The Tragedy of Violence and the Vulnerable Face of the Other in Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner: A Levinasian Perspective
سال انتشار: 1392
نوع سند: مقاله کنفرانسی
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تاریخ نمایه سازی: 28 آذر 1392
The profound influence of the continental philosopher, Emmanuel Levinas' description of ethics on the direction of contemporary ethical criticism cannot be denied. In fact, the infusion between ethical criticism and continental philosophy has provided literary critics with a different interpretive mechanism. Levinasian ethics begins with the appearing of the Other, with the face of the other person in other words. He calls ethics as the first philosophy and believes that the face of the Other is the very beginning of philosophy. This claim gives primacy to the ethical relation to the Other and situates Levinas in opposition to traditional ontology and the primacy of knowledge in western philosophy, especially, the primacy of Being in Heideggerian ontology. Levinas believes that giving priority to knowledge and reason reduces the Other to the realm of the Same, and this reduction has always been an act of violence which violates the otherness of the Other. Violence is at the center of the Levinasian critique. For him, the origin of violence resides in an inability to tolerate the difference. He articulates its function in defacing the Other and introduces ethics as a strong antithesis for violence. The Kite Runner, the first novel written in English by an Afghan native about Afghanistan, is the story of violence and suffering which humanity inflicts upon the Other, the story of intolerance and inability to deal with difference and alterity, whether it be in relation to class, race or religion. In fact, violence is a characteristic element to depict the social and political status quo in The Kite Runner, which signifies the brutal and harsh nature of spirit of the age. Although the author has illustrated different kinds of violence in his novel including: social, gender, racial and verbal violence, the dominating violence depicted in the novel is racial intertwined with social and religious violence. This paper deals with Levinas' thoughts about the origin of violence and its relation to ethics. Informed by Levinas' claim that violence resides in the ego's self-interested attachment to being and that the realm of being is defined as the state of violence, this paper explores The Kite Runner through a language of ethics and tries to clarify how violence and its relation to ethics in this novel can be articulated using Levinas' description of the encounter with the face of the Other. Findings shed light on the applicability of Levinas' thought to the realm of literary criticism
M.A. Student of English Literature, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad university, Tabriz, Iran
Associate Professor of English Literature, Tabriz University
Assisstant Professor of English Literature, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad university, Tabriz, Iran