First the Basics:
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A Bit About Feminist/Gender CriticismASSUMPTIONS:
  1. The work doesn't have an objective status, an autonomy; instead, any reading of it is influenced by the reader's own status, which includes gender, or attitudes toward gender.
  2. In the production of literature and within stories themselves, men and women have not had equal access.
  3. Men and women are different: They write differently, read differently, and write about their reading differently. These differences should be valued.
STRATEGIES:
  1. Consider the gender of the author or the characters: What role does gender or sexuality play in this work?
  2. Specifically, observe how sexual stereotypes might be reinforced or undermined. Try to see how the work reflects or distorts the place of women (and men) in society.
  3. Look at the effects of power drawn from gender within the plot or form.
Taken from Deborah Appleman's Critical Encounters in High School English

Applying Feminist/Gender Criticism to The Kite Runner:


CHAPTERS 1-4




"...Hassan lost his [mother] a week after he was born. Lost her to a fate most Afghans considered far worse than death: She ran off with a clan of traveling singers and dancers." (pg 6) The fact that a woman would rather be happy alone than with her own child (or even a WEEK after child birth) is a social faux pas around the world. It is assumed that women will want to stay home and raise the family, even though they are miserable. When she takes her life into her own hands, the community is aghast and the woman is shunned and their family shamed.

"You're angry because you're afraid he'll never take over the business for you." (pg. 23)

Amir's father wants his son to take over the business and starting defending himself when we get in fights, but Amir would rather be writing books. Amir's father assumes he will take over the business because he is his son, he doesn't take into accout Amir's personal goals, for he believes that Amir shares his father's goals.