The Struggle In John Cooper's 'The Kite Runner'

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To most, time seems to run linearly. In fact, most would say time is so utterly linear that one can see the end right from the beginning: You are born. You age. You die. It is true in every case that young bones grow fragile, strong joints begin to ache, and wrinkles mar once beautiful faces. On the outside, there seem to be no gimmicks, no twists, no surprises. However, every human being has an internal clock as much as he does an external clock. He will think that time runs linearly and take no notice as it winds itself around him, turning him backward in reflection, forward in vision, sideways in thought and contemplation. Little does he know that time is slowly wrapping him in an inescapable maze, tracing convoluted paths through every…show more content…
For instance, at one point during his childhood, Cooper creates a maze and proudly takes this "banner of" his "labyrinth" to show to his father (Cooper). Just as sports fans use banners to show team spirit and pride, Cooper refers to his "labyrinth" as a "banner" to suggest that he looks at it as a representation of himself, carrying within its winding passages all of his pride and passion for his hobby. Meanwhile, Cooper's growing obsession with mazes brings him to state that "Everywhere I looked, a labyrinth meandered" (Cooper). It is as if a maze-seeing film has grown over Cooper's eyes as he now finds mazes hidden within the wood grain of coffee tables, the folds of bed sheets, and the paisleys on his mother's shirts. Simple objects become fascinating as Cooper discovers their secret labyrinths, and his world quickly turns into a wonderland of mazes. As a result of the way in which mazes enhance Cooper’s childhood, the term “labyrinth” develops positive undertones. However, Cooper soon begins to notice mazes elsewhere. As his parents become burdened by middle-age, “the creases in their skin deepened”, creating labyrinths so intricate that his “mazes paled by comparison” (Cooper). Unlike the innocuous networks hidden in the details of everyday objects, the mazes in Cooper's parents' skin are…show more content…
Even the essay’s mid-section, where Cooper turns seven, does not properly bridge the gap between the two starkly different attitudes at the beginning and end of the essay. As noted before, seven-year-old Cooper holds a unique position where he can observe the effects of time on his parents while altogether avoiding them himself; but he never really explains why “someone wouldn’t want to enter a maze… wouldn’t sacrifice the time to find a solution” (Cooper). The implicit answer is one word: time. But, how? How does time change our attitude toward taking on new challenges? Rather than describing what occurred between ages seven and thirty-seven that made him so weary of aging, Cooper suddenly jumps to “Thirty years later”, where time has somehow staged a coup and replaced his enthusiastic disposition with one of weariness (Cooper). In doing so, Cooper polarizes his essay into young and old, energetic and tired, and thereby removes some of the realism from his essay. Readers are left to believe that time will suddenly grab them by their throats and wring their love of life out of them, not that it will slowly dismantle them piece by piece, which is likely the message Cooper intended to

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