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Wednesday, April 22 • 3:45pm - 4:05pm
Searching for Middle Ground: Connecting the East and the West through Universal Themes in The Kite Runner

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Afghanistan’s reputation in the West, particularly following the events of September 11, 2001 and America’s “War on Terror,” has been marked by an ideology that reduces conflict in the region down to the idea of “Us” vs. “Them.” Media portrayals of the Middle East often show incessant images of violence, war, and destruction that support this pervasive idea. Juxtaposed with these perspectives comes Afghan-American Khaled Hosseini’s novel, The Kite Runner, which gives voice to a narrative that is neither exclusively “Us” nor “Them,” but rather a middle ground. The Kite Runner intertwines the familiar and the foreign, allowing readers to both identify with universal themes while also grappling with the nuances of a society that may be largely different than their own. In my thesis I argue that it is these universal themes that are crucial to deconstructing stereotypes about Afghanistan, terrorism, and Islam. In my analysis, I will discuss the vastly different perceptions educators and literary critics have about The Kite Runner and challenge arguments that claim the novel does more harm than good. I emphasize the importance of contemporary literature like The Kite Runner in working to create a better world, despite the limitations in approaches to world literature.

Wednesday April 22, 2015 3:45pm - 4:05pm PDT
038 Karpen Hall