Amir's Character Development in The Kite Runner

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 66
  • Published : May 17, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
Amir – character development

Describe in detail the THREE most important things which happen to Amir which cause him to change his attitude to life. Find quotation and detail from the text to support your argument.

I think that the three most important events in the book that effect Amir’s character is.. 1) When he watches Assef rape Hassan. This while it does not effect Amirs’s character in a positive way, still has a profound effect on him. He is wracked with guilt that haunts him though his life. It is a ‘metaphorical demon’ that he must face.

After allowing Hassan to be raped, Amir is not any happier. On the contrary, his guilt is relentless, and he recognizes his selfishness cost him his happiness rather than increasing it.

“That was a long time ago, but 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. Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.”

To the reader, the quotation functions as a teaser. It piques the reader’s interest without revealing exactly what Amir is talking about, and from the time period Amir mentions, twenty-six years, the reader gets an idea of just how important this moment was. As the story unfolds, we realize that the deserted alley Amir refers to is where Hassan was raped, and that this event has largely defined the course of Amir’s life since. This is what Amir means when he says that the past continues to claw its way out. Try as he might to bury it, he was unable to because his feelings of guilt kept arising. As a result, he figuratively continues peeking into the alley where Assef raped Hassan, literally meaning that he keeps going over the event in his mind.

“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.”

When Amir says this, toward the end of Chapter 7, he has just watched Assef rape Hassan,and rather than intervene, he ran away. Amir says he aspired to cowardice because, in his estimation, what he did was worse than cowardice. If fear of being hurt by Assef were the main reason he ran, Amir suggests that at least would have been more justified. Instead, he allowed the rape to happen because he wanted the blue kite, which he thought would prove to Baba that he was a winner like him, earning him Baba’s love and approval. The price of the kite, as Amir says, was Hassan, and this is why Amir calls Hassan the lamb he had to slay. He draws a comparison between Hassan and the lamb sacrificed during the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Adha to commemorate Abraham’s near sacrifice of his son to God. In this context, Hassan was the sacrifice Amir had to make to get the kite and ultimately to gain Baba’s affection.

2) the discovery of Sohrab. Once Amir has married and established a career, only two things prevent his complete happiness: his guilt and his inability to have a child with Soraya. Sohrab, who acts as a substitute for Hassan to Amir, actually becomes a solution to both problems. Amir describes Sohrab as ‘looking like a sacrificial lamb’during his confrontation with Assef, but it is actually himself that Amir courageously sacrifices. In doing this, as Hassan once did for him, Amir redeems himself, which is why he feels relief even as Assef beats him. Amir also comes to see Sohrab as a substitute for the child he and Soraya cannot have, and as a self-sacrificing father figure to Sohrab, Amir assumes the roles of Baba and Hassan.

3)The confintation with Assef.

“My body was broken—just how badly I wouldn’t find out until later—but I felt healed. Healed at last. I laughed.”

This quotation occurs during Amir’s meeting with Assef as he tries to find Sohrab in Chapter 22. Assef beats Amir with brass knuckles, snapping Amir’s ribs, splitting his lip and busting his...
tracking img