The Kite Runner and Mrs. Dalloway Essay

The Kite Runner and Mrs. DallowayBoth novels, The Kite Runner by Khalid Hussoieni and Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf differ in their themes and presentations of those themes. Mrs. Dalloway skillfully presents the details of only a single day in the life of Clarissa, the protagonist.

Virginia Woolf has summed up al the details of different facets of her life as well of life and people surrounding her through the subtler use of literary technique i.e. stream of consciousness. Although Khalid Hussein has tried to utilize the same technique of flashback in some parts of his novel but his mastery over the technique seems inept. Both novels carry autobiographical elements that pervade the both novels. However The Kite Runner received applause from critics as Amardeep Singh put it; “In my view, though it’s not quite a literary masterpiece, The Kite Runner does do some interesting things narratively, and is a nicely paced and carefully written story.” (Singh)Theme of homosexuality is a common element and thematic ex[1]pression in the novels.

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  In Mrs. Dalloway, Clarissa was powerfully attracted to Sally whereas in The Kite Runner, Assef is an alleged homosexual who committed wrong to Sohrab. The only difference that homosexuality is forced in Kite Runner where Mrs. Dalloway had it only on sentimental level.

Both writers referred to homosexuality in societies where homosexuality is considered a social taboo and ridiculed at highest level but both societies remain involved in homosexuality implicitly in one way or the other.In Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia takes into account the feminist themes as well. She takes in hand the themes of female emancipation, feminine identity, individualism and personal autonomy but her feminist approach is quite different. Unlike other feminist writers who were primarily concerned about the social elevation of women, she craved an understanding of individual sovereignty. Khalid Hussieni only depicts the conditions of women in Afghanistan.

In that a society woman is totally subjugated to man and has no identity of her own.The narrative styles of both writers are quite different. Virginia Woolf has used a complex technique of narration i.e. to manifest the inner mental working of Clarissa’s mind as well the fleeting thoughts of a particular character in the story and tries to remove “usual boundaries between mind and world” (Miller, 169).

.  Khalid has utilized a simple narrative style where two third of the story is narrated by Amir, the protagonist, to the readers directly where remaining one third of the story is revealed by Rahim Khan, another character and friends of the protagonist’s father. It is plain and classical story telling style whereas Virginia was pioneer of the style which she introduced in Mrs.

Dalloway.Ms. Woolf concern primarily remains existential and philosophical whereas Khalid has tried to depict the social and political aspects of an ordinary Afghan. Virginia has tried to emphasize on though whereas Khalid has paid much attention to actions and events. His (Khalid) world is not conducive to thoughts. An afghan society in general and a Pathan community is particular has nothing to do with higher philosophical thought and existential orientation and their concerns in limited to socio-cultural life. Khalid has beautifully depicted these concerns through the eye of an ordinary Afghan.

Virginia Woolf’s characterization of Mrs. Dalloway is perfect and she provides her complete individuality. It is not a typical feminist character that longs for simple physical liberation but she craves for intellectual as well as psychological liberation. Mrs. Dalloway manifests socio-historical impact on individual life and “how class, wealth, and sex help to determine his fate” (Zwerdling, 1977. 69). Khalid Husseini’s characters are merely types except Amir and Assef.

He does not delve deep into their personalities and does not create individuals. Sometime his depiction of Taliban is based on popular stereotypes and he fails to provide any specific identity to them.  There are too many generalizations in the novels as well where Khalid is unable to provide any viable justification or socio-historical proof.Works CitedWoolf, Virginia. Mrs.

Dalloway. New York : Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1998.Husseini, Khalid. The Kite Runner. New York : Riverhead Books, 2003.Miller, J. Hillis.

  “Mrs. Dalloway: Repetition as the Raising of the Dead.”  Modern            Critical Views: Virginia Woolf. Ed. Harold Bloom.

  New York: Chelsea House,            1986.  169-190.Singh, Amardeep. The Kite Runner. Lehigh University. 2005.

Retreived on June 09,            2008. Website: ;;;;Zwerdling, Alex.  “Mrs.

Dalloway and the Social System.”  Publications of the Modern            Language Association of America 92 (1977): 69-82.[1] Amardeep Singh, Assistant Professor of English at Lehigh University


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