled Hosseini’s two novels The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns set against the background of civil war and the rule of Taliban in Afghanistan and looks at Afghan Diaspora in a newer perspective. The paper proposes primarily to explore the representation of Afghan history. It also attempts to explore the story of a nation, Afghanistan, who is the real protagonist, victimized from within and without. The term post colonialism has compelled people to historicise, to relate culture and literary history with political happenings and to articulate the hitherto unarticulated positions. A postcolonial reading of these texts will try to establish the connection between knowledge and power (Orientalism: Edward Said) and an exploration of the psychological formation of the self in psychological terms (The Intimate Enemy: Ashis Nandy). Through these novels Hosseini attempts to step outside his self by approaching his past and history from his changed position. Thus knowledge of self, of context, of history, of tradition, of power relation, of identity are the various issues that the paper aims to explore.

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