Dramatic Reading of the Slingshot scene

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SWBAT explain how the slingshot scene provides a thematic and character culmination in the novel; they will do this by discussing a quiz, listening to a dramatic reading and doing some informal writing.

Big Idea

The slingshot scene provides a powerful culmination of plot and character in The Kite Runner!


10 minutes

Lesson Intro-- Why a lesson featuring dramatic reading?  The focus of this lesson is to sustain reading interest on a novel that might normally be too long and difficult for grade 9 students (RL.9-10.10).  I have selected to read a key scene aloud today because I feel that I will do a viable oral interpretation of the characters (RL.9-10.3) and draw out the plot and theme developments (RL.9-10.2) that have been building up until this point.  It's very exciting to do my best dramatic reading of the text, and I don't do it very often because I want to keep the students front and center in the lessons, but just the same, they might enjoy the entertainment of the literature and hearing it in class (SL.9-101) and contributing their observations.


But first a quiz (Quiz 225-275)!  I am making this quiz Quite Picky in terms of detail because I don't want my students to begin to get soft on their reading.  We are heading for the big climax of the story, the scene in which Amir faces Assef on last time; it's also a scene in which Sohrab strikes back against Assef with a slingshot, blinding him in a way that was threatened by his father, Hassan.  In a way, this scene presents Amir finally having the courage to do what Hassan was able to do in the opening section of the novel, which is to face evil and not back down.  It's a scene that needs to be read carefully by the students (RL.9-10.1) and reacted to with empathy and understanding.  


Split Quiz.  Student complete both sides of the quiz, then split it down the middle and hand in the right side; we then grade and discuss the left hand side together.  It's a great way of using a quiz as a teaching tool because it guides the students to supply specific examples for the follow-up discussion (SL.9-10.1).  


I will offer you some notes, if you like: 

Quiz pp. 225-275

1.)    Farid offers ______ to Amir to help with car sickness:

  1. Cabbage
  2. Mint
  3. Lemons
  4. Tea

** Answer is 3, as Amir has a weak stomach going over the Khyber Pass.  This scene heightens his sort of frail and weak nature, ironically foreshadowing his trail before Assef. 

2.)    Farid calls Amir a _____________.

  1. Girl
  2. Tourist
  3. President
  4. Captive

Answer is 3, as Amir is a sort of "fake" Afghan at this point.  Farid does not realize all that Amir has been through, and he assumes that Amir is just a phony. 

3.)    In Kabul now, there are no more

  1. Kites
  2. cars
  3. People
  4. Buildings

Answer is 1, as the Taliban has outlawed kite flying.  This detail dramatically underscores how different life in Afghanistan has become with the rise of the Taliban. 

4.)    The beggar on the street knew…

  1. Baba
  2. Sofia, his mother
  3. Hassan
  4. Sanubar, Hassan’s mother

Answer is 2, as the beggar knew Sofia as a teacher, and this detail points to how tightly knit Afghan culture is and how much everyone knows each other. 

5.)    Farid almost kills Zaman because

  1. He is Pashtun
  2. He is desperate
  3. He allows poverty
  4. He allows abuse

Answer is 4, Zaman allows, through desperation not neglect, the young people to be abused, perhaps sexually.  Amir finds this to be repugnant, and it foreshadows how terrible the treatment of Sorhab has become at the hands  of Assef and how much Amir simply can't let himself be a bystander this time. 

6.)    Amir visits the pomegranate tree to find

  1. Old jewels buried there
  2. Old graffiti scrawled there
  3. Old pomegranate seeds still there
  4. An old doll/action figure still there.

Answer is #2, as this is a symbolic  hug from the past, when he and Hassan would  carry on beneath the tree innocently.  Possible allusion to the tree of knowledge in Eden. 

7.)    In the stadium, Farid and Amir see

  1. A public stoning (throwing stones)
  2. A public auction (selling someone)
  3. An election
  4. A riot

Answer is #1, a stoning, an obvious example of the barbaric and dehumanized nature of the Taliban rule. 

8.)    Amir visits one of the Taliban who is wearing

  1. John Lennon glasses
  2. old rayban glasses
  3. broken glasses
  4. pink glasses

Answer s #1, revealing how slimy and self-stylized Assef has become.  I think that this question might be a little bit too picky for students, so maybe this is a good bonus question.








image credit: Public domain image created by Yarnalgo on Wikimedia Commons. 


Dramatic Reading

25 minutes

At this point, I will read the scene in which Amir faces off against Assef, first getting abused and almost killed by Assef and then getting rescued by Sohrab who shoots out Assef's eye with a slingshot.

Points that I will consider in the reading:

1.) The slimy details that reveal Assef's sexual abuse of Sohrab.  I'm not even sure I can read this in class because it's so disturbing.  

2.) The resignation that Amir brings to the scene.  He actually laughs when being beat up by Assef.  It's important to read these events slowly and with the right intonation so that we understand that Amir is not so much crazy as he is relieved to finally be a man and to let go of the guilt of being a coward.

3.) The moment of tension when Sohrab is readying to do his slingshot work.  He has a calm, determined and immovable force, just like his dad, Hassan.


Initial assessment.  I will pay attention to the student's reactions verbally and non-verbally, but I don't plan to stop and discuss.  It's important to have the experience of this text and to feel the character's growth before we begin to discuss, distance and intellectualize about it (RL.9-10.3).  My expectations are that the students will be fully participatory in the meaning being  made (SL.9-10.1), even if I don't expect to engage in question and answer. 

Wrap up & SSR

15 minutes

I will assess the student's listening and comprehension of the text with the following exit slip (W.9-10.10), which will help me to prepare for the lessons to follow.

Exit Slip:

1.) In what ways is this scene a culmination of Amir's experiences to date?

2.) What moment do you think is the most intense, why?