Khaled Hosseini

And the Mountains Echoed

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And the Mountains Echoed Major Character Analysis


The story really begins with the separation between Abdullah and his sister, Pari. Hosseini establishes a deep closeness between the two as Abdullah was more of a fatherly caregiver to Pari. The “selling” of Pari and subsequent separation sets the unfolding of the generations and connected people that follow. Young Abdullah is a sensitive boy, sensing the truth of his sister’s sacrifice even before it happens. His devotion to his sister is proven in a few instances. He refuses to obey his father and return home (and not follow them on their trip to Kabul) despite being struck several times. He collects feathers for Pari throughout his youth, even after she is gone, hoping to give them to her again someday because he knows she loves them.

After the separation of Abdullah and Pari, we do not really hear of him again until near the end of the novel. He is in his late sixties and is suffering from dementia. He has a daughter he has named after his sister and this loss seems to have been transferred to his daughter. She describes his devotion as a father much like a smothering – “either you tore free or you stayed and withstood its rigor even as it squeezed you into something smaller than yourself” (367). He lamented deeply about Pari going away to college, possibly reminiscent of a sense of abandonment he felt when he lost his younger sister. The painful (or blessed) irony of losing his memory is revealed when he is finally reunited with his sister, even though he does not remember her. While the reader may long for a celebratory reunion, both Abdullah and Pari are somewhat blissfully ignorant, perhaps to save the both of them from the pain and anger at all of the time lost. Abdullah does not recognize Pari (because of his dementia) and Pari does not fully remember him and does not understand the feather collection he kept for her. This loss of memory for the both of them brings the story full circle as they both experience the fabled father’s,…

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