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Father-Son Relationships In The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

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Father-Son Relationships In The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

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  • May 7, 2005
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Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner is a touching tale of an Afghani boy's upbringing. Despite having a protagonist brought up in a culture unfamiliar to most North Americans, the book has found widespread readership. One of the many reasons for the book's popularity is the development and believability of the father-son relationships that we are introduced to right at the story's beginning.

The characteristics in the relationships we witness are many; they include the sad love-hate tensions between Baba and Amir, the relationship between Ali and Hassan, which seem to be more friendly than familial (explained late in the book), and the wistful, cautious affection that Baba has for Hassan.

The most important father-son relationship in The Kite Runner is that between the protagonist Amir and his father Baba, a highly successful Kabul businessman. From Amir's descriptions of his father at the beginning of the book, it is clear that he respects him greatly: "He motioned for me to hold his hat for him and I was glad to, because everyone would see that he was my father" (16). However, just a few paragraphs later, when Amir is describing the way that Baba sees the world ("black and white"), says that "you can't love a person who lives that way without fearing him too. Maybe even hating him a little" (16). Amir is suggesting that his feelings towards his father are more of a fearful reverence than pure admiration; from Amir's point of view, it is a love-hate relationship.

Baba also expresses his doubts about Amir. Baba is, simply put, powerful - physically, financially, and most importantly, in terms of his personality. Baba is dominant. He expects his son to be the same, but he is clearly not. Amir prefers writing poetry and reading literature to spending time on the soccer field - or even watching sports on TV. Baba is disappointed in his son's naturally submissive demeanor. Amir knows about this from listening to his father's conversations with Rahim Khan,...