And the Mountains Echoed

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And the Mountains Echoed Themes

Themes and Colors
Interconnectedness Theme Icon
Time, Memory, Forgetting, and Art Theme Icon
Compassion and Selfishness Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Power and Wealth Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in And the Mountains Echoed, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Perhaps the most obvious theme of And the Mountains Echoed is interconnectedness. The novel consists of nine chapters, each written from the perspective of a different character. Instead of unfolding like a conventional novel—with a small number of characters interacting with each other for the entire book—Hosseini’s book cuts back and forth between many different characters, many of whom don’t know each other, or are only dimly aware of each other’s existence—and all this takes…

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In the first chapter of And the Mountains Echoed, an impoverished Afghan worker, Saboor, tells his two children, Abdullah and Pari, a story about a farmer, Baba Ayub, who’s forced to sacrifice his beloved child, Qais, to a monster called the div. Baba Ayub does so, and then is horrified by his own callous choice to murder his own son. Yet the div gives him a way of fighting…

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In And the Mountains Echoed—a novel about the interconnectedness of all human beings—it’s no surprise that compassion is among the most important themes. At times, the characters makes choices aiming to benefit only themselves, but at many other points they choose to help other people. Hosseini poses some complicated questions related to this theme: for which people do we feel the most compassion? for how long are we obligated to help these people? and…

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In each of the nine chapters of And the Mountains Echoed, we’re presented with a subtly different kind of family. In the loosest terms, this means a small group of people between whom there exists an intimate, personal bond. Sometimes the family bond is purely biological: a father, a mother, some children, some grandchildren, etc. Other families in the novel are less literal, however. Often a character chooses to belong to a “family” of strangers…

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Because And the Mountains Echoed takes place in multiple countries at multiple points in time, its characters differ from one another in nearly every way. Perhaps the most obvious kind of difference between the characters is monetary: some are wealthy, while others struggle just to survive. Even in the earliest pages of the novel, we’re forced to notice the differences between the “have-nots”—such as Saboor, who’s traveling through the desert to do construction work…

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