Kite Runner Themes

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Kite runner themes

Ethnic Pride

Baba expresses a great deal of pride and attachment to the afghan culture so the move to America fills Amir and himself with a loss of heritage and identity. The escape from the previous culture however allows Amir to escape the incident of rape upon his best friend Hassan which has left a bad taste on his childhood. In America Amir doesn’t turn away from his Middle Eastern culture, and asks Soraya’s father, the general for permission to marry her even though he spurns it slightly by talking to her privately without consent. Amir towards the end, becomes proud of his blended culture. Although he enjoys visiting Pakistan, eating the traditional food and hearing references to childhood legends, he also likes the feeling of hope and freedom he gained from America.

Social Inequality

From childhood, Amir recognizes the difference in social standing between himself and best friend Hassan. As a Pashtun, Amir enjoys privileges of being a higher class and his father being a successful man whereas Hassan is poor and he and his father face prejudice from people every day. Despite this, Hassan and Ali are content with their lower class life and are good natured human beings. Hosseini is trying to convey that your social standing in society does not determine what kind of person you are and if you are better than someone else. You can only truly be better than someone else morally and having saint-like characteristics. During Amir and Hassan childhood, they’re differences of social class are conveyed by living standards, Hassan being illiterate and physical appearances. These are individually important but as a whole they all convey irony in the fact that it is Hassan who is content with life and Amir who is not. Later in the novel, Hazara prejudice which is taken to the extreme as they are massacred and abused by Taliban officials, such as Assef. When Sohrab returns with Amir to America, Amir is quick to dispel any mention of class as he believes it is has influenced his and Sohrab’s life too greatly and he perhaps finally sees them as his equals which he was afraid to do so as a child(never referring to Hassan as his friend).

Personal Responsibility

Many of the actions of the main character stem from personal responsibility. Baba takes on the responsibility of Ali from his father, who took him in when he was a child. He lets Ali and his son work for him, offers them shelter and food; making them feel part employees and part family. Air later realises this ‘personal responsibility’ baba showed for Ali may stem from his guilt of betraying Ali and fathering Hassan. Amir feels responsible for all the bad occurrences which happened to Hassan and his father. He feels many of the events which occurred later in the novel are down to him being too cowardly to prevent Hassan being raped. Though many suffer from the Taliban’s ruthlessness, he believes the events that happened to Hassan’s family are his responsibility/fault. The feeling of responsibility is what drives Amir to return to Afghanistan, to rescue Sohrab. Rahim Khan plants this idea in Amir’s head and suggests this is the way to achieve closure and absolution for the past. After he rescues Sohrab, Amir feels responsible for the boy in a different way and wants to protect him from anymore pain; furthermore, he sees Sohrab as a way to fill the emptiness in the marriage from his and Sorayas infidelity.

Identity and Self- discovery

Throughout the novel the protagonist struggles to find his true purpose and find his identity through noble actions. Amir’s failure to be loyal to his friend at such a crucial moment defines this conflict. His endeavour to overcome his own weaknesses appear in confronting Assef, returning to a war torn country oppressed by the Taliban and even his carsickness whilst during with Farid. The revelation of baba later in chapter 17, allows Amir to discover who his father really was and how alike they...
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