“The Kite Runner”: Soraya’s Struggle for Independence and Identity

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The Kite Runner: Depiction of Women in Afghan Society

The book, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is a story that follows the life of Amir. Living in Kabul, Afghanistan, during his childhood made him the person he is today. He lived in a nice house with his father, Baba, and their two servants, Ali and Hassan. Throughout this novel, women are depicted as objects and not humans. Due to long-held societal views, women who seek a profession are often looked down upon.

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Feminist criticism is involved with the manners by which writing strengthens or weakens the monetary, political, social, and mental mistreatment of women. Tyson explains how gender issues have an influence on each part of human generation and experience, including the creation and experience of writing, regardless of whether people are intentionally mindful of these issues or not. Hosseini portrays women accurately throughout The Kite Runner.

The Challenge of Gender Norms and Soraya’s Rebellion

In Kabul, Afghanistan, the life of the woman is difficult because she is seen as an object to men. It is typical for Afghan women to marry before the age of sixteen due to the fact of high rates of kidnapping and rapping. This prompts many Afghan families to arrange marriages for their daughters at such a young age. When Afghan women are married, they remain uneducated, in which they cannot receive a job. In chapter fourteen, Soraya challenges this social norm in Kabul by going against her parents’ wishes for her to become a doctor or a lawyer and chasing her dream to become a teacher. Afghan women must follow certain rules set by society. They are taught at young ages to be the caretaker of their family, and their only job is to have children. Men, on the other hand, are foreseen as dominant or prestigious to women. They are expected to have an education and become successful in the future. With this being the model of society in Kabul, this forms people to have a prejudgement about women and how they should live their life.

Soraya in The Kite Runner: The Pursuit of Passion and Disappointment of Family

Soraya’s father, General Taheri, and mother, Khanum Taheri, are disappointed when they find their daughter to be teaching instead of practicing medicine or law. “Succesful, Soraya (hisses). ‘At least I’m not like him, sitting around while other people fight the show, waiting for when the dust settles so he can move in and reclaim his posh little government position. Teaching may not pay much, But it’s what I want to do! It’s what I love, and it’s a whole lot better than to collect welfare, by the way” (Hosseini 192). Soraya has a strong passion for becoming a teacher but is sadly put down by her parents because it’s not what they envision her to be doing. The profession of teaching is often looked down upon by many, but in a society where women are typically not educated goes against everything which her parents stand for.

Reflection on Gender Dynamics in The Kite Runner and Modern Afghanistan

There is a great deal of tension between Soraya and her brother throughout this chapter. Hosseini illustrates this well when he shows the parent’s sympathy towards her brother but disappointment regarding Soraya because of her success. In The Kite Runner, women are accurately portrayed as items and not human beings because of societal beliefs. Much like today, Afghan women must obey their spouses and form to society’s cultural beliefs. The violence and oppression continue to increase throughout the years of women in Afghanistan. The women who take a stand for their rights are often put in danger and seen as inferior to any males in their family.


Hosseini, Khaled. (2003). The Kite Runner. Riverhead Books.

Tyson, Lois. (2006). Critical Theory Today: A User-Friendly Guide. Routledge.

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"The Kite Runner": Soraya's Struggle for Independence and Identity. (2023, Aug 03). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/the-kite-runner-sorayas-struggle-for-independence-and-identity/