The Kite Runner

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First the Basics: A Bit About Psychoanalytic Criticism ASSUMPTIONS: 1. Creative writing (like dreaming) represents the (disguised) fulfillment of a (repressed) wish or fear. 2. Everyone's formative history is different in its particulars, but there are basic recurrent patterns of development for most people. These particulars and patterns have lasting effects. 3. In reading literature, we can make educated guesses about what has been repressed and transformed. STRATEGIES: 1. Attempt to apply a developmental concept to the work, or to the author or characters (e.g., the Oedipus complex, retentiveness, anxiety, gender confusion). 2. Relate the work to psychologically significant events in teh author's or a character's life. 3. Consider how repressed material may be expressed in the work's pattern of imagery or symbols. Taken from Deborah Appleman's Critical Encounters in High School English ________________________________________ Applying Psychoanalytic Criticism to The Kite Runner: CHAPTERS 1-4 The father/son relationship • “The problem, of course, was that Baba saw the world in black and white. And he got to decide what was black and what was white. You can’t love a person who lives that way without fearing him too. Maybe even hating him a little” (15) • “Of course, marrying a poet was one thing, but fathering a son who preferred burying his face in poetry book to hunting…well, that wasn’t how Baba had envisioned it, I suppose. Real men didn’t read poetry –and God forbid they should ever write it!” (20). • “A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything” (22). • The story of Rostam and Sohrab, where the father accidentally kills his son. “Personally, I couldn’t see the tragedy in Rostam’s fate. After all, didn’t all fathers in their secret hearts harbor a desire to kill their sons? • When

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