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Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction

The following is a piece of writing submitted by southgateharper on September 16, 2011
"This is a reading response I have written as a model to read aloud to my students. I am trying to get them to make connections with the reading and writing."

Free Write

For the last two weeks I have been reading the novel “The Kite Runner”, written by Khaled Hosseini. It is a story of a man and his memories of growing up in Kabul, Afghanistan in the mid 1970’s. The setting of the novel takes place just as Afghanistan has undergone a revolution to overthrow the King Mohammed Zahir Shah.

The main characters in the novel so far are: 1. the narrator, Amir, a boy eleven years of age; 2. his father, Baba, a gruff man in his fifties; and 3. their foster child and Amir’s friend, Hassan, who is a Hazzara, which is considered an underclass in Afghani society. Hazzara’s mother ran away after he was born and he was taken in by Amir’s family.

The title of the novel comes from the skill that Hazzara has, that of being an excellent “kite runner”. A “kite runner” is someone who chases down and claims or captures kites that have fallen from the sky in kite fighting contests. In Afghani society kite fighting is extremely popular. Great care is taken to make huge colorful fighting kites. Sometimes the battles can involve as many as a hundred kites being in the air at the same time. People in the city will gather in parks and on the rooftops of buildings to picnic and watch the kite fights.

This kite fighting reminds me of having kite fights when I was a kid. But back then we would just try to dive-bomb our kites into one another. In Afghanistan they drip the kite string into pools of glue and broken powdered glass, in order to give their kite strings cutting power.

A passage in the story that I especially like happens when Amir is about to win the city- wide kite fighting contest. He has outlasted fifty other competitors and it is all down to him and a man with a blue kite.

The tension in the air was as taut as the glass string I was tugging with my bloody hands. People were stomping their feet, clapping, whistling, chanting, “ Boboresh! Boboresh! Cut him! Cut him! “. I wondered if Baba’s voice was one of them. Music blasted. The smell of the steamed mantu and fried pakora drifted from the rooftops and open doors.

I like the way this passage captures the sounds and smells of the setting. I usually read aloud to myself without much visualizing, but this passage really helped me see in my mind’s eye what a kite fight in Kabul would be like.

I am still reading the book. I have only gotten to page 73 so far, but I am really enjoying it. I predict that something bad is going to happen next in the story because Amir has just won the kite fight and you can just feel that he due for a letdown. That’s all part of the natural ebb and flow of novels and life.

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