And the Mountains Echoed Themes, Motifs, Symbols

Khaled Hosseini

And the Mountains Echoed

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And the Mountains Echoed Themes, Motifs, Symbols


The strongest motif in the novel centers around stories. Storytelling is used to make sense of a character’s life – either for instruction on or to view life as a unfinished narrative. The novel begins with an important fable and its lesson can be applied to several characters throughout the story. Hosseini may be suggesting that a human life can be viewed as a story, and the web that weaves and winds between human relationships means that our stories are also interconnected. This is why his story is told with so many different narrators. They each provide the context of how they fit into this one large story, and even though they may not be connected by blood, they are brought into each other’s lives, the grand narrative, even if it is for a brief moment.  All having a part of this one grand narrative also reveals that there are many similarities between people, time and place.

Family Ties and Roots

This story mainly focuses on one family, although it spans a few generations and branches out to other lives that are involved.  The ties that bind this family together are at times loose and disconnected or are wound so tightly, that it can, in extreme cases, be the bond that smothers. However, there are several other key players involved with the main family that are not “blood” related but adopt family member roles and, in some cases, become more “family” than blood relatives. Conversely, in the case of Nila, a family bond with her “acquired” daughter, Pari, is tenuous, suggesting that family connections cannot be forced, either. It is the strength of Pari’s connection with her estranged brother that haunts her life as she feels a strong void within her although she never really understands why. It is only in their reuniting near the end of the book, where their family story feels accomplished.

Sacrifice, Duty and Morality

This motif coincides mostly with family ties, and thus, the morality of the amount of obligation people have to each other becomes even more difficult. The novel begins with the fable that involves…

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