Friendship in the Kite Runner Essay
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The line between a friend and an enemy is thinner than one can ever imagine. In the words of Henry David Thoreau, "True friendship is never serene" (ThinkExist.com). The job of a friend is so much more than a companion, to pass the time with. They help us shape our life, and they're responsible to be that little voice in our ear, to help us analyze our actions and views. Through Amir's relationships, The Kite Runner shows the true role of a friend to point and guide us even when we don't agree; total devotion can ruin not only a friendship, but a life. In Hossini's novel, there are plenty of examples of a true friendship, which isn't afraid to criticize and be truthful. The simplest is Amir's wife, Soraya. While some would say her…show more content…
He sniggers at his car sickness, and rather rudely uproots his childhood memories by telling him "You've always been a tourist [in Afghanistan], you just didn't know it" (Hosseini 592). These realizations turn out to be one of the quickest cathartic realizations for Amir, as he realizes the true nature of his country. Farid becomes friends with Amir as he learns his true purpose for being in Afghanistan, and his friendship is extremely useful to Amir. It isn't the happiest, and it doesn’t last very long, but it helps him find Sohrab, and more importantly, find himself. Farid is completely truthful with Amir, to the point of being blunt, and probably saves Amir's life many times. Saying farewell, Amir tells him "I didn't know how to say thank you... You've done so much for me" (Hosseini 792). Amir realizes that their friendship, though rocky, was true and did so much good in both their lives. Perhaps the longest best example of a true friend throughout the novel is Amir's godfather, Rahim Kahn. Even before his true relationship with Amir, he is Baba's greatest friend. Even when it means standing up to Baba, he points him in the right direction many times. After hearing a particularly vehement rant about Amir, he chides Baba that " Children aren't coloring books. You don't get to fill them with your favorite colors... Sometimes you are the most self-centered man I know" (Hosseini 98). Rahim has the wisdom to speak up against Baba, who he considers his best
The Search For Redemption
Amir’s quest to redeem himself makes up the heart of the novel. Early on, Amir strives to redeem himself in Baba’s eyes, primarily because his mother died giving birth to him, and he feels responsible. To redeem himself to Baba, Amir thinks he must win the kite-tournament and bring Baba the losing kite, both of which are inciting incidents that set the rest of the novel in motion. The more substantial part of Amir’s search for redemption, however, stems from his guilt regarding Hassan. That guilt drives the climactic events of the story, including Amir’s journey to Kabul to find Sohrab and his confrontation with Assef. The moral standard Amir must meet to earn his redemption is set early in the book, when Baba says that a boy who doesn’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything. As a boy, Amir fails to stand up for himself. As an adult, he can only redeem himself by proving he has the courage to stand up for what is right.
The Love and Tension Between Fathers and Sons
Amir has a very complex relationship with Baba, and as much as Amir loves Baba, he rarely feels Baba fully loves him back. Amir’s desire to win Baba’s love consequently motivates him not to stop Hassan’s rape. Baba has his own difficulty connecting with Amir. He feels guilty treating Amir well when he can’t acknowledge Hassan as his son. As a result, he is hard on Amir, and he can only show his love for Hassan indirectly, by bringing Hassan along when he takes Amir out, for instance, or paying for Hassan’s lip surgery. In contrast with this, the most loving relationship between father and son we see is that of Hassan and Sohrab. Hassan, however, is killed, and toward the end of the novel we watch Amir trying to become a substitute father to Sohrab. Their relationship experiences its own strains as Sohrab, who is recovering from the loss of his parents and the abuse he suffered, has trouble opening up to Amir.
The Intersection of Political Events and Private Lives
The major events of the novel, while framed in the context of Amir’s life, follow Afghanistan’s transitions as well. In Amir’s recollections of his childhood, we see the calm state of Kabul during the monarchy, the founding of the republic, and then watch as the Soviet invasion and infighting between rival Afghan groups ruin the country. These events have a hand in dictating the novel’s plot and have significant effects on the lives of the characters involved. The establishment of the republic gives Assef an opportunity to harass Amir, simply because Assef’s father knows the new president. Later, Kabul’s destruction forces Baba and Amir to flee to California. When the Taliban take over after that, they murder Hassan and even give Assef a position that lets him indulge his sadism and sexual urges without repercussions. Both of these events factor into Amir’s mission to save Sohrab and his redemption by confronting Assef, subtly implying that Afghanistan will similarly have its own redemption one day.
The Persistence of the Past
All the characters in the novel feel the influence of the past, but none so much as Amir and Sohrab. In Sohrab’s case, his past has been so traumatizing that it affects all his behavior. The prolonged physical and sexual abuse he endured makes him flinch anytime Amir touches him. He also fears the abandonment he experienced when his parents died so much that he attempts suicide when Amir says he may have to go back to an orphanage. For Amir, the past is always with him, from the book’s first sentence, when he says he became what he is today at the age of twelve, to its final sentence. That’s because Amir defines himself by his past. His feelings of guilt for his past actions continue to motivate him. Amir even feels responsible for the Taliban murdering Hassan because he thinks he set in motion the events that led to Hassan’s death when when he pushed Hassan and Ali out of Baba’s house. As he says on the book’s first page, the past can never be buried.
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