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Reader Response

Page history last edited by msward 11 years, 4 months ago


Table of Contents for this page


First the Basics:

A Bit About Reader Response Criticism


  1. An author's intentions are not reliably available to readers; all they have is the text.
  2. Out of the text, readers actively and personally make meaning.
  3. Responding to a text is a process, and descriptions of that process are valuable.



  1. Move through the text in super-slow motion, describing the response of an informed reader at various points.
  2. Or describe your own response when moving through the text.
  3. React to the text as a whole, embracing and expressing the subjective and personal response it engenders.


Taken from Deborah Appleman's Critical Encounters in High School English

Applying Reader Response Criticism to The Kite Runner:



Ms. Ward's reaction:


Having just talked about allegory in class yesterday, I'm wondering about Amir's story and the myth of Rostam and Sohrab (29). Both of these tales seem to be allegorical.  The story of Rostam and Sohrab seem to be an opposite version of Oedipus Rex.  In the tale of Oedipus, the son unknowingless kills his father. The story of Rostam and Sohrab is opposite in that the father kills the son.  This seems significant since Amir seems to be in the midst of an Oedipal crisis, both fearing and jealous of his father.  The story of Rostam and Sohrab seems to be an intentional pick on the part of the author to highlight this crisis.


Similarly, the story that Amir writes about a man killing his wife to be wealthy, seems to be allegorical.  I have a feeling I've read a similar fable, but can't seem to place it.  What do you think?  Does this story sound familiar?



Literary Criticism and The Kite Runner:

Linked below are student developed resources to help readers better understand the depth and complexities of Khaled Hosseini'sThe Kite Runner. These pages were put together in conjunction with our study of literary criticism.



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