“A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who won’t stand up to anything” Is this true of Amir?
The Kite Runner is a powerful text that immerses the reader into the journey of many characters seeking different goals, whether it’s redemption, revenge or in Amir’s case, his father’s approval. Khaled Hosseini’s novel follows the journey of a young boy trying to achieve his father’s sanction. Baba, Amir’s father, perceives Amir as a weak child. He complains about the fact that he always needs Hassan to get him out of trouble. He says to his business-partner and good friend Rahim Khan that “A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who won’t stand up to anything”.
In the course of his childhood, Amir had not been given many chances to 'stand up for himself'. He lived as a boy under the wing of his father's fame and influence, gaining attention and respect as “Baba's son”. The results are quite obvious – at school he was “spared the metal rod treatment”, and in Amir's own words, it was also “the sole reason, I believe, Assef had mostly refrained from harassing me too much.” In addition to that, he had Hassan backing him up in almost every other situation. In each nasty little crisis that Amir lands in, from minor bullying to the more serious threats, Hassan “steps in and fends them off.” Having grown up with such sturdy protection, it would be quite reasonable to say that Amir 'can't stand up for himself', rather than “won't stand up for himself.” Hosseini shows in his novel that Amir's lack of experience in facing his own problems, in addition to his father's negative view of himself, caused a rather serious inferiority complex within him, which continually reoccurred in the course of his lifetime. Many a time Amir would compare himself to Baba “I hadn't turned out like him” or to Hassan “I wasn't just slower than Hassan but clumsier too”, and in every case he would negate himself.
Baba is worried that “something is missing” in Amir....
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