Throughout ‘The Kite Runner’, Amir is our main character and the centre narrative voice of the novel. The bulk of the novel is based around Amir’s Pashtun lifestyle as a child and the events and changes that take place during this complex part of the characters life; as a reader we see many changes to Amir’s actions and emotions as the novel develops, however the way Amir feels and acts is mainly effected by the actions of another central character. In chapter 2 we learn of various traits of Amir’s character; Hosseini introduces Amir’s relationship with both Hassan and Baba during the early episodes of this chapter. On page four we get an insight to the relationship between Amir and his father, it is through this relationship that Hosseini teaches us of Amir’s desperation for his father to love and accept him but also of the pride Amir holds for his father. Hosseini uses possessive pronouns to illustrate Amir’s pride: “my father’s estate”, “my father”, “my Baba”. Through the use of these possessive pronouns and the repetition of them throughout this episode of the novel the reader has the idea of pride, where Amir is concerned, emphasised by Hosseini. A subordinate clause is also used to emphasise Amir’s pride of his father’s accomplishments: “Everybody agreed that my father, my Baba, had built the most beautiful house.” This further emphasises this trait of Amir’s character to the reader; also, as this idea is given to us so early on in the novel it suggests to us that Baba is an extremely important figure to Amir. The pride Amir feels for his father is also shown through Hosseini’s use of syntax. A variety of complex and simple sentences are used to describe Amir’s home, the house that his Baba had built for them, in an extremely grand way. After a description of a particular fragment of Amir’s home we are interrupted, through sentence structure, by the reminder that it is all Baba’s work. The clause used in the following sentence is an example of this: “Intricate mosaic tiles, hand-picked by Baba in Isfahan, covered the floors of the four bathrooms”. The sentence structure highlights that all of the grandeur being described is down to Baba’s hard work. The use of superlatives are used within this sentences to further emphasis the pride Amir feels about his father’s work: “most beautiful, prettiest”. This is added emphasis to the reader to further the importance of Baba to Amir and how Amir looks up and aspires to be like his father.
Later in this chapter we learn of Amir and Hassan’s relationship. This also gives us an insight to Amir as a character. “We” is foregrounded in many sentences when describing Amir and Hassan’s relationship which suggests togetherness and that Amir and Hassan are friends and probably are of similar personalities. However, soon after this we learn that Amir is very different. Dynamic verbs are used frequently when Amir is describing things he did as a child: “Pelted, giggling, laughing, and firing”. The use of dynamic verbs suggests to us that Amir was an active child who frequently got into mischievous situations. The idea of a playful character also suggests innocence to us. As we continue to read through this episode of the novel we learn that Amir is authoritative and has power over Hassan. “He wouldn’t deny me” ,”Hassan never denied me.” This gives a strong impression of a master/servant relationship and tells us that despite how it may seem Amir is a definite Pashtun and holds authority over Hassan.
In chapter three we learn of Amir’s desperation for his father’s love and attention. A simple sentence is used which gives us an insight to the relationship. “I heard this story through Rahim Khan”. This shows us the lack of communication between the Baba and Amir and the distance in the relationship as Rahim Khan is having to tell Amir of his father’s work/plans. Another simple sentence used to portray Amir’s emotions is: “I was eight by then”. After describing how long the orphanage had taken to build, the simple sentence highlights how Amir feels that his father has spent a large chunk of his childhood focused on work by separating the place he was at in his life from the part of his father’s life. Sibilance is used when Amir is describing Baba: “Baba refused, and everybody shook their heads in dismay at his obstinate ways”. This sibilance could represent the underlying unhappiness Amir feels when speaking about the way his father acts as the sibilance creates a harsh negative tone for the reader. The theme of jealousy is also shown as an aspect of Amir’s character when referring to Baba and Amir’s craving of his attention. The complex sentence used in chapter three highlights Amir’s hatred of Hassan having Baba’s attention: “Baba was there, watching, and he patted Hassan on the back.” By writing in the structure Hosseini highlights and emphasises that Amir’s Baba was watching Hassan not Amir and after previously describing his ‘failures’ it tells the reader that Amir craves to be successful in his father’s eyes and how the fact that Hassan has gained his praise makes him feel worse; this is because the dynamic verb “watching” is in a separate clause. This complex sentence is followed by a minor sentence: “Even put his arm around his shoulder.” This further expresses to the reader Amir’s jealousy as he recalls small gestures made by Baba as a child, none of which are towards him.
Chapter 7 is the turning point in the plot to ‘The Kite Runner’, this is the chapter where Hassan is attacked by Aseef and the other Pashtun boys. In this chapter we see a different side to Amir’s character and the way he behaves. Hosseini portrays Amir as a selfish character during this episode of the novel; personal pronouns are used predominantly throughout this section. “I” is repeated throughout, by doing this Hosseini separates Amir from everybody else in the situation therefore making all of the actions Amir takes seem selfish and for the good of himself. Despite that its Hassan going through this horrific attack Hosseini writes this account in a way that makes Amir appear as if he is the victim; a semantic field of distress is used in order to do this: “Hurt, had to slay, panting, sweating, and forced myself”. This makes this account of events seem stressful and somewhat painful for Amir however as the reader we know that this is for selfish reasons not because his friend was in danger. “He had the blue kite in his hands.” This simple sentence is written by Hosseini after describing Amir’s ‘escape’ from Hassan’s attack; this instantly tells the reader that all of the emotion and stress felt by Amir during this time was all due to his longing for the kite, not because of Hassan’s horrific experience, again creating a selfish impression of Amir as, at this point, the reader would be sympathising with the character of Hassan.
Chapter 7 is where Amir’s search for redemption begins and the guilt of leaving Hassan and not helping him during the attack follows him throughout the entire novel and is the foundations for the changes within his adult life. Soon after the attack, in chapter 8 we get to see the effects of Amir’s guilt. Hosseini uses pathetic fallacy to mirror Amir’s emotions: “One sluggish, hazy afternoon early that summer.” This symbolises how Amir hoped the gesture he was making this day, asking Hassan to come for a walk, was tainted, ‘hazy’, by the underlying lies and guilt he had placed upon their relationship and how he almost knew it was a pointless action to take as the adjective ‘sluggish’ suggests, symbolically, that there was little effort put into asking Hassan to join him; it gives us the impression that Amir knows that no amount of effort would bring back what they used to share.
Throughout chapters 1-9 of ‘The Kite Runner’ we learn of many aspects of Amir’s character and the reasons behind then. Hosseini, overall, uses a range of lexis choices and syntax to convey the many sides to Amir’s character successfully and in enough depth that we get a good understanding of his personality.