The Kite Runner


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The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, is a thrillingly emotion stirring book. With its undertones of racial discrimination, family secrets and battles with ones own conscious. Amir the main character struggles with the relationship between him and his father and also him and his so-called friend Hassan. The book shows us that jealousy, and not cowardice as Amir claims, leads Amir to reject the one true friend he has. Though in the end Amir isn't always controlled by his horrible jealousy towards Hassan.
In the begging we see that Hassan has always stuck up and covered for Amir no matter how much trouble Hassan knew he would have to face for it. Like in this passage where Amir suggests that Hassan fire walnuts into their neighbor's one eyed German shepard's eye, "I talked Hassan into firing walnuts with his slingshot at the neighbor's one-eyed German shepard. Hassan never wanted to, but if I asked, really asked, he would never deny me. Hassan's father, Ali, used to catch us and get mad . . . ‘yes, father,' Hassan would mumble, looking down at his feet. But he never told on me. Never told that the mirror, like shooting walnuts at the neighbor's dog, was always my idea."(4) From this Amir should believe that Hassan is a good friend but because of Amir's failure to accept Hassan because of his standing in society and more focused on his standing with Amir's own father.
You see not only was it because of Hassan's looks and where he stood under the eyes of Amir's peers , but it was the distinct fact that Amir felt as if his own father treated their servant boy just the way he treated his one and only son. This pushed Amir to detach himself from considering Hassan a friend. Amir's jealousy towards his father's fondness for Hassan is made clear when his father's orphanage first opens. Amir states," I was eight by then. I remember the day before the orphanage opened, Baba took me to Ghargha Lake, a few miles north or Kabul. He asked me to fetch Hassan too, but I lied and told him Hassan had the runs. I wanted Baba all to myself. And besides, one time at Ghargha Lake, Hassan and I were skimming stones and Hassan made his stone skip eight times. The most I managed was five. Baba was there, watching, and he patted Hassan on the back.

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Even put his arm around his shoulder."(15) Even early in the book Amir's jealousy towards Hassan is eminent, but it is later that we see Amir's true distaste for Hassan.
Amir's total disregard for Hassan is shown at one point in the book when he is looking for Hassan; after Hassan ran the blue kite for him because Amir had won the contest. Amir went looking for Hassan but then finds out that Hassan was being chased by Assef. Finding this out Amir frantically searches for Hassan when he finds Hassan his cowardice stop him from going any further. Even at the sight of Hassan suffering on Amir's behalf, Amir still doesn't stand up for him. Assef and his boys had stopped Hassan and told him that for Hassan to pass on without any trouble it would cost him Amir's blue kite. Hassan of course fights for Amir and that is when Asef attacks Amir's loyalty. He enlightens Hassan by exclaiming," A loyal Hazara. Loyal as a dog . . . But before you sacrifice yourself for him, think about this: would he do the same for you? Have you ever wondered why he never includes you in games when he has guests? Why he only plays with you when no one else is around? I'll tell you why, Hazara. Because to him, you're nothing but an ugly pet. Something he can play with when he's bored, something he can kick when he's angry. Don't ever fool yourself and think you're something more."(72) Even after Assef points out Amir's true colors Hassan still exclaims "Amir agha and I are friends."(72) In addition to saying that even after Assef's attack on Amir's loyalty to Hassan, when Assef tries to take the kite by force, Hassan fights back and slingshots a rock at Assef to stop him from attacking him. That is when Assef has his two friends hold Hassan down and they go on to destroy the boy physically and mentally and the whole time Amir watched. Amir had been witnessed the whole thing and yet he ran, ran like a rat. He tries to convince himself it was because of fear when he utters to himself "In the end, I ran. I ran because I was a coward. I was afraid of Assef and what he would do to me. I was afraid of getting hurt. That's what I told myself as I turned my back to the alley, to Hassan. That's what I made myself believe. I actually aspired to cowardice, because the alternative, the real reason I was running, was that Assef was right: nothing was free in this world. Maybe Hassan was the price I had to pay, the lamb I had to slay, to win Baba. Was it a fair price? The answer floated to my conscious mind before I could thwart it: he was just a Hazara, wasn't he?"(77)
That showed that Amir couldn't stand up for Hassan truly because of his jealousy. Through out the entire book Amir's loyalty to Hassan is never evident until the end. As Amir returns to Afghanistan to try and salvage his conscious. The scene in which Amir truly feels as if he is at peace with himself and that his wrongs against Hassan had been lifted was the scene where he confronts Assef for the first time. In this part of the book Amir gets brutally beaten up by Assef, who is now part of the Taliban a group that enforces taking out Hazaras. Hassan was protecting Sohrab , Hassan's son, from Assef. As Assef pummels Amir to the ground Amir laughs which of course enrages Assef pounding Amir more intensely. Amir thinks to himself "I hadn't been happy and I hadn't felt better, not at all. But I did now. My body was broken---just how badly I wouldn't find out until later---but I felt healed. Healed at last. I laughed."(289)
It is then we see Amir really trying to make up for his ignorance that caused him in the begging of the book to treat Hassan the way he did. He went back home to face his biggest fears , the biggest of all accepting the fact that he did treat Hassan differently because of the jealousy of Hassan's relationship with Amir's father, which later Amir finds out that Baba was truly Hassan's father. Finding this out was a big part of why it was easier for Amir to accept the fact that Baba treated Hassan with more admiration. In the end Amir really made an effort to try and counter act his past and make it up to his real one true friend, Hassan.

Hosseini, Khaled . The Kite Runner. New York: The Berkley Publishing Group, 2003


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