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he was 11 years old. He did not speak English when he first arrived in the United States. He describes the experience as “a culture shock” and “very alienating”. He later became the citizen of United States. Hosseini did not return to Afghanistan until 2001 at the age of 36, where he “felt like a tourist in [his] own country”. Hosseini stated that Idris experience as an Afghan expatriate was partly based on his own. “He was a vehicle to describe what it’s like to be an Afghan in exile, to return to see how divergent my experience was from other Afghans.” –Khaled Hosseini Adel, who is the son of wealthy war criminal. He turned Shadbagh into “Shadbagh-e-Nau” or “New Shadbagh”. Adel admires his father because he is a war hero. “Afghanistan is mother to us all” -Adel’s father The truth was, the boredom here in Shadbagh was crushing Adel. He hadn’t made a single friend in the two years they had lived here. He could not bike into town, certainly not on his own, not with the rash of kidnappings everywhere in the region though he did sneak out now and then briefly, always staying within the perimeter of the compound. He had no classmates because Baba jan wouldn’t let him attend the local school-for “Security reasons”,” he said-so a tutor came to the house every morning for lessons. He is raised in an isolated mansion. It is a shrunken world. Some days he was so bored, he wanted to chew wood. He knew that his mother too was terribly lonely here. He does not know the happenings taking place within his own country Afghanistan, he represents the masses in and outside Afghanistan who are disconnected with their country. Adel later learns from a friend Gholam that his father has seized someone’s lands so he’s deeply upset but aware of the part of him that over time would gradually almost imperceptibly, accept this new identity because he thought he cannot change them. That at present prickled like a wet wool sweater. Adel saw that, in the end, he would probably accept things as his mother had. Adel had been angry with her at first; he was more forgiving now. Rafia Zakaria, a director for Amnesty International USA, wrote that the theme of guilt and gratitude also feature prominently. She used the back story of Parwana, and her sister Masooma, Abdullah as an example: “We find a poignant tale of a plain twin whose single act of vengeance, of pushing her pretty sister off a swing results in a lifelong moral burden”. The sister, who was to be married to a man both sisters love, becomes an invalid for life, and both serve the sentence the healthy one tending to the other end wrecked within by the knowledge that she was the cause of their collective misfortune. The mountains represent “knowing” the stories or secrets of certain characters. For example: Parwana lets only the mountains know her secrets. “No one has to know. No one would. It would be her secret, one she would share with the mountains only. The question is whether it is a secret she can live with, and Parwana thinks she knows the answer. She has lived with secrets all her life.” -Parwana Parwana keeps marching toward her new life. She keeps walking, the darkness around her like a mother’s womb, and when it lifts, when she looks up in the dawn haze and catches a band of pale light from the east striking the side of a boulder, it feels like being born. Mountains of Afghanistan, speaks about the life of people. The mountains become indispensable in the life of the people, the mountains are icons of national identity in the novel. “He said that if culture was a house, then language was the key to the front door, to all the rooms inside. Without it, he said, you ended up wayward, without a proper home or a legitimate identity” [Chapter-9] -Abdullah said to his daughter. Many of the descriptions of the Oak tree is an account of how it has changed from being strong, to being weak and shattered. Comparing the process to a tree, Hosseini stated that story “Just branched out” and “Got bigger and bigger as it went along”. For this reason the Oak tree can be seen as a symbol for Afghanistan people to show how they lose their identity. A giant oak tree is nature’s art, appropriated by villagers for centuries. The endurance the tree once possessed, as depicted through the memories Abdullah and Pari have of the both of them lying under its grand shade, is replaced by the image of the tree fallen down, or reduced to a stump. Afghanistan, itself was cut down and its people were uprooted, just as the Oak tree was. It is a terrible blow when the tree is chopped down for firewood. However, although only a stump remains, Adel, a young boy, and his friend rely on the stump for a meeting place and solace their hardships. The eternal reliance on the Oak tree, even its weakest state, represent the way Afghanistan as a country remained faithful to the people, even in times of extreme turmoil. Hosseini painstakingly constructs their characters, their clothes, their facial features, their ruminations. “Slowly, a family began to take shape in my mind not unlike the many I had visited. One living in a remote village, forced to make a painful choice that most of us would find unbearable. At the heart of this family, I pictured a young brother and sister, who become the unwitting victims of their family’s despair. The novel beging then, with this single act of desperation, of sacrifice, an act that ruptures the family and ultimately becomes the tree trunk from which the novel’s many branches spread out”. -Khaled Hosseini The stories in the present day the warlord, the Greek doctor are less convincing although I can understand why Hosseini doesn’t want to abandon Afghanistan to its past. He even writes in a character much like himself: an Afghan born, California-based doctor who struggles for the appropriate response on a visit to his birth land. He wants to treat the survivors of “a 1000 tragedies a square mile” with respect, but the contrast, effectively continues to bring the human faces of Afghanistan to the west. The beautiful writing, full of universal truths of loss and identity, makes each section a jewel, even if the bigger picture, which eventually expands to include Pari’s life in France, sometimes feels disjointed. There’s far less “Afghanistan” and “conflict” in this novel. It appears to be a deliberate decision by Hosseini to reframe the country in readers’ psyches as any other setting and not as a country defined by war, conflict, and turmoil. Perhaps there is too much reflection on identity, too little raw recapturing of the strains and cultural violence engendered by life in our new global village. The loss of identity of the people is because of war and colonization, yet we find some characters in their struggles and turmoil building a concrete identity, and reframing national identity. Hosseini added, “I hope a day will come when we write about Afghanistan, where we can speak about Afghanistan in a context outside of the wars and the struggles of the last 30 years. In some way Hosseini think this book is an attempt to do that.” In Khaled Hosseini’s novel, “And the Mountains Echoed”,” there is a strong sense of family themes and true good-heartedness placed in several relationships throughout the book. The relations of strong family ties in this book form a celebration of family and affirm the absolute best in humanity. The first relationship that Hosseini puts forward is a brother and sister named Abdullah and Pari. This relationship is first introduced in chapter two of the novel. Pari has a strong admiration of her brother Abdullah. Within their relationship, a very important symbol appears within their actions. Abdullah had given Pari an old tin box for her to store feathers of birds that they had found or collected over the years together. Abdullah knew how much the feathers meant to Pari, so at one point he even traded a pair of shoes just to get Pari a peacock feather. The relationship between Abdullah and Pari somewhat goes dormant when Pari is sold to the Wahdati family. It is not until the end of the novel that we see the true emotional attachment that Pari truly has for that metal tin. After years of not seeing Abdullah, they finally meet back up. Nothing seemed to be going as well as planned, as at one point, Abdullah actually accuses Pari of a thief, and doubts the fact of her being his true sister. When Pari, the younger one, presents Abdullah’s sister Pari with the old metal tin, she is in disbelief and begins going through the tin looking at all of the feathers. In the last couple pages of the book, Pari comes to realize how much she really meant to Abdullah, making several quotes about him, such as “when we lost each other, Abdullah and I, it hurt him much more than it hurt me” (419). This quote shows that she truly did not know that he cared for her so much, especially since she was still young when she was sold away, so the memories were pretty vague, but for Abdullah, he had to go through all of the grief. Besides losing the people whom they love, characters also lose their youth, their beauty, their faculties. Pari, now an old woman, says, “Time, it is like charm. You never have as much as you think.” As in Hosseini’s other books, family bonds are central, and the best moments are between small children and parents. This novel is revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another. The novel starts with impoverished village children, Abdulla and Pari, the brother and sister listening to the Baba Ayub story. The siblings are mystically bonded and when Pari is wrenched from the family, the plot lines grow and spread across the globe through the decades, rather like intertwining vines. In Kabul, we meet Nabi, a relative of the children, who works as a driver for Suleiman, a cold, wealthy man, and Nila, his beautiful, miserable wife. Nila will leave for Paris and become an alcoholic poet; in one of the book’s best passages she recounts her turbulent life to a magazine journalist, explaining: “No one was touting me in Kabul. No one in Kabul considered me a pioneer of anything but bad taste, debauchery, and immoral character. Not least of all, my father. He said my writings were ramblings of a whore.” Years later, we watch Suleiman’s mansion fall into the hands of a Greek plastic surgeon who reconstructs mangled bodies and faces after the 2001 war. Other plot lines include the rich little boy coming to terms with his father being a kingpin in the heroin trade; a Bosnian nurse obsessed with a young Afghan patient; and two Afghan-American brothers struggling to reconcile their bourgeois Californian lives with their responsibilities to their native country. All these characters are connected through blood, land, love or injury. They aspire to be good people, but often fail. Idris, one of the brothers in California, reflects on a promise he made to a horrifically injured child in a Kabul hospital: “He has never done anything like this. There is something exhilarating, intoxicating, euphoric even, in throwing hi

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