Similarly, these negative statements can be located in The Kite Runner, which, albeit has a modern view on most things, displays many comments about how the Middle East view women. Near the beginning, women are basically absent from the novel and, as stated by Shyamala, “Hosseini restricts the experience of the women characters to the protagonist’s wife and his mother-in-law” (170). Nevertheless, it is possible to analyse how a woman’s life is described using Soraya, and Jamila.
First, the women’s lives are shown to be ruled by the authority that is men as the man is the one who has established dominance in the family, holding all of the power in his hands (Shyamala 171). An example of this would be observing Soraya before she marries Amir. When general Taheri notices that Amir had given her some of his writing, he proceeds to extend his hand to her, and, without resistance, “she gives him the pages” (Hosseini 161). Because her father holds the authority, she surrenders the pages to her father without opposition.
Equally, Soraya depicts a soft, and weak woman when she is confronted by her father, and ordered to “cut off all of her hair” (Hosseini 189). She is punished by her father for running off with an Afghan man, and staining her reputation as the honour of a man is joined with the purity of his wife and daughter. (Shyamala 171). She is unable to make her own choices, being taken home by her father, reflecting her submissive, and powerlessness within society. Likewise, her mother lives a similar life of weakness and submission. Once married to Taheri, she finds herself under his complete control.
Supporting this, Sarma states, “Though Jamila can sing well, she was forbidden to sing after marriage” (46). Even when Jamila, as Amir explains, “wanted to sing at [Amir and Soraya’s] wedding, only one song, but the general gave her one of his looks and the matter was buried” (Hosseini 187). Jamila did not bother to argue any further, displaying her frailty, by yielding to her husband. In sum, Soraya and her mother are portrayed to be delicate and obedient to the dominant male in their lives, forced to live in “the double standard” (Hosseini 189).
Furthermore, while the women of The Kite Runner are shown to be submissive, weak, and powerless, to unearth the statement made by the two texts, the reader must also interpret the traditional views about women found in the Middle East. To begin, according to Shyamala, “Femininity is characterized by tolerance, delicacy, submission, emotion and softness” (169), a truth that is presented especially within the novel. Though this is true, the most evident traditional view present is that ‘Women are assigned only support roles such as a nurse, mother or wife” (Sarma 45).
These roles are directly related to delicacy and softness that women are described as being which they sometimes relate to weakness. The novel presents a visual of women being in the support role to their husbands as in many instances, such as when a young Amir mentions that “The women were cooking”(Hosseini 90), and that the “wives and daughters served dinner” (Hosseini 90). While the men are sitting down, and such, the women are doing the chores of cooking and preparing dinner reinforcing their position in supporting roles.
The men are the ones who dominate in this case. Additionally, as suggested by Shyamala, the traditional “Reflects Afghan culture where women need to be pure for men” (171). They must be pure so that they can find a husband, just as Amir claims, “Every woman needed a husband” (Hosseini 187). However, in Soraya’s case, she has no suitors until Amir arrives, and he is not accustomed to the “Afghan double standard” (Hosseini 155) as she explains “I make one mistake and suddenly everyone is talking about nang and namoos, and I have to have my face rubbed in it for the rest of y life” (Hosseini 188).
In short, she has no suitors because she is no longer considered to be pure for the men. Finally, observing the traditional views of a woman in the novel, it is easy to notice their weakness and powerlessness as they bear the most brunt of the conflict and exploitation in the warravaged Afghanistan (Sarma 45). While it is not clear with Soraya and Jamila, who no longer live in Afghanistan, it is very evident with extra characters.
They appear in small clusters throughout the novel much like when “The soldier wanted a half hour with the lady in the back of the truck” (Hosseini 121), and again when a member of the Taliban comes to the Orphanage when Amir returns to Afghanistan, “Usually he’ll take a girl” (Hosseini 268). The women receive the most pain, being used, and they are powerless against the dominant men. All in all, the traditional views of women within The Kite Runner indeed further the idea that women are weak, powerless, and obedient to the men in their lives.
To conclude, even though both texts were written in two completely different time periods, and are centered in different locations in the world, both Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and Hosseini’s The Kite Runner are able to be stated as being similar. They are similar, not by their stories, but in the themes, and theories which they cover in a number of ways. While, yes they share themes; mainly, they are said to be similar based on their theories as both clearly harbour key elements of the feminist literary theory.
Using the information about how the lives of the women within both the play in the novel, it is evident that both texts share similar negative statements about women. In this thorough examination of the text, women are displayed as being delicate, helpless, submissive, and in certain instances, little more than items to be used. While this may have been a reality during Shakespeare’s time, this statement is no longer a reality. In modern times, women are shown to be independent, powerful, and on par with the men. Thus, the women in the texts are poorly portrayed, using old-fashioned views.