The Kite Runner
The Idea Of Courage & Protection in The Book “The Kite Runner” By Khaled Hosseini
“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” This is a well-known quote from the famous professional boxer Muhammad Ali, it means, without courage there would not be any changes in ourselves, this quote have the same idea as the book The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, the book is about a wealthy Pashtun boy name Amir and his servant as well as his constant companion, a Hazara boy name Hassan, their friendship and fate. The book is full of thought-provoking lessons and ideas, among all those ideas one important thing, the reader can learn from the book is about how courage cause leads to changes, this idea has shown over and over again throughout the entire book, it can be seen from the characters’ action and personal though, For instance, Hassan fearlessly protect Amir from bullies, Amir decided to face his past, and how Baba stand up for others. According to all those events, one thing the author wants the reader to understand is people can not cause a change without courage and determination, to make the changes often require to overcome the fear of failure.
To protect someone requires a ton of courage, because there is a possibility that one might fail to protect others and leads to an awful end. In the book The Kite Runner, when Assef is picking on Amir and at the point of fight him, Hassan decided to stand up for Amir and go against Assef. He overcomes his fear and intimidates him. “You are right, Agha. But perhaps you did not notice that I’m the one holding the slingshot. If you make a move, they’ll have to change your nickname from Assef ‘the Ear Eater’ to ‘One-Eyed Assef,’ because I have this rock pointed at your left eye.” (Hosseini, 45). Hassan stood up for Amir and protects him from getting hurt. He demonstrates his friendship and loyalty is greater than his fear. Aside from that, after the kite tournament, Hassan protect Amir’s kite from getting damage and taking away by Assef, Hassan knows the importance of the kite, so when he was harassing by Assef, he holds the kite tight in his arm and claims Amir and him are friends, “Amir agha and I are friends,” Hassan said.” (Hosseini, 77). After the tragedy, Hassan still holds the kite tight in his arm and pretend nothing happened in front of Amir, since he does not want to lose his precious friend, but he does not know Amir recognized what happened. To draw the conclusion, despite the fact that Hassan is startle, yet he would beat his fear for his friend and something he believes is important to him.
The past is brimming with shameful and regretful moments and to confront the past it need a great amount of courage. What happened to Hassan in Afghanistan is a nightmare to Amir, he tries to forget it when he was young, as he grows older, when he is back to Afghanistan to visit Rahim Khan, he finally decided to face the past, the past he wants to forget. “I don’t want to forget anymore” (263). Everyone is a slave to their past. Notwithstanding how much they wish to go forward, the occasions of a year ago will bear down on them, they will carry it forever in a corner of their heart, waiting for it to resurrect. That is the reason it required a great deal of valor to confront it. In addition, Amir decided to face the truth, overcome his mistake and regretful moment, and when he heard about Hassan’s death, he can not do anything about his death, he regrets and felt ashamed on himself, but he brave up and decided to go find Sohrab. “I was older now, but maybe not yet too old to start doing my own fighting” (239). Amir know he can run from his past all he wants, but it will always follow him, Forever. When he chose to redeem his sins by searching for Sohrab, he obtains the pluck from his friend and family. He became courageousness to do so. It is hard for a person to face its own past. It can make people want to die out of regret and shame, but Amir eventually stand up, face the past and redeem his sins, it makes Amir from a coward who is running away from the past to someone who put his head up and face the reality.
Courage is needed to face someone who is stronger than yourself? No, when you face someone who is stronger than you are courage. When Amir and Baba are in the truck on their way to the border, Baba saw a woman who is being sexually assaulted by the Russian soldier. “That was when Baba stood up. It was my turn to clamp a hand on his thigh, but Baba pried it loose, snatched his leg away. When he stood, he eclipsed the moonlight. “I want you to ask this man something,” Baba said. He said it to Karim, but looked directly at the Russian officer. “Ask him where his shame is” (121). Baba knows those soldiers have guns, and he might be killed, but he still stands up for the women. People are often teriffy by that situation and not willing to stand up for others, when they know they will against someone who is more powerful than themselves, but in this case, Baba decided not to stay quiet and go against the soldiers, which lucky he saves the woman from the soldier and didn’t get hurt. Likewise, Amir decided to stand up for Sohrab like Baba, He became a man who stand up for other, to rescue Sohrab he has to fight Assef to earn him back, first Amir was planning to beg, but it reminds him of Hassan, “I remember how envious I’d been of Hassan’s bravery. Assef had backed down, promise with Hassan. Now it was my turn.” (300). He knows regretting the past forever would not solve anything. That is why he became fearless and goes against Assef. To face someone who is stronger than its own is hard, because people know they might fail or could be in danger, but when they overcome the fear of failure. Become mentally stronger, because of the courage and valor gained after all those difficult situations.
Finally, individuals can not cause a change without bravery and assurance, to roll out the improvements regularly requires overcoming the dread of disappointment and courage is to own the dread itself. In the book The Kite Runner, it perfectly proved protecting others, facing the past, fight someone who is stronger than you requires courage to change what will happen or what has happened already, summers up the factor list above we can draw the conclusion that courage is the most important element in making changes. But at the end one thing the book did not tell us is, what is courage and how to people obtain it?
Review of Five Articles on Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner
This article compared two books about Afghanistan that were very different from each other: The Man Who Would Be King: The First American in Afghanistan, written by Ben Macintyre and the Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. The critic of this book review, Nancy Graves, says that both of these books give accurate and well-detailed insights to the Afghanistan culture. Graves goes moreover by explaining how Khaled Hosseini wrote the novel based on his memories of his life in Kabul. Like Amir (the main character in the Kite Runner), Hosseini was also born in Kabul and later moves to California. Another similarity between Amir and Hosseini is that both of their fathers were looked up to by people in their society. Hosseini’s father served in the Afghan diplomatic corps, much like Amir’s father who is a high figure in the society within the story. I also learned other background information on Hosseini’s life. One being that Hosseini was posted at Paris at the time of the Russian Invasion of Afghanistan. Hosseini ends up asking for and receiving political asylum and he and his family move to Los Angeles, where Hosseini becomes a physician, and later a novelist.
This article is more of an interview type of review with the author of The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini. Hosseini tells interviewer, Ray Conlouge, about how Amir’s life, in The Kite Runner, was almost a biography of his life growing up. After giving a brief summary of the story, Conlouge talks about the tribe-based racism that motivated Assef’s attack, and how Hosseini believes that this racial injustice is not only the reason for Amir’s betrayal to his childhood best friend, but also key to Afghanistan’s self-destruction. Hosseini explains by saying “And it continues. The ministers now in the government used to be up in the mountains shooting rockets at each other. Tribal rivalries separate them, and without the American presence, it could escalate back to civil war”. Hosseini goes further into his perspective on Afghanistan by comparing himself to Amir once again, by saying Amir had began to wonder if Afghanistan was completely hopeless much like he and his wife wonder today. While Hosseini and his wife, keep much of their Afghanistan heritage by teaching their children the language and eating Afgahn food at home, they still see present day Afghanistan as “shattered” and “dangerous”.
This is an interview of Khaled Hosseini by Tamara Jones. It’s mostly Hosseini explaining in detail the poverty and dangers of city of Kabul. He talks about how once when he was in the hospital he experienced a family being told their child was going to die because the hospital lacked medicine. He also explains how the women have to go get firewood to cook with and that their biggest fear is getting abducted and raped on their walk to get firewood. Hosseini also talks about how he was two third of the way finished with writing “The Kite Runner” when the attack on the twin towers happened. Hosseini says he was very close to not publishing the book because of Afghanistan being seen in America as the “bad guy”, however changes his mind in hopes that his new book could “maybe show another face of Afghanistan”.
This was a broadcast transcript done by npr.org talking about the new upcoming movie “The Kite Runner” based on Khaled Hosseini’s novel. The anchor woman was talking about how the movie’s release date is still being debated about due to a safety concern for the Afghanistanian children who were supposed to cast in the upcoming film. Thh newswoman talks about how not only the rape scene within the movie, but also the general portrayal of Afghanistan could be a serious threat to the actors in the movie. Paramount pictures states that everyone hopes that in a couple of months all of the threats will die down and the children will be able to return to Afghanistan, however if they can not go back the studio is prepared to see them through it.
This was an informative article about Afghanistan and it’s different social levels. I think this will be helpful when talking about Amir’s embarrassment for being Hassan’s friend due to an ethical social issue. It says in the article that the country has completely split apart due to the ethnicity differences. I feel like this will help out when talking about Amir’s actions and looking into the background from which he made them.
The Significance Of Themes in The Kite Runner And Oedipus Rex
Many stories, although their plots are different, can share a significant theme tying them together. In the novel The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and in the drama Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, both authors use the theme of blindness. With their different plots, writing styles, etc. both authors also have similarities like the use of the same theme but in different aspects. Therefore, each author’s use of the theme of blindness is shown by how each author portrays this theme, the way both authors represent the theme of blindness and the significance of the treatment of blindness by each author. Overall, this theme gives each story a lot dimension and creates a pivotal point in the plot. Blindness is portrayed in both pieces but in different situations.
In The Kite Runner, Amir, the main character, and speaker lives his whole life as a child and into his adulthood believing his childhood best friend, Hassan was just the son of his father’s longtime friend. They were from two different ethnic groups, Hassan was his servant. Until one day Amir, a 38-year-old, finds out he has been being lied to, that he was blinded from the fact that all this time Hassan had been his half-brother. He is told by his uncle Rahim Khan who is very ill. Amir asks “‘Did Hassan know?’ I said through lips that didn’t feel like my own. Rahim Khan closed his eyes. Shook his head” (Hosseini 222). Not only did Rahim Khan lie to him but his own Baba, Amir’s father, did as well. This is another reason why he feels betrayed because this also means Baba would be Hassan’s dad too. This causes Amir to be frustrated and astonished all at once. Hassan was now dead, and he didn’t even know that he had drifted apart, from his own brother at the time. Amir feels as if his life is not real, that it is one big made-up lie! On the other hand, in Oedipus Rex, while there are many mentions of sight and physical blindness Oedipus himself is mentally blind. Oedipus who is the king of Thebes is determined to find the murderer of the king before him who was Laius, which is the only way the plague set to destroy their city will end. As Oedipus keeps on his journey to find this murderer he learns about he is blind to what his past is.
Tiresias who is physically blind accuses Oedipus of being the murderer. Tiresias even says “You, even though you/ see clearly, do not see the scope of your evil, / nor where you live, nor with whom you dwell” (Sophocles p. 25, 433-435). Oedipus is not only blind to the fact that he was the murderer, he is also unaware of the person he murdered was his own father. Although Amir and Oedipus are not very alike, the things they are blind to are somewhat similar. In both texts the author’s use the theme of blindness similar in a sense, but overall differently. What makes them similar is the fact that both are blind to their past, but the situations are different. Amir finds out that his family was a lie and the two father figures in his life had lied to him, while Oedipus is blind to the things he has done, like killing his own father and marrying his mother. This is very wrong but Oedipus doesn’t realize this, even when Tiresias brings up his parents Oedipus says “To whom? Wait! Who on earth are my parents?” (Sophocles p. 25, 460). It is evident that to the audience how mentally blind Oedipus really is.
One of the biggest differences between these is the fact that the reader does not know that Amir is blind to this up until Rahim Khan tells him. So in a sense, the reader is blind to this as well. While in Oedipus Rex the audience knows early on that Oedipus is the murderer which creates dramatic irony in the play. Therefore, both author’s mostly represent this theme in their own manners which makes them very significant. There is a sign for the way each author chose the treatment for the theme of blindness in their texts. Hosseini used this theme as a way to contribute to the importance of the story as does Sophocles. In The Kite Runner blindness is important because without the information that Amir had found out he never would have been pushed out of his coward ways to go back to Afghanistan and bring Hassan’s son Sohrab back to America with him. This is deemed as important because when he finally locates Sohrab it is the climax of the story and is what the last chapters of the book are about. On the other hand, in Oedipus Rex blindness is important because it drives the plot of the story.
Since Oedipus is looking for a way to end the plague on the city and is passionate about that it is almost a plot twist when he is the way to end the plague because he is the murderer. Like mentioned earlier, this is dramatic irony because the audience knows about Oedipus before he does but, this theme gives the text part of its purpose and almost serves as a moral to the text. That being said, both authors used the significance of the theme to help drive the plot of the stories. In conclusion, in both The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and Oedipus Rex by Sophocles the author expertly uses the theme of blindness. Even though the author’s used the theme in a different manner, the similarity that ties them together is the fact that the blindness relates to both of their characters pasts. This theme is used to reveal important information in the plot as well as making it dramatic, making blindness significant to both texts. This not only keeps the reader or audience interested, but it comes as a shock to each of these characters as well. Overall, the way the theme of blindness was executed by both Hosseini and Sophocles was very clever and well-thought out.
Evolution Of Amir in The Kite Runner
Amir’s Simple Progression
Amir is a very complex character, he is often seen by a weakling that doesn’t stand up for himself or anything he believes in. Through the story of The Kite Runner we see an advancement of personality and maturity as the chapters progress. Amir goes from a self sulking child that only wants what’s best for his relationship with Baba, to a selfish boy who will sit in the shadows of frustrations so long as it doesn’t affect this slowly growing relationship with his father, to a man looking to right his wrongs and basically ask for forgiveness due to his past, into a man capable of doing what he knows is right and striving to do what is right. At the end he finally gets his life on a steady path of courage and adulthood.
In the early chapters of the book Amir is a young boy that doesn’t want to really stand up for anything. His mind tells him to stay low and just work on fixing relations between him and Baba. The irony of this is that Baba only feels unsettled when around his son because he wants him to stand up for himself and what he believes in. Baba admits to Rahim Khan that he isn’t impressed by his son at all saying “A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything (Hoseini 18pdf).” Even when Rahim tries to defend Amir, Baba still says extremely harsh things towards the cowardly personality of his son.
He continues to show his faint-hearted character midway through the book by not even trying to do what he knows is right. When the opportunities come to prove to is father that he isn’t what he is described to be he fails to even show a sign of courageousness. An example of this is when Amir participates in a kite flying event to get his father’s love and attention. In the process of winning the contest for his relationship with his father he watches Hassan get raped. “He positioned himself behind Hassan. Hassan didn’t struggle. Didn’t even whimper. He moved his head slightly and I caught a glimpse of his face (64pdf).” Amir just lets all of this happen, because if he gets involved he could possibly get raped or his kite could be taken away meaning he isn’t technically the winner as he doesn’t have the prize. This proves how selfish Amir is, he watches his own “friend” get raped in order to keep a kite and win the game to have the love from his father. Sadly, Amir never truly realizes that all he has to do is stand up for what he believes in to get his father’s love.
Amir even goes to extremes by letting Hassan take the fall in order to feel comfortable with himself. When Amir notices that their is a tenseful relationship between himself and Hassan he starts deviantly creating a plan to get Hassan out of his life. Amir planted evidence on his own brother and told Baba that he stole it, the worst of it being that Hassan knew what was happening and went along with it, he realized what was going on and allowed Amir to have it his way yet again. With that he even left the house in order to keep Amir happy (87pdf-91pdf). Through the middle of the book Amir is just a teenager that never grew up. He is selfishly concerned about his own well being and that only.
Thankfully as the story progresses we get a sense of what Amir really can become if he were to listen to his dad. Rahim Khan, who is like a second father to him, actually has to pull the man out of Amir by completely manipulating him. Rahim brings up Amir’s past with Hassan, in which he speaks about how Hassan was killed and how much Amir really owes him. Rahim then influences Amir even more by telling him that Baba was Hassan’s real father and that he needs to make amends. This thankfully works and Amir is off to reclaim his dignity.
Even if it was forced out of him Amir grows as an individual at this point, no longer only doing things for himself as he wants to right his wrongs. Amir grows a conscience and helps Sohrab, Hassan’s Son, feel safe and protected. Amir went to a dangerous place that he wasn’t welcome in in order to fix his past mistakes. It’s easy to see that he is trying to make everything from his past right. It may just be because of a burden and how Rahim pushed him, but he could have cowered out at any point and returned back to America. Amir grows majorly in these segments of the book.
I believe that Amir realizes he has finally relieved his conscience of Hassan’s rape when he is allowing Assef to beat him up. Amir doesn’t try to fight back at all, he actually starts laughing as his face gets beaten in. Amir breaks ribs, swallows teeth, and gets his face turned beaten, but once he gets a split lip he knows he has been forgiven. Amir seemed to have the look of a lamb in his eyes before lead to the slaughter, scared yet peaceful at the sametime.
Taking in Sohrab was a large step for Amir as well. Amir was promised that their would be a family waiting for Sohrab, but there wasn’t and even despite that Amir took Sohrab in. Amir nursed Sohrab back to health and treats him like a true son. Sohrab even learns kite flying from Amir, teaching him some of Hassan’s tricks like the “kite plummet (327pdf).” Running the kite for Sohrab like Hassan did for him basically treating him like a friend and a son all at the same time. Even standing up for Sohrab when faced with General Sahib’s criticism, telling him “You will never again refer to him as ‘Hazara boy’ in my presence. He has a name and it’s Sohrab (319pdf).”
If it were not for Amir’s complexity and capability to change this story would not be as great as it was. Thankfully Amir understands how maturity works and adapts to his problems by the end of the book. No longer running away from what he has done, he takes responsibility and stands up for himself. At the beginning Amir is just a jerk, not caring for anyone unless he is able to manipulate them. Then he starts to learn a bit more about standing up for himself, but he still remains in the shadows of what happens around him. Letting everything he disagrees with pass over him and consume his emotions. At the end he becomes a man like Baba wanted, working on doing what is right and fixing his past mistakes. Through this dynamic personality we have a feeling of growth watching Amir change in front of us.
How Amir Develops His Persona in The Kite Runner
Amir has a massive change in character between the first nine chapters of The Kite Runner. When you compare chapters one through 9, you can identify a slow moving trend. The trend is that Amir becomes a very hateable character as he only seems to care for himself. The Kite Runner is filled with childhood innocence at the start of it, there are only a few of mature innuendos you could quickly pass by if you don’t read inbetween the lines. As the story progresses it becomes a much darker tale that you no longer have to read in between to grasp what is happening.
Chapter one speaks about how Amir is in Spreckels Lake and gets a call from Rahim Kahn, he seems to be sorry about his past mistakes which we don’t know what he has done. Rahim responds to Amir’s sulking on page two of The Kite Runner with “There’s a way to be good again” This is where we start to learn about Amir’s childhood mistakes. Chapter three speaks about the relationship between Amir and his father Baba. This give us a sense of Amir being a normal child, constantly trying to make his father proud. Amir does everything in his path to make Baba happy, but it never seems to be enough. These chapters show us the innocence of Amir, how he is only striving for acceptance from his father.
Chapter four shows the frustration Amir sometimes has with Hassan. Amir starts to write short stories for his friend/servant Hassan since Hassan loves when Amir reads to him. Amir finishes his story and he is so excited to show it to Hassan, but Hassan brings up a good point of the story not making sense, but Amir doesn’t want to hear it and gets angry. When he gets angry he starts thinking about how gross it is that Hassan is a Hazara. Chapter five we learn about Assef, a racist that hates all Hazaras. Assef is known as a bully who loves to beat up on everyone, he threatens Amir and Hassan. This is where we start to learn how selfish Amir can be as he thinks about telling Assef “But he’s not my friend!” “He’s my Servant!” This shows that Amir doesn’t have Hassan’s back at all, but luckily Hassan always has Amir’s.With Hassan’s quick wit they get away unharmed.
Chapter six then goes into the innocence of childhood and how happy everyone is that it’s winter. The snow, the cold, lack of school for the season makes all the kids happy. The happiness progresses with a game of Kite Running, the ultimate fun for a child their age. As we learn more about this sport we realize that it’s foreshadowing, for how can something be so innocent in a book of maturity and pain? Chapter Seven speaks about how Amir has a great idea in order to make Baba proud of him. He will win the Kite Flying competition and Baba will hug and love him forever. Amir wouldn’t let anything get in the way of that, and by anything he means anything.
Amir wins the contest and Hassan chases after the prize. Hassan takes a while to come back so Amir gets worried about the kite and looks for it. An interesting conversation happens to which Amir refers to Hassan as “our servant’s son” page 61. He never says anything more as he doesn’t want to be embarrassed, and when finally pointed down the right path to where Hassan is he witnesses him getting raped. Amir freezes and doesn’t even try to help, instead he waits for it to be over and asks Hassan what happened. He never brings up the rape and just shrugs it off like it’s something simple. Amir is met with hugs and kisses from Baba, but all Amir does is cry in his father’s chest.
We learn just how selfish Amir is since he only wanted his father’s love and finally gets it after keeping quiet. Hassan for the past 6 chapters has helped Amir out of harm, but when Hassan needs Amir most he ignores it. These chapters show the progression of innocence to selfishness. Amir turns out to be worse than Assef as he won’t even help his friend due to embarrassment.
Chapter eight has us learn that Amir is now trying to get rid of Hassan since he feels an awkward tension between them. Amir doesn’t hang out with Hassan and definitely doesn’t try to make up for his mistakes between them. He feels as if Hassan is in the wrong since Hassan is scared of a lot after that happened. Hassan’s PTSD is the thing pushing the two “friends” away from each other in Amir’s mind.
Finally in chapter nine we see Amir try to frame Hassan in order to get him out of the house. Hassan slowly starts to understand what is happening and accepts it, pretending that what Amir is lying about is actually true. Hassan again takes the fall for Amir one last time and Amir doesn’t even seem to care. He thinks it’s odd that Hassan actually agrees with doing whatever he was setup for, but he doesn’t care about why Hassan is agreeing with doing all that. We see another version of Amir, this one more evil than the last. He manipulates Hassan in order to get happiness for himself, and he doesn’t even care what happens to Ali or Hassan so long as he gets what he wants.
The entire story has Amir growing as a person, but not in a good way. He develops a persona that makes him believe he is the best around, that he is doing a favor for harboring Hassan. Seeing Amir turn into this vile person sickened me, he turned his back on people he cared about for his own personal gain. It was just so aggravating to witness Amir do all of these things in order to just make himself happy, never helping Hassan when Hassan always helped him. Watched Hassan get raped, always blamed Hassan, and when Hassan needed someone to talk to after his PTSD, Amir tries to sabotage Hassan in order to get him out of the house. Disappointing to know he couldn’t help in anyway because he was so happy with himself, yet even at the end of chapter nine Hassan is taking the fall for Amir. No matter the consequences Hassan would help Amir, but the reciprocation was not available to do the same.
The Kite Runner: an Effect Of Discrimination On The Society
How Discrimination Against Shi’a Muslims Mirrors a Country’s Wrongful Assumptions
The novel The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini discusses alienation, and it reveals that the bigotry and disparity between various religious beliefs and ethnic/ physical features of groups of people are typically a direct reflection of the cultural, social, and economic conditions of the surrounding society. Hosseini’s work discusses the concept of ethnic discrimination in Afghanistan by constantly reminding the readers of the rigid divide in treatment between the Pashtun and Hazara people. Afghans who classify themselves as Hazara practice an Islamic sect, and face intolerance as Shi’a Muslims. This group of Muslims are considered minorities among Afghanistan’s majority Islamic faction, Sunni Muslims. Amir, the main protagonist in this novel, practices Sunni Islam, while his best friend, Hassan, is a Shi’a Muslim. Throughout the story, Hassan experiences an exorbitant amount of discrimination, oppression, and hardship simply because of his unpopular religious views and ethnicity, and it eventually reaches a point where this said oppression seemingly has no limit and no end in sight. Adversity constantly weighs on Hassan as a result of uncontrollable situations, and the torment he faces while living in Afghanistan depicts both the society’s moral values and further explains the prejudice he endures on a daily basis. The most authentic and vulnerable evidence of not only Hassan’s hardship and suffering, but that of most Hazara Afghan people, derives from two of Hassan’s life changing moments: his rape and his death.
Although both Shia and Sunni Muslims are subsections of Islam that share vast similarities, both groups possess a seemingly unreasonable amount of hatred for the other. Even at a young age, Afghani children know the difference between majority and minority, and their social and cultural assumptions of the minority Islamic faction result in nothing but violence— physical, emotional, and otherwise. Bullied by a young Pashtun (Sunni Muslim), Assef, as a child, Hassan quickly learns that “religion plays an important role in many [Afghan] lives” (AmirDabbaghian and Solimany 2). In Kabul, Afghanistan, home of both Hassan and Amir, children participate in “kite fights”, where kites soar through the skies in masses— their strings coated in small bits and shards of glass, ready to cut away at the string of an opponent’s kite. When a kite’s string is cut, the wind carries it away, and other children chase after it to collect the prize; they are subsequently named kite runners. Hassan works as Amir’s kite runner, and during a tournament where Amir cuts the last kite in the sky, Hassan dashes after it, only to soon be cornered in a grimy alley by Assef and his friends. What follows suit is sadistic and an act of absolute degradation, and through Assef’s unwarranted rape of Hassan, readers witness that to many Shi’a Muslims, “oppression [became] almost ritualistic” in Afghan culture (Hosseini and Jones 3). This undesired and aggressive incursion upon Hassan further defines the hatred-fueled separation and oppression of the Hazara Afghans. A society in which a child rapes another child with the sole justification of religious hatred is presumptively on a dark path to economic, social, and cultural turmoil. As a result of nothing but his ethnicity and religious preference, Hassan is alienated from groups of children his age, and acts as a transparent demonstration of Afghanistan’s near-arbitrary assumptions and hatred of minority Islamic classes. Ultimately, due to the increasing agitation and frailty of the entire country, the Taliban comes to power, increasing already-present threats to minority groups, murdering women and children, and presently displaying that “the tribe-based racism that motivated Assef’s attack [on Hassan]…is for Hosseini the key to Afghanistan’s self-destruction” (Conlogue 2).
Amir and his father, Baba, leave their house for Hassan to maintain when they depart to the United States for better social and economic opportunities. During this time, the Taliban obtains an exorbitant amount of authority throughout Afghanistan by means of violence, utter tyranny, and the continued hatred and opposition of certain Muslim sects. Hassan, now an adult, spends most days keeping to himself in the family home, but the tranquility of his nearly reclusive lifestyle is soon disrupted by a small clan of Taliban members who arrive on his street, loaded weapons in tote. Understanding that Hassan is not the owner of Amir’s home, they rip him out of the house and demand answers to why he, a Shi’a, is residing in the home of Sunni Muslims, and ultimately, Hassan loses his life in that moment to the Taliban’s unrequited, deeply rooted hatred for minorities and desire to complete a process of “ethnic cleansing through religion” (Hosseini 134). Hazaras are profoundly discriminated against, and as a result of the “political change throughout the book [that] influenced people in Afghanistan”, no Muslims, Shi’a or Sunni, are willing to step forward and defend Hassan in the final moments before his sadistic, baseless, public execution (AmirDabbaghian and Solimany 1). Plenty of Afghan people understand that this unlikely circumstance is nothing more than murder through unsolicited hatred and, therefore, an act of pure injustice, but not a single soul dared to “risk anything for [a] … Hazara servant” (Hosseini 104). If Hassan were a Sunni Muslim, the possibility of his fate remaining identical would significantly decrease; the fact that his life is ripped out of his hands and completely disposed of in a matter of seconds is deplorable, and the idea that he would still be alive if he were not a minority is sickening and a genuine representation of the chaotic society that bigoted views and assumptions create.
The basic alienation and intolerance of Shi’a Muslims in Afghanistan perpetuates an ideology of normality regarding bigotry. Specifically, Hassan’s rape and eventual death are both results of the extreme oppression he battles from other Afghans who practice the majority, or favored, Islamic sect. It is simply assumed that due to ethnic background or religious preference, an accurate, tangible assumption of an entire group of people can be made, though this is far from the truth. Hassan does nothing but openly accepts his fate as a Hazara, quickly learning at a young age that others around him will perpetually view him as wildly more expendable than a Pashtun. The complexity and terminal anguish of his narrative reveals the hatred-infused ideologies that drive deep into the chaotic core of Afghanistan’s culture. Concepts of bigotry and constant alienation are not frowned upon by most, for they are not openly discussed or acknowledged ⎯ instead, they act as a driving force in both the life of Hassan’s character and a reader’s overall perception of the society which surrounds him.
Kite Runner By Khaled Hosseini – The Life And Experiences Of Afghan Immigrants
The Kite Runner is a novel written by Khaled Hosseini. The text follows the main character Amir as he tries to navigate his way to redemption for mistakes he has made in his past. The text is set in both Afghanistan, at differing points in time, and America. The text looks at the concept of afghan diaspora post-soviet occupation and shows an idea of the life and experiences of Afghan immigrants and the ties they hold to their past and culture. It also gives a context to the Afghan history and ties this idea with the afghan culture from an afghan perspective.
The idea of the afghan culture is looked at in the text with an emphasis on its importance towards the people, in different ways and stages dependent on circumstance. In the earlier chapters of the text, during Amirs childhood, the reader is exposed to culturally significant events, such as the Kite flying tournaments and the Eid Al Qurban religious holiday. In both these events, there is an idea of togetherness and a connection and bond formed between the communities through these shared events. The kite flying tournaments take place between all the surrounding areas. The community holds a certain level of respect and value in this tournament. The sacrifice of the lamb during the Eid al Qurban by Amir’s father is also significant as he has given the impression of someone who isn’t religious (quote) yet he respects the custom of sacrificing the lamb. This ties together religion and culture in the society, but also reflects the value of these traditions which people such as baba follow despite how ridiculous they find it to be.
This idea is furthered later in the text. Once Amir and his father have moved to America, they show a strong connection to their culture and community as is shown through the afghan markets, Amir’s marriage, and Soraya’s past. The marriage of Amir and Soraya reflects the more traditionalist and conservative ideas of the culture. Their relationship is at first secret from Soraya’s father as this type of relationship can be seen as inappropriate in the culture unless it were to lead to a marriage. When their relationship evolves Baba must seek Soraya’s hand for Amir in a custom known as Khost Gari. The wedding is rushed due to Baba’s cancer, but it involves lavish and expensive parties. This also ties into Soraya’s past. In the afghan society it is clear that there is a traditional idea surrounding relationships and marriage, as is shown through Amir and Soraya’s relationship. The fact that Soraya had been in a previous relationship at 18 when she ran away with a boyfriend is a point of significance in the text. Soraya’s mother has a certain affection for Amir which is largely due to him being a good suitor for her daughter as she is said to fear she would never find but is what she wants as would any mother for her daughter. Soraya’s father’s response upon finding out about the relationship also reflects the traditionalism of the culture. The fact that he threatens to kill himself speaks to the value of status in the community and how the relationship would impact the status of the family.
The text also sheds light on the history of Afghanistan from the perspective of someone who lived there. The history occurs in the background and is delivered as a plot device rather than as a history lesson. The first introduction to history is the “bloodless coup” of King Zahir Shah by his brother Daoud Khan. This event occurs in line with changing points in Amir’s life.
Love, Relationships And Mutual Respect in “The Kite Runner”
Love is a universal topic that has been discussed since the advent of language. The idea of love never seems to be out of date. However, many people are struggling to get the love that they desire because love is not expressed in an effective way. Therefore, people’s sense of well-being is affected. This issue is much more prominent today than before especially when it comes to family members and friends. In the novel, The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini, highlights how most relationships are strained at one point or another by depicting how various characters express love towards one another. By showing relationships between different characters, readers learn about the key elements of a healthy relationship. The essential parts for a stable and long-lasting love between people are engaging in one another’s life in a mutually acceptable way, mutual respect, and mutual understanding.
Engaging in other’s lives in a way that is mutually acceptable is vital for the relationship to flourish. On one hand, giving too little love, attention, and responsiveness, which is also known as emotional neglect, can distance people. Children who lack emotional needs are usually those who are unsupervised, left aside, and do not get to have their regular one-on-one time with their parents. Children living under this environment are not taught the importance of values, morals, and respect for self and others. This is evident in The Kite Runner: Baba seems aloof when Amir won the poem battle against the entire class by just saying “good” (Hosseini 20). Also, “Baba went on staring (Amir) down, and didn’t offer to read” when Amir is eager to share his new story in front of Baba and Rahim Khan (34). In these cases, Baba shows little fatherly love because he does not seem to care about Amir’s success and hobbies and this is emotional neglect.
Emotional neglect makes Amir have the thought of Khan being his father instead of Baba (34) because Khan seems to be more engaged in Amir’s life and cares more about Amir. Amir’s craving for father’s love has led to misbehaviours and immoral acts. Later on in the novel, Amir frames Hassan by putting his watch and money under Hassan’s bed so that he can win Baba’s love back because he thinks that Hassan is “the lamb I had to slay to win Baba” (82). Therefore, it is easy to conclude that with the love and care, children will have better self-esteem, make better decisions, and express their needs in an appropriate way. While on the other hand, emotional abuse, which means exposure to harsh behaviours such as scolding and name-calling, will give rise to psychological issues.
A study finds that children who are emotionally abused are “12 times more likely to be schizophrenic than the general population (compared with six times for the physically abused and twice as likely for the sexually abused)” (James). The British government also has taken action by making emotional abuse illegal under the new domestic abuse law in 2014 (Iqbal and Doran). we see that both emotional neglect and abuse are not considered to be mutually acceptable ways to engage with each other nor express love because of the detrimental consequences. The negative effects of emotional abuse and neglect are especially evident in the case of parents and children as readers can witness how the relationship between Amir and Baba is being portrayed in The Kite Runner. To conclude, either emotional neglect or emotional abuse is deleterious to one’s well-being. Hence, love should be expressed in an appropriate way that both sides can accept.
Besides engagement in other’s lives, mutual respect is also an important factor that influences relationships between people. A shocking survey conducted by Relate shows that as much as 10% of the British population does not have a close friend to turn to (Sherwood). However, a genuine friendship is not hard to find. The secret to a long-lasting and healthy relationship is the absence of pride (Lott): people should respect what others want to pursue and achieve in life as well as their cultural background and beliefs. In turn, people can also feel that they are being respected by others. While stereotypes and biased points of view will lead to a rupture of the relationship because the other half that we are engaging with will feel disrespected and being looked down on.
The idea of mutual respect can also be found in The Kite Runner. Mutual respect does not seem to exist between Amir and Hassan because Amir thinks that “in the end, (he) was a Pashtun and (Hassan) was a Hazara, (he) was Sunni and (Hassan) was Shi’a, and nothing was ever going to change that. Nothing” (27). Additionally, Amir does not stand up for Hassan when he is being bullied by Assef and other children because he thinks that Hassan is just a Hazara at the end of the day (82). In the Afghan culture, the Pashtuns are regarded as the real Afghans while Hazaras are always considered as the minority and the outsiders. Little respect is shown to the Hazaras. This biased thought is also demonstrated in The Kite Runner as Amir never considers Hassan as his friend either because of their his cultural backgrounds and ethnicities. Even though Hassan has a selfless love for Amir and they grow up together, the bond between them has become weaker and weaker because Hassan does not feel the respect from Amir due to Hassan’s identity.
Mutual respect is absence in their relationship. However, as time goes by, Amir finally knows the importance of mutual respect. He stands up for Sohrab, who is a Hazara, by telling General Sahib “never again refer to (Sohrab) as a ‘Hazara boy’ in (Amir’s) presence” (380). By showing respect and love to Sohrab, Sohrab is gradually willing to live with Amir and Soraya as a family member in the end as he smiles when he is flying the kite with Amir (391). From the examples above, readers see that a one-sided relationship, which only takes or only gives, is not going to last long. The relationship is based on mutual respect. Therefore, mutual respect is an indispensable part of people’s relationships.
Apart from the two factors discussed above, mutual understanding contributes to a healthy and stable relationship as well. There is a 251.8% increase in divorce rate when comparing the divorce rate in 1960 and 2017 (Robinson) and incompatible is the greatest factor that leads to the divorce. So the importance of mutual understanding can be easily seen in maintaining a relationship. Mutual understanding means making a compromise when necessary and demonstrate concerns when others are going through tough times. Patience and forbearance are key. By showing understanding and consideration to each other, people will have the capacity to comprehend themselves and live a happy life together.
In The Kite Runner, Amir seems calm and he accepts the fact that Soyara does not have the ability to have babies. When it comes to adopting children, Amir shows his understanding and support to Soraya by saying that “(they) should both be in agreement” if they want to adopt children (197). What Amir says makes Soyara feel relieved as she feels sorry for not being able to have children and she seems hesitant when it comes to adoption. In turn, Soyara also shows her understanding when Amir decides to go to Pakistan to visit his old friend Rahim Khan. Although it is not safe to go to Kabul, Soyara still supports Amir because going to Pakistan seems to be important for Amir (201). With Soyara’s understanding, Amir will feel that he is being supported and is more determined in his actions. Consequently, it is easy to conclude that mutual understanding is essential for the relationship to flourish.
By involving in each other’s lives in an appropriate way, respecting every last one, and understanding each and everyone around, relationships with friends and family will become stable and healthy. Love and relationship are crucial parts of the Maslow’s Hierarchy. Love and relationships should not be considered as conveniences and ways to fight off boredom. Pure and genuine relationships can only be found with a caring, respectful, and understanding soul.
The Concepts of Fate and Free Will in The Kite Runner and Oedipus
Fate and Free Will
The elements of fate and free will are not black and white. Humans have an unconscious free will while making everyday decisions: what we want to wear, where we want to go, and when we want to sleep. Sometimes, however, we make large-scale mistakes, so large they haunt us our entire lives, eventually leading to tragedies. It is important to recognize these errors in personal freedom and attempt to mend our mistakes before our fate goes into full effect. Every action has a consequence (a fate), one we cannot afford to be blissfully ignorant to.
In both The Kite Runner and Oedipus, the concepts of fate and free will are intertwined heavily throughout each storyline. Both protagonists have made extremely influential decisions, setting in motion a slew of negative outcomes. Amir and Oedipus also ignore the choices they have made by running away from them. This only further strengthens the intensity of their mistakes, rather than weaken them. The methods they use in attempts to escape are different, however. Oedipus’ naturally prideful personality is what drives him to project his guilt and blame onto others, while Amir’s non-confrontational personality drove him to flee from the actions of the past, and anything reminding him of said actions. Either way, they have surged the consequences of a fate that could have been avoided. For example, in the Kite Runner, Amir’s detrimental mistake was remaining a bystander and allowing Hassan to be raped by Assef. Instead of prioritizing the dignity of a loyal friend and brother, Amir’s only concern was the possibility of praise from Baba. But even after receiving admiration, he still felt guilty. Yet, he refused to apologize to Hassan. Ultimately, the shame ate him alive, as he tried to get Hassan to leave. Amir even framed his best friend for stealing his new watch and birthday money. Later, as the Taliban fought against Russia’s communist agenda, Baba and Amir decided to flee their home, and left Hassan to fend for himself in a country destroyed by war and hatred. Amir, however, was unaffected as he fled to the United States, running from his past actions and striving to forget they even occurred. This proved to be unsuccessful in the long run, as news of Hassan’s death and his full relation to Amir was unveiled by Rahim Khan. Amir has now lost the one person who truly cared about him and is unable to gain closure for the event that occurred during his childhood. Instead, he must find an alternative route. Amazingly, all of this could have been avoided if he made a crucial choice to save Hassan and prevent his rape entirely.
Although Oedipus started out fate-oriented, the story later progressed into an equal balance of choices and consequences. In the beginning, Oedipus reigned as the new king of Thebes, alongside his queen, Jocasta. After hearing of a plague outbreak in the city from his citizens, he orders his brother-in-law, Creon, to find the oracle and ask for assistance. Upon Creon’s return, Oedipus is told to find who murdered Laius, whom was king prior to Oedipus’ arrival to Thebes. Determined to persecute the suspect, he summons Tiresias, a blind prophet, to his kingdom. At first, Tiresias is reluctant to reveal what he knows, but he then accuses Oedipus for killing Laius. Oedipus is furious upon hearing this allegation, and angrily mocks and blames the prophet. Before departing, Tiresias warns Oedipus of his true fate: he will kill his father and sleep with his mother. Riddled with anxiety, Oedipus speaks with Jocasta, to obtain a second opinion on his alleged fate. Jocasta rejects it and advises Oedipus to ignore the prophet’s claims. She further explains a prophet once informed her that Laius would die at the hands of her son. However, the child was abandoned and died, while her husband was murdered by a pack of thieves. Oedipus becomes anxious, disclosing his violent encounter at a crossroads with a man who looked like Laius prior to arriving to Thebes. This was the error that jump-started a plethora of tragedies. Oedipus made the detrimental choice to express his anger through violence, brutally murdering Laius. He remains blissfully unaware of this, however. Eager to discover the truth, he summons the only surviving witness of the murder: a shepherd. Before the shepherd’s appearance, a messenger informs Oedipus his father, Polybus, has died. Relieved, Jocasta tells Oedipus his father’s death is proof the fate is not going to happen, but the messenger clarifies Oedipus’ adoptive father died of natural causes, not his biological father. The messenger himself delivered Oedipus to Polybus after receiving him from the shepherd, whom was given the child by Laius and Jocasta. Overcome with fear, Jocasta begs Oedipus to cease the investigation, but he continues. She runs into the palace, horrified. The shepherd confirmed, after threat of force, to admit the truth: Oedipus is really the son of Laius and Jocasta. With feelings of fear and agony boiling inside, Oedipus bolts into the palace to find Jocasta’s lifeless body hanging by a rope. Devastated, he steals the brooches from her dress and stabs himself in the eyes, blinding himself permanently. These atrocities could have easily been evaded by Oedipus restricting his expression of hostility through brutality, and instead calmly addressing Laius’ presence at the crossroads.
If a large-scale mistake is made, it must be mended. It cannot be left to fester and accumulate over time. It cannot be blamed on blissful ignorance or escaped through elaborate schemes. This interaction of free will and fate can either lead to the successes of others, or the downfalls of others. Human life is much too precious to allow the prospect of consequence to be unfortunate.
The Issues Of Bravery Or Cowardice In The Movie The Kite Runner And The Novel A Thousand Splendid Suns By Khaled Hosseini
During a lifetime, many people are put in situations where they can either help someone who needs them or they can ignore the situation and do what is the best for their own sake. In both the movie The Kite Runner and the novel A Thousand Splendid Suns written by Khaled Hosseini, each of the characters is put in a situation where that particular character can show either bravery or cowardice. The characters that show cowardice were not able to live with that guilt any longer and they made changes in their lives whereas the characters that show bravery die with courage.
The Kite Runner tells the story of Amir, a boy living in Afghanistan, and his life experiences. During his childhood, he is known as being a coward who does not stand up for others in a time of need, whereas his best friend, Hassan, is the complete opposite of him and stands up for what he thinks is right. In the beginning of the movie, Hassan protects Amir from Assef and his friends who are bullies. Hassan puts himself at risk when he says, “You are right. Agha. But perhaps you didn’t notice that I’m the one holding the slingshot. ” Hassan shows bravery by standing up to a group of nasty boys from town who are older and bigger than he is. Then when Amir wins the kite flying tournament, Hassan runs to get the kite. Assef catches Hassan in an alley and wants the kite. Hassan is so loyal to his friend that he does not give Assef the kite because it belongs to Amir. Assef rapes and tortures Hassan. Amir witnesses Hassan being raped and does nothing; in fact, he runs away. This situation defines the rest of Amir’s life; he knows that he needs to make up for what he did or he will live with regret for the rest of his life. Years later, Amir goes back to Afghanistan and finds out that Hassan was killed protecting Amir’s house. The Taliban wanted to take the house, but Hassan was so loyal to his friend that he was killed for this loyalty. Amir finds out that Hassan’s son, Sohrab, has been taken by Assef. Amir sees this abduction as his chance for redemption. Amir risks his own life to make up for what happened to Hassan. By rescuing Sohrab, Amir feels free from the guilt that his childhood mistakes caused him. His act of bravery redeems him from his cowardice.
The novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, portrays Jalil as being a cowardly man at the beginning of the story. Jalil is so engrossed with keeping his reputation clean that he pushes Nana out of his house. Nana is the housekeeper who is pregnant with Jalil’s illegitimate child, Mariam. Jalil keeps in contact with them and tries to stay in Mariam’s life only at his convenience. For Mariam’s birthday, her one wish is to go into town with him. Jalil disappoints his daughter and allows Mariam to fall asleep in the street while waiting for him. After Nana’s suicide, Jalil forces Mariam to marry Rasheed, a shoemaker. There are hints that Jalil deeply regrets the way he treated Mariam as seen when Jalil keeps a box that includes a tape of the movie, Pinocchio. Pinocchio is the cartoon that Jalil promised to take Mariam to see on her birthday, but never did; he also wrote a letter about how he regretted not taking her in and he enclosed Mariam’s share of an inheritance in a box that went to miriam after his death. Mariam is one of the main characters who is very dynamic. She shows bravery throughout the novel, not so much by speaking up, but by her courageous actions. Mariam shows courage for enduring the verbal and physical abuse from her husband, Rasheed. Even though Rasheed continuously physically and verbally abuses her, she still has the courage to wake up every single morning never knowing what Rasheed would do to the her that day. Towards the end of the book, when she kills Rasheed as he was strangling Laila, she calls his name because she wanted him to see what she was doing right before she struck him over the head. In that moment, Mariam finally makes a decision for herself. When Mariam dies for the killing of Rasheed, she dies with dignity. She thinks that she could have given up a long time ago and changed her past, but, in the end, she is happy that she did not give in to the circumstances of her life.
In each of these different situations of bravery, the characters are self-sacrificing and put others above themselves to uphold values of importance to them. Mariam is self-sacrificing by protecting Laila, and, in the end, dies for her. Jalil is a cowardly man who lives with regret, but in the end tries to make things right with his daughter. Hassan is brave and is always sacrificing for his friend, Amir. Amir sacrifices himself like his friend had done for him to save Hassan’s son, Sohrab. Even though it took Jalil and Amir lifetimes to redeem the mistakes both made, they were able to do the right things by the end of both stories.