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The novel named “The Kite Runner” is an unforgettable, emotional, sensational, and heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a rich boy and the son of his father's servant. It was published by Khaled Hosseini in 2003 and flashes back to Amir's childhood in Afghanistan. He is a Sunni Muslim, who struggles to find his place in the world. The novel is a powerful and unusual graphic one. It has become a kind of beloved classic for all generations. Additionally, the novel is an artistically crafted one and set in a war-torn country, Afghanistan. It is centralized on two major relationships, one is the protagonist and his father and the other is the protagonist and his best friend.
Besides, the novel is set primarily in Afghanistan and the United States between the year 1960s and early 2000s. Notably, the setting of Afghanistan is specifically important here to the arc of the novel, as the betrayal and violence inflicted upon the country are reflections of the events that happen to the main characters. The novel also tries to describe multiple distinct of Afghanistan including the Soviet military forces invasion, Taliban rule, and others.
The Kite Runner
● The beginning of the book takes place in Afghanistan where Amir’s childhood is portrayed.
● The second part takes place in California, where Amir’s young age is highlighted
● The end of the book further takes place in Kabul, where Amir has returned as an older adult.
The quest for redemption covers much of the novel's plot and expands as a theme including both personal and political. It is stated that throughout Childhood, Amir struggled to redeem himself to Baba as a perfect son. Besides, Amir spent the rest of his life trying to redeem himself for the betrayal of his loyal friend after Hassan's rape. Such guilt ultimately culminates in Amir's attempts to save Hassan's son Sohrab by returning to Afghanistan. Besides, Amir also realized after learning the ultimate truth that Baba was trying to redeem his adultery through several charitable activities and showcasing strong principles in later life. On the other hand, every relationship in the novel is strained at one point thus providing multiple examples of love and true friendship. Hassan’s friendship with Amir is selfless, while Amir does not consider him a friend.
Amir is the central character of the novel, “The Kite Runner” as well as its narrator. A conflicting character that struggles between the emotional and logical sides of belonging. Amir is an intelligent and sensitive son of a well-do-businessman in Kabul. Amir grew up accustomed to having what he wanted as a privileged upbringing. The only thing that Amir feels deprived of is a deep sentiment or emotional connection with Baba. Amir is one of the characters with whom readers feel compassion. Amir also has a nature of jealousy toward anyone receiving Baba’s affection. It can add that, Amir’s great desire to please Baba is the primary motivation for his different aspects of behavior early in the novel as it is the main reason, he allows Hassan to be Raped. As a narrator, he opens both his obsession and guilty conscience along with his later perspective while looking back on childhood events.
Hassan is Amir’s best friend, playmate as well as a servant of Baba. The character of Hassan epitomizes the perfect servant who is loyal to his master even after the master betrays him. It can be added that Hassan has proven himself a loyal friend to Amir repeatedly. He not only defended Amir but also was ready to listen to whatever the situation could be. His defining traits indicate selflessness, bravery, intelligence being uneducated. He was Baba’s illegitimate child, though he is not aware of this truth and grows up as a servant. There is no cloud of doubt that he plays a major role in loyalty throughout the essay whether being a servant or a friend. After knowing the truth that Amir did not consider him his friend, he still plays the character of “too good to be true”. His character also presents as the victim of racism in a significant portion of the novel.
Amir’s childhood was filled with experiences of cowardice, guilt, and forgiveness. Amir wanted Baba's attention and always trying to get attention and love from Baba. Besides, Hassan always tried to stay loyal to his responsibilities and showcase selfless love for Amir throughout his life, beginning from childhood. In Kabul, winter is the best time of the year to hold kite tournaments. It can add that, Baba took Hassan and Amir to buy kites from an old blind man who is the best at making kites in the city. Hassan is one of the best kite runners and seems to know exactly in which place a kite will land before it comes down. Kite runners are those who can better chase the fall of the losing kite flies. While conducting the tournament in 1975, in Amir's neighborhood, Baba said that Amir would win. On the last date of the tournament, when, Amir won defeating the other blue kite, both Amir and Hassan share a bond of cheer and hug for kite love.
Afghanistan is a country full of social boundaries and expectations influenced by both ethnicity and class. In the concerned novel, Amir and Hassan come from social backgrounds that are the opposite. Amir is a wealthy member of the dominant Pashtuns and a Sunni Muslim. Whereas, Hassan is a child servant to Amir as well as a member of the minority Hazaras. Due to contrasting social conditions, the way they treat each other and their values and beliefs also shape them in different ways. As per the Marxist view, class conflict mainly affects the choices and decisions of Amir and Hassan. It can be added that the relationship between both deep downs should be a loveable one. Due to the presence of pre-existing economic situations, it looks impossible to overlay.
In the novel, "The Kite Runner", Amir strives for the attention of his father, Baba and to get his attention he can do anything. It can be added that though Hassan was his best friend, Amir showed a shady attitude towards Hassan during the kite tournament. The incident of betrayal happens right after Amir wins a kite-flighting tournament. To ensure Amir's win, Hassan runs after the kite that is cut by Amir as the last one in the match.
Meanwhile, Amir also went after him and found that other boys captured Hassan. Seeing Hassan's Rape, Amir did not take a stand for his loyal friend but rather stop conversation with him after the match. The incident reflects Amir's betrayal as a form of Hassan's physical damage. Besides, another influential fact that somewhere contributed to the betrayal incident is Amir's frustration with his father's lack of attention.
A change is seen in Amir's character as the novel centers on his growth from a selfish child to a selfless adult after the rape incident. It can add that Amir is not any happier after allowing Hassan to be raped. Amir's guilt was relentless and he later recognized that. His selfishness cost him much rather than increasing happiness. Due to the presence of guilt, Amir started to spend less time around Hassan. He also does not want Hassan around anymore. A strained relationship was seen due to the inner struggles of Amir with his love for Hassan versus his desire to leave Hassan at home so that he can have Baba to himself. It is his guilt that Amir starts avoiding Hassan and represents a strained relationship with him. In the context of overcoming the guilt, Amir convinced his mind by telling him maybe Hassan is the price that he had to pay to win Baba's affection.
Hassan sacrificed multiple times to serve and protect his close friend, Amir. Such an act ultimately proves himself a loyal companion. As a consequence of the actions, it has been seen that Hassan paid off physical and mental assault and no one is there to help him. At the end of the novel, Hassan comes across as the personification of innocence that gives others no justifiable reason to betray him. Besides, Hassan must deal with judgment and teasing from an early age due to his appearance and social status. Despite such a scenario, Hassan remains optimistic, kind, loyal, and a great friend to Amir, who does not consider him a friend. Apart from that, Hassan always tried to protect Amir and loyally perform his responsibility. Lastly, he was forever loyal and never allowed himself to be corrupted for any relevant purpose throughout his life.
The novel, “The Kite Runner” contextualizes the Soviet-afghan war that began in 1979 and its impact on the Afghanistan citizens. It can be added that it is a war that internally hit Afghanistan but also the Soviets, to protect the monarchy. Due to such a substantial climate, there were a lot of insurgent groups those are revel groups backed by the US. Another notable thing is that in the late '90s, Mujahideen turned and became Al Qaeda backed by Saudia Arabia, the USA, and Pakistan. Whereas, the communist party was backed up by the Soviet Union. Further, the Soviet invasion in somewhere solidify the concept of global violent jihad, the rise of the Taliban regime, and the formation of al-Qaeda. An attempt has been also seen during wartime including depopulating rural areas and eliminating Mujahideen. Due to the Soviet invasion, instability has been seen that forced many Afghans to leave Kabul.
In March 1981, Amir and his father came with other Afghans on the way to Pakistan in the back of a truck. After the Russians invaded Afghanistan Kabul was occupied by Russian Troops and is no longer safe. Due to the unstable scenario after the Soviet-afghan war, Baba took this decision and left home in the middle of the night. For a week, Baba and Amir stay with other refugees and then arrive in California, where they have lived for nearly two years. The journey was a horrific one for Baba and Amir along with was full of experiences. Another reason behind staying in America was Amir’s education, finishing high school and going to college. In addition, Amir is happy about such a decision of Baba as he gets a chance to lay off his past that disturbed him.
In California, the relationship between Amir and Baba has changed gradually. Baba worked at a gas station and faced a difficult time also to life in this country. In this journey, Amir attended high school and then attended college classes in San Jose. Their stay in California was in a run-down apartment and they did have not a lot of extra money to live life as in Kabul. Baba and Amir were among other many Afghans who struggled to adjust to a new life in California. Perhaps, the adjustments to a completely new country are not just about learning a new language, but rather maintaining tradition as well as the balance of self-culture. In addition, Baba still had his old-world prejudice still lost his status. Whereas, Amir was impacted in a more positive way far away from his past and much happier with Baba. Moreover, moving away from home as well as leaving everything behind has resulted in a dramatic change for both characters and imposed a challenge of assimilation as well.
Amir's adulthood was spent in California as well as after returning to Kabul. Several distinct incidences including, completion of education, starting of married life, death of Baba, and others are evident in California. Amir remains in the US until he receives a call 15 years later from his father's best friend, Rahim, who asks him to visit Pakistan. During the time spent in the US, an estranged relationship is also seen between Amir and his Baba. it has been seen that Baba was disappointed with Amir's decision to pursue a creative career in writing. A young Amir also felt that he was indeed sacrificing the older Amir and is now able to take responsibility for both his indications and actions. After Baba becomes sick, it is seen that Amir takes a stand as Baba refuses to be checked by a doctor with Russian ancestry.
There is no cloud of doubt that traumatic tragedies and events can heavily affect people and substantially change the course of their lives. The same is seen in the case of Amir when he is aware of the news of Hassan’s tragic fate. The consequence of Hasan’s tragic fate was the consequences of religious and ethnic contradictions intensification. In simple words. Hussan’s death is presented as political strife ravaging Kabul as well as the prejudice against Hazaras that is highlighted in the novel. In the end, the Taliban moved into Baba's house and Sohrab was sent to the orphanage. As no one was there for Sohrab, hence he was sent to captivity in Peshawar. However, the tragic fate of Hassan Portray a senseless violence captures the atrocity of citizen’s life under Taliban Rule.
It is stated that Hassan's death marks a turning point in Amir's quest for redemption. After knowing the trust in his and Hassan's relationship as well as the death news of Hassan, Amir decided to return to Afghanistan and redeem himself from his childhood guilt. To redeem Amir, Rahim Khan also plays an influential role as at first, Amir was not ready to go to the orphanage. Besides. Hassan's letter also to some extent impacted Amir's to decision return to Afghanistan. It has been seen that Amir’s selfish nature drives him to refuse but after his realization that this would be the last chance to redeem himself to decides between saving Sohrab. Additionally, despite different suffering and consequences throughout the book, all characters find their way toward redemption.
Amir’s decision to find out Sohrab is the first active action he takes towards atoning for his past. Besides, going to Kabul itself is a test of Amir’s loyalty, honor, and manhood. The search for Sohrab was one of the redeeming of Amire towards Hassan, who is his brother by blood as well as fulfilling Baba’s desire. According to Rahim Khan’s guidance, Amir is dressed in an Afghan hat called Pakol and wears a fake beard to appear Taliban-friendly. In addition to this, when Amir enters the Taliban-controlled Kabul he further experiences the car sickness that he experienced before. The whole incident of encountering is also hidden from Soraya as Amir believes she will take the next plane to Pakistan. After reaching Kabul, Amir also can not recognize it due to the signs of war.
Sohrab's rescue is a defining moment in the novel "The Kite Runner". It can be added that the return of Amir to Afghanistan is a journey of redemption and self-discovery over the find and rescue of Sohrab. In the prospect of finding Sohrab, Amir reached the orphanage with the suggested person of Rahim Khan, named Farid but did not find him there. As per the orphanage director's statement, Taliban officials took away Sohrab by giving them money. Amir returned to Aseef in search of Sohrab and here he found him in the same condition that Hassan faced. But this time Amir took the stand and did what Baba always wanted to see within Amir. Besides, Amir also navigates the changing political scenario of Kabul and successfully confronts the Taliban leader, Aseef, who holds Sohrab captive. Apart from that the rescue of Sohrab serves as a meaningful example of the transformative power of redemption and love.
In the novel “The Kite Runner”, the confrontation between Aseef and Amir is a significant moment that occurs while rescuing Sohrab from a Taliban-run orphanage. It can be added that the confrontation is nothing but a manifestation of the long-standing enmity as Aseef previously attacked Hassan, a friend of Amir. It was an emotional and physically charged scene that represents the culmination of the theme of redemption, guilt, and the consequences of past actions that are mainly woven throughout the novel. The scenario serves to bring closure to the event of Amir's childhood as well as serves as a turning point in Amir's journey of redemption.
After rescuing Sohrab, Amir asks him whether he wants to go to America with him or not. Sohrab was a little scared about the uncertainty of his future and wondered if Amir’s wife would not accept him. After Amir’s confrontation, Sohrab was ready to return to America. While going to the American embassy, Amir became aware that the adoption was almost impossible. A man suggested to Amir the only way to adapt to Sohrab is to admit him to the orphanage. As Amir has no such legal documents thereby needs to claim for adaptation after the completion of two years Meanwhile, Sohrab fell unconscious in the bathroom and lost a significant amount of blood as he was not well for a long time. In 2001, Amir and Sohrab arrived in San Fransico after the completion of his treatment.
The novel highlights that sexual abuse makes Sohrab different and he starts to feel sinful and dirty. Sohrab multiple times told Amir that he did not want to return to the orphanage and was also tired of his life. In between, Sohrab felt ill and had to be admitted to the hospital where he lost a great deal of blood. After his complete recovery, when he arrives in the USA and starts a new life, a change in the process of healing is noticed in that period. It has been seen that, on rainy days, Amir takes Sohrab to the park where he enjoys the kites flying in the sky. It has been seen that Amir encourages Sohrab to do what his father Hassan did in the past to make him a kite runner. Due to the physical and sexual abuse, Sohrab at first manifests in almost everything he does but later after spending days in America, a healing process has resulted in his character.
Aftermath of the suicide attempt on Sohrab, Amir's feelings of guilt take him again to the reconciliation state. It has been noticed that Amir prays for Sohrab's recovery in the hospital waiting room. Even before he never prayed for anyone but it was his guilt that put him in such a situation. Amir did his best to recover Sohrab and after his recovery, he took away to America. While living in America, Amir always tries to perform all the responsibilities that he cannot do for Sohrab’s father. Such an act by Amir is found as a new sense of redemption in the novel "The Kite Runner". Amir tries to spend maximum time with Sohrab to bring him back to normal life as well and he reflects Hassan, who was his loyal friend in Sohrab's character. The quote of Amir, "For you, a thousand times over” is nothing but a direct indication of Amir’s reconciliation and a sense of redemption.
A central theme of the novel "The Kite Runner" is guilt which has been seen throughout Amir’s life. The guilt of not taking a stand for that friend who is loyal and gave his everything, has impacted Amir, the narrator of the novel. It has been seen that he tried his best to forget and start a new life but the feelings of guilt daunted him even in America.
As a consequence of guilt, somewhere, Amir also searches for a chance at redemption. Both guilt and redemption have shaped Amir’s character in the novel. It has been seen that Rahim Khan helps Amir to get a way to redeem himself from the guilt of the past by adopting Sohrab.
The power of Friendship
The central concept of the novel “The Kite Rider” revolves around the concept of friendship in different from. It can be added that Hassan showcases a selfless friendship with his friend Amir even knowing that Amir did not consider him his friend as well as sacrifice his life. On the other hand, in the second half, Amir in remembering his and Hassan’s friendship helps Sohrab in healing his life.
Different personal choices of the novel's characters were impacted and resulted in several long-lasting effects. It can be added that the personal choice of Baba, in terms of hiding the truth about Hassan and his past life changed Amir's life. Besides, Baba's behaviour towards Amir somehow influenced him to think that Baba responsible Amir for his mother's death. Another personal choice of Hassan is to serve from his last breath for his friend Amir, who never respects his friendship also results in long-lasting effects in the novel. It can also be added that not treating the doctor was another personal choice of Baba that also negatively impacted Amir's life. The personal choice of leaving Kabul benefits Amir in terms of his education but impacts Baba negatively.
The novel “The Kite Runner” delivers a universal appeal of selfless friendship and a glimpse of political events in Afghanistan. It can add that the characters of the novel really cannot escape from their past and looking for redemption throughout the story. Here, Kites becomes a symbol of betrayal of friendship as well as a symbol of the father-son relationship in the novel. Besides, complexities of relationships are also seen throughout the novel due to personal choices. The major events of the novel are mainly framed in the context of Amir’s life, followed by Afghanistan’s transition as well. Racism and Religion also influenced hugely in the development of complexities in the character's relationships. On the other hand, human emotions in different forms in Hassan, Sohrab, and Amir’s characters are evident within the novel. Moreover, the novel covers multiple betrayals and offers the possibility of redemption as a part of human emotions.
Example of Redemption
Redemption is seen as an indirect consequence of the guilt in Amir’s character. It can be added that the sense of guilt does not leave Amir alone even after America. The adoption of the Sohrab was a scope of redemption for Amir in his adulthood that is highlighted by the Rashid Khan to cover his past childhood fault. Efforts to get the attention of Baba have also proven as another form of redemption for Amir. A new sense of redemption is also noticed in his character after the rescue of Sohrab. Moreover, differently, redemption impacted Amir’s life and shaped his character in the novel.
Example of Friendship
In this novel, another example is seen in the form of a loyal friendship with the character Hassan. Though both Amir and Hassan share a bond, Amir never considers him as his friend but rather feels jealous of him. Besides, Hassan reflects an immense selfless and pure friendship, even though he sacrifices his life due to this. Another friendship is seen between Baba and Rahim Khan to hide the truth for the sake of Amir's future and societal norms. Moreover, the novel presents several examples of friendship as the central point of the discussion.
Example of a Father-Son Relationship
The author tried to shed light on a complex relationship of love and tension between Amir and Baba. It can be added that Amir always looking for Baba's love which ultimately leads to the act of guilt later. On the other side, Baba feels guilty about treating Amir well when he cannot acknowledge Hassan as his son. In addition, a beautiful relationship between Hassan and Sohrab is also seen at the end phase of the novel. Moreover, the novel successfully portrays a different example of a father-son relationship here.
Example of the Intersection of Political Events
A transition in the political environment of Afghanistan has been captured in the novel “The Kight Runner” as well besides framing the context of the novel. The different intersections of the political events have been contextualized in their childhood and adulthood period of Amir. In the recollections of Amir’s childhood, the calm state of Kabul is evident, whereas, after the Soviet-Afghanistan war, a rapid change in the landscape is noticed in the novel. The political events also impacted the life of the novel's character greatly and changed the way of looking at life.
Examples of Racism and Ethnicity
The influence of ethnicity and racism is also evident in different sections of the novel's discussion. It can be added that one of the prime examples of racism is seen in the form of Hassan's suffering. Due to being lower caste, Hassan faced the consequences of both physical and mental abuse in this story. Besides, Amir also does not cooperate with Hassan because of social distance. The racism becomes complicated later when Amir learns the truth about Hassan. It can be added that due to the presence of ethnicity, Hassan also did not get the opportunity to learn or be educated while he showcased an eagerness towards education.
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