The difference in social class causes discrimination and conflict between individuals and even close friends in Afghanistan. In this novel, the protagonist, Amir, and his father, Baba, are both members of the Pashtun Sunni Muslims. Most Pashtuns of Afghanistan considered themselves superior to the “dirty kasseef Hazaras” (40). The Hazaras were Shi’a Muslims and historically persecuted and oppressed by the Pashtuns. Hassan, Amir’s half-brother and childhood playmate, is a Hazara with typical Mongoloid features. His face is “like a Chinese doll chiseled from hardwood” and he has a “flat, broad nose…and a cleft lip, just left of midline” (3). Unfortunately, a Hazara’s life was difficult and subject to physical and mental abuse as seen with the incessant bullying of Hassan and Ali, by the hands of the neighborhood boys Wali, Kamal, and their leader Assef. Known for “his famous stainless steel brass knuckles” (38), Assef ridiculed Hassan and Ali by calling them “kunis” and “flat-nose” (39). The physical abuse is most prevalently seen with the brutal rape of Hassan and a large Hazara Mass...
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...e of the final opponent. Hassan, the best kite runner of the neighborhood, promises Amir with the most beautiful words in the novel, “for you a thousand times over” (67) that he will return with the kite. To Amir, the kite symbolizes the acceptance and pride he desperately desires from his father. This desperate desire for his father’s affection directs Amir to allow Hassan to be raped by the Assef, with the inference that “he was just a Hazara,” expendable, and “the price [he] had to pay, the lamb [he] had to slay, to win Baba” (77). This very lack of action due to his cowardice and selfishness clings strongly to Amir and changes his entire world around, for the worse. Though “there is a way to be good again” (2), the path of redemption for Amir is difficult and correlates to the severe damage he has caused directly to Hassan and indirectly to Baba and himself.
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