The Portrayal of Courage in “The Kite Runner”
Courage is one of the most notable themes portrayed in the novel, “The Kite Runner”. Basically, the novel presents courage, as more than the audacity to do the unexpected and to fulfill one’s responsibilities. Rather, courage is demonstrated as the ability to stand up for one’s ideologies and values in life. It is beyond being daring and overcoming a sense of cowardice. Instead, it is the act of having confidence in the midst of danger and challenge. Following this premise, it follows that courage is portrayed in the novel through the character of Hassan.
In addition to that, Amir and Baba, who are also treated as protagonists of the story, are not qualified to be labeled as courageous. Rather, they can only be regarded as characters that have prevailed over their fear simply because they wanted to find atonement for the sins they committed. To prove this point, this paper presents a comparison of the three characters. To begin with, it is best to tackle scenes of confrontation in the story.
The first of the confrontations is that between Amir and Hassan, and Assef and two other boys.
It can be noted that Hassan stood up for his “master” primarily because he treats him as his family and one that he can somehow idolize. Although he belonged to a lower social class, he did not hesitate to defend himself and his master instead of succumbing to cowardice. He was courageous enough to aim his slingshot at Assef’s eye despite the fact that they were really no match for the three. Also, his courageous act stemmed from his natural will to protect himself and Amir.
Hassan’s courageousness was also strongly demonstrated when he refused to relinquish the house of Baba to the Taliban when Rahim Khan left for Pakistan. He refused despite the fact that he knew how dangerous those people were. To a certain extent, the act can be interpreted as more of an act of loyalty for Amir and his father. It may be another clear demonstration of his notable statement for Amir – “For you, a thousand times over”. However, this still qualifies as an exhibition of courage since he stood up for his prized value – loyalty.
(Hosseini, 2003) In the case of Baba, his appreciable valor is best demonstrated only when he and Amir were trying to escape Afghanistan. It can be noted that he tried to comfort Hassan by claiming that he ought to be unafraid because he was with him. Moreover, his seeming courage was further emphasized as he stood up against the Soviet officer. In Chapter Ten of the story, Baba and Amir, along with a group of other refugees were on board a truck when they were stopped by the Russian soldiers at a checkpoint.
One of the soldiers noted that they will be allowed to pass only if he could have one of the refugees – a young mother – to sleep with him for half an hour. Baba protested and even asked the officer “where is your shame? ” He did so even when the soldier pulled out a gun against him. Although standing up for a woman should be esteemed as an act of courage, such is not really the case for Baba. Basically, the act seemed to be an act to address the guilt that he felt when he himself slept with somebody else’s wife – particularly his friend Ali’s.
Baba shamed his friend by sleeping with Sanaubar. Amir is probably the most cowardice of the three. Although he was brave enough to go back to his native land and help Sohrab, the act was purely out of the will to free his self of guilt. It can be noted that even at the start of the story; Amir regards himself as a sinful man. “I became what I am today at the age of twelve,” he says as he recalls the fact that he had let Assef and his companions rape Hassan without doing anything but just peeking and witnessing the violence.
In general, his act of “courage” can be dismissed as a way of redeeming himself, mending his morals and as Rahim Khan claimed, the only “way to be good again”. (Hosseini, 2003) Amir’s willingness to escape Afghanistan and the memories of Baba was apparent in the story and one would realize that the persistence of guilt was the prime factor that motivated him to save Sohrab: “It’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. ” (Hosseini, 2003) In addition to that, one can also trace cowardice in Amir and Baba through the fact that they left Afghanistan.
They decided to flee the country instead of protecting it and fulfilling their nationalistic responsibilities. As Kabud Fahrid says to Amir upon his return, “You’ve always been a tourist here, you just didn’t know it. ” (Hosseini, 2003) The “you” here technically refers to cowards like Amir and Baba who are unable to fight for their country, therefore acting much like “tourists”. In conclusion, it can be observed that Hassan had what Baba and Amir lack – the ability to fight for their values for no underlying reason based on guilt and redemption.
Hassan’s act of courageousness was purely based on his will to fight for what he believed in and that can be regarded as true courage.
Hosseini, Khaleid. “The Kite Runner. ” Riverhead Books, 2003 “Reading Group Notes: The Kite Runner”. AllenAndUnwin. 5 May 5, 2009 <http://www. allenandunwin. com/_uploads/BookPdf/ReadingGroupGuide/9780747566533. pdf> “The Kite Runner Study Guide”. Grade Saver. 5 May 5, 2009. <http://www. gradesaver. com/the-kite-runner/study-guide/major-themes/ >
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