Applying Psychoanalytic Criticism to The Kite Runner:
The father/son relationship
“The problem, of course, was that Baba saw the world in black and white. And he got to decide what was black and what was white. You can’t love a person who lives that way without fearing him too. Maybe even hating him a little” (15) •
“Of course, marrying a poet was one thing, but fathering a son who preferred burying his face in poetry book to hunting…well, that wasn’t how Baba had envisioned it, I suppose. Real men didn’t read poetry –and God forbid they should ever write it!” (20). •
“A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything” (22). •
The story of Rostam and Sohrab, where the father accidentally kills his son. “Personally, I couldn’t see the tragedy in Rostam’s fate. After all, didn’t all fathers in their secret hearts harbor a desire to kill their sons? •
When Baba does not ask to read Amir’s first story, Amir is crushed. “I worshiped Baba with an intensity approaching the religious. But right then, I wished I could open my veins and drain his cursed blood from my body” (32). •
Later, “…I sat on my bed and wished Rahim Khan had been my father…I was overcome with such sudden guilt that I bolted to the bathroom and vomited in the sink” (32).
The father/son relationship is strained. Baba seems to have high expectations for Amir, so high that he does not acknowledge Amir’s individuality. It almost seems as if Baba does not “see” Amir. A psychoanalytic interpretation might help us see Baba’s actions as a way of repressing something (a fear or a guilt) concerning his son. Perhaps this is foreshadowing .
On the opposite side, Amir seems to secretly wish that Baba was not his father. This is a classic example of the Oedipal complex. Freud’s theory of the Oedipal complex was the idea that young boys harbor a secret rivalry with their father. That rivalry is usually for the mother’s affection. However, for Amir,...
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