To most SHS students, the violence and unfairness of Afghanistan is merely a rumor, a ploy to make them thankful for the things they have at home. Most can’t believe such crimes can occur, but Mr. Hewitt’s English 10 honor students are learning the very real horrors of Afghanistan while reading The Kite Runner.
The novel, by Khaled Hosseini, tells the story of a wealthy Pashtun boy named Amir living in Kabul during the 1970s. Amir is best friends with his poor servant, Hassan, who cannot read or write. Amir is quick to make fun of Hassan’s lack of intelligence but Hassan is even quicker to stand up for Amir when something goes wrong. Amir is not a fan of the blood and violence that Afghanistan is famous for, so he retreats and becomes quiet when trouble stirs up.
The Kite Runner is named after Afghanistan’s pastime, kite fighting. Boys and men save up money all year to compete in kite fighting tournaments. Kite fighting is very violent. The strings of the kites are covered in shards of glass so the boys can cut down another’s kite. Some boys are designated kite runners. They run after a cut kite and catch it. Many deaths and injuries have happened while the sport is being played. Kids have fallen off buildings, been hit by cars, ran into parked cars and some motorcyclists have had their neck sliced open by a kite string.
English students recently paired up and did presentations on a topic relevant to Afghanistan culture or book related. Topics included kite fighting, Afghan food, cancer and treatment, Afghan sports, infertility, the expectations of women, and the author Khaled Hosseini.
“It was pretty fun,” said Derek Catlett. Catlett made some Afghan sweets and shared them with the class. “The food used a spice called cardamom. There are no substitutes for it, and it has a really unique taste.”
Students talked about their topic, used props, or used PowerPoint to teach the class.