I recently finished reading The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. It’s hard not to be drawn in by this story. It gives a lot of insight into Afghani culture, which is not only foreign to Americans, but we tend to demonize it. The characters in this novel are so human and undergo so much suffering that it opens the reader’s eyes. This is why I believe the book gained so much popularity.
Underneath the setting of the book and the foreign aspect of the culture, still stands a poignant story. It’s a story of human emotions and relationships that any reader, no matter the culture, could relate to.
The aspect of the novel that stood out to me most was the relationship between Amir and Hassan. It begins as a naïve and childlike kinship. They were like brothers, having drunk milk from the same breast. They experienced that brotherly bond before they even knew that they were actually related.
Amir’s actions towards Hassan, constantly testing his loyalty, tricking him because Hassan didn’t know how to read, and abandoning him after witnessing his rape, are all reflections of Amir’s own outlook on himself. Hassan represents the poor, the uneducated, and the outcasts, but he also represents the pure of heart, the loyal, and the humans who have nothing, no belongings or riches, to rely on except their own humanity.
As Amir tests that, he is testing his own power that was given to him, not earned. The guilt consumes him, as he intuitively knows that he did nothing for the status that he had. He did not earn the power that he had at his disposal and he sure didn’t know how to use it properly. This causes him, in time, to resent himself.
Amir feels the same towards his own identity as his Baba felt towards Amir as his son. Amir was the son that he was allowed to have because of the rules of society, but Hassan was the son that must be hidden.
Hassan’s pureness and goodness of heart was so aggravating, especially for Amir, because Amir did nothing to gain his loyalty, and in fact hurt him quite a lot. It seems that the power that is given to some, but not others, will inevitably corrupt. It will steal that pureness. Hassan was a symbol of the purity that neither Amir nor his Baba could have.
I will not give away the ending, for those of you who have not read it. But, it really does come together in a beautiful way. The themes I expressed in this post come full circle and leave the readers with a satisfying feeling. Read it, if you have not yet!