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Social and political protest writing: A Doll’s House and The Kite Runner Eve McMullen 12th Grade


In the social and political demonstration composing Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House’ and Hosseini’s ‘The Kite Runner’ the wanted effect upon the audience is probably to reveal to them a fact about society or about a particular scenario, to motivate empathy and maybe to bring a new level of understanding which could shape modification in society. Both texts had a very specific audience in mind, for Ibsen the rising middle classes, and for Hosseini Western readers who had actually only seen Afghanistan from afar and it is therefore fascinating to check out the different techniques used to convey the preferred affect and to ‘win hearts and minds’ over to the author’s and characters’ sides.

Ibsen, as one of the earliest examples of a naturalist playwright uses setting and character to target the Norwegian urban middle class audience. Making use of your house setting with its comfortable ‘stove lined with porcelain tiles, with a couple of armchairs and a rocking chair’ ‘a what-not with china and other bric-a-brac’ indicated that modern audiences would’ve been beinged in front of a set, on which this questionable action was unraveling, which might’ve easily been a reflection of their own front spaces. Nora too, as they homemaker who moved from her father’s house to her husband’s and whose life revolves around the house and children, was a ‘stock type’ character role whose life and scenarios were likely similar to that of many bourgeoisie ladies in the audience. This implementation of naturalism implies that when the significant action unfolds, the audience can not help but make parallels to their own lives and relationships. In specific Nora’s rebellious ending in which she declares ‘It’s your fault I have actually done nothing with my life.’, therefore implicating the entire female audience in this claim and inquiring to question whether they are content or pleased with their place in life as a wife and mother. This sort of effect leads to social change because it requires an audience to assess their own situations, and in this case particularly challenges bourgeoisie couples over how they treat eachother and whether their relationship is being specified by their social roles.

The Kite Runner challenges views and presumptions in a different method, as a second generation post-colonial text, by crafting a brand-new picture of the Afghan country and cultural heritage. Throughout the novel Western readers are encouraged to empathize with the plight of Afghanistan through its political characterization as a nation. Through the classic retrospective kid’s story of the very first section of the book we come to know the country, almost as its own character through familiar sensory descriptions such as ‘multicoloured buses’ ‘laughter and chatter’ ‘hot tea steaming from thermoses, and the music of Ahmad Zahir blaring from cassette players.’ This immersive description of the culture produces images that juxtaposes both the later change of the sensory scape- ‘staccato of shooting’ ‘I closed my eyes and searched for the sweet taste. I didn’t discover it.’ ‘A haze of dust’- after the Soviet and Taliban occupations and perhaps the promoted pictures of war-torn Afghanistan Western audiences would’ve been utilized to viewing on the news when this book was released. It not just encourages us to view the nation as a victim of war itself through this but also challenges Western understandings of the region and culture as a whole. To this end it wins the hearts of Westerners, possibly those with power to make a difference to the plight of Hosseini’s homeland, and motivates protest against prospective inaction with Afghanistan’s modern scenario.

Audiences in A Doll’s Home are likewise privy to a special viewpoint on the events and the juxtapositions presented as they follow Nora’s interactions with both Helmer and the play’s other characters such as Mrs Linde and Dr Rank. Nora is presented at first in the play as a silly and naïve woman who depends on her hubby who comprehended far better than she in his social function as a guy and a lender, this is communicated through her affectionate animalization and dehumanization as ‘an expensive animal’ or the possessive ‘my little songbird’. In this presentation she is entirely helpless and typical of a woman in 19th century society. However, during the course of the play, her interactions with the minor characters are utilized as foils to expose, only to the audience, her strength, seriousness and capability for rebellion. When she then returns to her interactions with Helmer they are juxtaposed and undermined since they are structurally so near to the exposition of his weak points and Nora’s ability and therefore expose the hollowness of their initial discussions. For instance, Nora reveals to Mrs Linde, in well-structured and fairly mature language and tone, such things as how Torvald ‘he got rather jealous’ and ‘he is so proud of being a guy’ or how ‘It was I who found the cash.’, defying her weak female portrayal. This is then juxtaposed by her instant interactions with Helmer in which the audience sees Torvald boast an in-control adult role such as ‘When the real crisis comes you will not discover me doing not have in strength or courage. I am male enough to bear the concern for us both,’ and Nora go back to a self-deprecating animalization and 3rd individual ‘Squirrel would do great deals of pretty tricks for you’. This makes a sense of irony which only the audience views and thereby leads them to question the dependability of the social roles they existed with in the start, and furthermore the social roles they themselves implement in society, as here the guy is weak through his obsession with reputation, and the female has handled the monetary concern. As critic Clement Scott put it- ‘the guy becomes the hysterical female, and the woman becomes the silent, sullen, and determined man.’ Showing to the audience the flimsiness of their assumed gender and social functions and hence dissuading their perpetuation.

In the Hosseini’s writing he has one end of the world to select in regards to Western viewpoints. This is discovered in his discussion of Assef- the novel’s allegory and representation of spiritual extremism in society. The introduction to Assef makes use of the images of ‘the blonde, blue-eyed Assef’ ‘Born to a German mom and Afghan dad’, this imagery in addition to the semantics of radical ideologies such as ‘ethnic cleansing’ and ‘watan’ help develop a clear parallel in readers’ minds between Assef and the Islamist extremism he comes to represent and the relatable Western example of Hitler- a referral made specific through his use of ‘Mein Kampf’ as a present for Amir. This supplies a point of reference for Western readers that indicates the Taliban and extremists are as representative of Afghan culture as Hitler was of the West and therefore requires us to reconsider our presumptions. With Assef type-cast as a practically phase bad guy in the text, we are inclined to sign up with the side of Air in the Afghans in a desire to stand up to and reject the authenticity of the modern-day extremists affecting the region. His strong demonization, presented plainly as ‘outrageous’ ‘a sociopath’, unifies characters and audience in a rejection of this element of Eastern culture and once again ‘wins over the hearts and mind’ of the Western audience who come to empathise with Assef’s and extremism’s Afghan victims.

Total then, both texts make a clear relate to their intended audience, be it through naturalism and structure, or a design of composing directed at supplying a relatable and compassionate perspective. Many of all these writings aim to make their audience question their presumptions, whether that is about a culture or about societal roles. It is this that is conducive change in society since it provokes disgust, guilt or newfound understanding; for Ibsen, in the constructs and condition of society, and for Hosseini in the suffering of his nation and discrimination against Eastern culture.

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