12th Grade Summer English Homework

Step 1: Read The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini, in its entirety. You can find the book at the Public Library or purchase it from a Barnes and Noble, a used book store, or on websites like Amazon.com or Half.com.

Step 2: Choose one of the prompts below and write a five page literary essay. Do not consult outside sources for this essay. Stay off the internet. Remember the plagiarism will result in a zero.


v  Five Full Typed Pages

v  MLA Format

v  At Least Four Quotes

1. The story of The Kite Runner is a journey, a journey of redemption and self-awareness. Rahim Kahn’s words to an adult Amir set the story in motion: “There is a way to be good again” (2). Looking back over the story, its characters, its symbols, and its themes, what “truths” about redemption emerge? What does the novel illustrate about the themes of sacrifice, honor, and redemption? What mistakes does Amir make and what overall “truth” or lesson does he learn from those mistakes?

2. The strong underlying force of this novel is the relationship between Amir and Hassan. Discuss their friendship. Why is Amir afraid to be Hassan’s true friend? Why does Amir constantly test Hassan’s loyalty? Why does he resent Hassan? After the kite running tournament, why does Amir no longer want to be Hassan’s friend? What major themes does the nature of their friendship explore?

3. Leo Tolstoy once wrote, “All happy families are like one another; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Write an essay in which you explain the source of the unhappiness in one of the families in The Kite Runner, and the uniqueness of its misery.

4. Khaled Hosseini vividly describes Afghanistan, both the privileged world of Amir’s childhood and the stricken country under the Taliban. How did his descriptions differ from ideas that you may already have had about Afghanistan? What cultural differences become evident in the American passages of the novel? How easy do the Afghans find it to settle in the US?


1. Don’t tell your reader what you’re going to tell him or her--just tell em! In other words, do not say: “In my essay, I am going to tell you about…”

2. Write formal papers in third person. Use he, she, it, they, one--but not I, we, or you.

3. Write literary papers in the present tense. Thus, George leaves Bob, not George left Bob.

4. Make pertinent references to the work itself. Be specific. Saying that Linda disappoints her teammates is too vague. Saying that Linda is ostracized by the volleyball team because she lost all the equipment is specific.

5. Quote appropriately by integrating phrases within your own sentences. Include the page number in parentheses as shown. The best way to avoid a QUOTE LUMP is to quote phrases. The following examples illustrate the differences.

Sentence exactly as it appears in the novel: “What I was really hanging around for, I was trying to feel some kind of a good-by, I mean I’ve left schools and places I didn’t even know I was leaving them”(4).

Sentence with a QUOTE LUMP: Holden says, “I was trying to feel some kind of a good-by” (4).

Sentence explaining quote’s importance but LUMPY with unneeded words: Even though he has been expelled from Pencey, Holden can’t leave immediately because he says, “I was trying to feel some kind of a good-by” (4).

Sentence integrating & explaining quote with no unneeded words: Expelled from Pencey, Holden can’t leave immediately because he is “trying to feel some kind of a good-by” (4).

6. Limit your quotes to one or two sentences.

7. Use transitional words to relate ideas and events to each other and to introduce some of your examples. For instance, to illustrate, consequently, in addition, on the other hand and other such “glue words” help your paper “fit together.”

8. Italicize or underline the title.

9. Pay very careful attention to the spelling of any words in quoted passages, the names of characters and places, and common homonyms. To confuse its and it’s are careless error’s which show a lack of respect for your own work.

10. The majority of your essay should be your ideas, not summary.

MLA Formatting Reminders (Your paper should look like the below example!)

Your Name

Mr./Ms. Teacher

English I

Month Date, Year


In MLA format, the whole paper is double spaced, including the heading. The title is centered below the heading. You do not add italics, underlining, or bold fonts to your words in a title. Notice that there are no extra spaces before or after the title. Your thesis should be at the end of the first paragraph.

When you’re ready to start the second paragraph, begin with an indent right below the first paragraph. Notice that there are no extra spaces. Your paper should be written in Times New Roman size 12. Use the standard 1 inch margin settings that usually come up automatically.

OR whatever that indicates the direction your paper will follow.