Top-Rated Free Essay
14 May 2013
T/TH 10:15
Irony of "The Kite Runner" Irony is a literary technique used to show contrast between reality and what appears to be reality. It is usually used to put emphasis on a particular event in a book. In the novel The Kite Runner, written by Khaled Hosseini, irony is used throughout the book to tie together certain events and themes. The story follows a boy named Amir living in Kabul, Afghanistan during the Taliban take over. Amir lives with his wealthy father Baba and his two servants, Hassan and Ali. Even though Hassan is Amir's servant and is of a lower class, the boys are best friends in the beginning of the book. Much of the story is about Amir trying to get his fathers' love and approval. But in the beginning of this book Amir does a couple things opposite of what Baba would have wanted and he sets himself up for a lifetime of guilt. Throughout the book Amir is trying to find a way to get rid of this guilt he has and most of his actions are interlaced with some form of irony. In the beginning of the book Amir is in a kite running tournament and he knows that if he wins this tournament he will gain his father's approval. At the end of the tournament Amir wins, so Hassan goes to run and get his kite for him. Amir goes after Hassan to get the kite and bring it back to his father. When he gets to the alley where Hassan is, he witnesses him being raped by a boy named Assef and several others. Instead of helping Hassan, Amir does nothing and just watches. After watching this event, Amir feels a deep sense of guilt for much of the book. Not only does he feel guilty, but his lack of action is the exact opposite of what his father would have wanted him to do. His father wanted him to stand up for himself and not act cowardly. It is ironic that while he was trying to get his father's approval he did the exact opposite and acted like a coward by not helping Hassan. This is the first point in the book where we see the author use irony. Amir tries throughout the book to redeem himself for this guilt he feels. He only has this guilt though because he was trying to make his father proud. Amir looked up to his father so much and he thought that he was almost perfect in a way. His father would tell him, "When you tell a lie, you steal someone's right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness."(Pg. 18) When his father would tell him these things it made him seem like a good and honest man. It is ironic that Baba would say these things and act like he didn't lie when in fact he was a liar. Amir is brought up believing that Hassan is his servant and nothing more. Little does he know that Baba had slept with Hassan's mother and that Hassan was actually his son too. It is ironic that Baba looks down on liars but is one himself. It is also ironic how Amir and Hassan turn out to be half brothers. Once Amir finds this out later in the book he feels that he needs to go back to Afghanistan to save his brothers son. When he goes back to save Hassan's son, Sohrab, he is put in a situation he had already been in before. Sohrab was being held by Assef, the very man who had raped Hassan when he was a boy. As Sohrab was about to be raped, Amir had to make the choice if he was going to save him or not. The choice was easy for him though because he knew the guilt he would endure if he stood back and did nothing again. When he steps in to fight Assef he ends up getting beat up pretty badly. It would have been worse if Sohrab did not step in and shoot Assef with a slingshot. Even this detail is ironic because Hassan had made a threat to make Assef one eyed with his slingshot; he never got the chance but his son fulfilled that threat. After Amir got beat up he ended up having a scar on his lip, similar to the one Hassan had as a child which is another example of irony. This book has many different examples of irony and many of them tie back into each other. The use of it in this book makes you really analyze the different scenarios and situations going on in the book. The story starts out with Amir saying, "I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975."(Pg.1) Much of the story is following Amir's journey to redeem himself for what happened that day. Luckily in the end Amir was able to redeem himself and start a new guilt free life.

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