And the Mountains Echoed Discussion Questions

Khaled Hosseini

And the Mountains Echoed

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And the Mountains Echoed Discussion Questions

1. The story follows a family over many generations consisting of Abdullah and Pari, her “mother” Nila, Nabi, and young Pari. There are several other blood and non-blood related characters in this story, but essentially, it is in the reuniting of Pari (Abdullah’s sister) and young Pari (Abdullah’s daughter) that brings the whole story together. Examine the purpose of these other characters’ narration (Parwana, Idris, Adel, Markos). Why are they given a “voice” in this story? How do they contribute to the story’s themes and motifs?

2. Analyze the many different ways Hosseini presents family in this novel.

3. In the first chapter, in a fable told by Abdullah, Hosseini presents that idea that “cruelty and benevolence are but shades of the same colour” (12). Examine the several different “morally ambiguous” situations that are presented in this novel and comment how this paradoxical statement applies to them.

4. Several characters in this story are disfigured or handicapped. Discuss how this pattern is connected to the story’s theme.

5. There is a strong narrative or storytelling motif in this novel. Discuss how it is connected with the concept of family.

6. Hosseini employs many flashbacks in his narration. What function does it serve in relation to the novel’s theme?

7. Discuss the conflict that occurs in being bound by duty or obligation with the desire to escape. Which characters face this dilemma? What does it reveal about the concept of family?

8. In the Acknowledgements section, Hosseini explains that the novel’s title was in part, inspired by a William Blake poem, called “Nurse’s Song” from his Songs from Innocence collection. The novel’s title, the feathers, and the oak tree can all represent innocence. Discuss the use of these symbols, including the title, in the context of the whole novel.

9. In Chapter four Nabi writes: “They say, Find a purpose in your life and live it. But, sometimes, it is only after you have lived that you recognize your life had a purpose, and likely one you never had in mind” (127). Now that you have read the whole story, what “purpose” did the major characters find in their lives that may not have been a part…

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