How are relationships portrayed in The Kite Runner?
The theme of relationships runs throughout the novel, the four main relationships being Baba and Amir, Amir and Hassan, Amir and Sohrab and Baba and Hassan. Some relationships are parallel to each other and are reflective in many different chapters throughout the novel.
The father and son relationship between Baba and Amir is problematic from the start as Amir feels he is blamed in some way for his mother’s death, by his father. Amir believes that the only way to redeem himself and be forgiven by his father is to win the annual kite tournament. This way he would win his father’s forgiveness and love, “the blue kite. My key to Baba’s heart.” The kite is Amir’s “key to Baba’s heart” because with it he hoped to gain Baba’s attention and make him proud.
Amir’s fight for Baba’s attention left him with a need to ‘fake interest for as long as possible’ even if it meant pretending he was interested in the kind of sports his father was but even these attempts were deemed feeble by his father and surely pushed them apart even more than before. His attempts at closing the gap between them, pushing aside their differences in fact influenced the events that happened afterwards, such as his need for the kite, over saving his best friend, Hassan, in the alley.
When Amir finds out Hassan is his brother, he comes to the realisation that he is not that different from his father. ‘as it turned out, Baba and I were more alike than I’d ever know.’ Throughout his life everyone, including himself had thought Baba and Amir were nothing alike, but in the end it turned out that they were more alike than anyone knew and in the worst way, they had both betrayed the people who had always been the most loyal to them. It is ironic how Amir based his entire childhood on being more like his father and when he finally finds out what they have in common, it ends up being something he is ashamed of...