The hero’s journey is an aspect that’s found in many books and even movies. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is a very famous book read by many English classes based on a hero’s journey. The characters in this book struggle to find out what their journey is, especially the main character Amir. Refusal of the call means the hero attempts to refuse the adventure because he is afraid. Amir holds back from doing a lot in the book because he is afraid of the outcome that comes along with it. Even though Amir refuses the call he later accepts and winds up doing good deeds; however, I still don’t believe he’s the hero because he doesn’t protect Hassan; he frames Hassan because he feels guilty about not protecting him when he should have, and he lets class and race get in the way of their friendship. Refusal of the call plays a big role in The Kite Runner because most of the characters refuse to do something. Baba refuses to get treatment for his cancer; Amir at first refuses to go back to Kabul; and Hassan refuses to stay in Kabul. In hero’s journey tales, the hero feels unsure and afraid of the adventure ahead of them, which is why they refuse the call.
Rahim Kahn is the one who tries to get Amir to accept the biggest call of his life by telling him “there’s a way to be good again”(192) if he goe back to Kabul. After awhile, Amir finally put his fear aside and heads back to Kabul. Even though Amir eventually accepts the call and has done some good deeds throughout the book, he is not a full on hero. The good deed that Amir has done was go back to Kabul to adopt Hassan’s son Sohrab because Hassan and his wife have been murdered. Amir goes to the Taliban who has Sohrab and tries to get them to give him Sohrab. The Taliban in the room was giving Amir a really hard time about getting to Sohrab and kept asking Amir questions. Amir finally figured out who the Taliban really was. Assef wouldn’t let Amir take Sohrab due to do “unfinished business”.
Assef then turns the music up really loud and starts beating up Amir while Sohrab just stood and watched. Sohrab told Assef to stop hurting Amir but he didn’t. Sohrab then shot Assef in the eye with his slingshot and when Assef fell to the floor, Amir and Sohrab escaped to freedom (286-292). This is an example of a good deed because at first, Amir refused to go back to Kabul to save Sohrab but then finally realizes that Hassan would of done it for him, so he ended up leaving his family in America to save Sohrab for Hassan. The first time Amir refuses the call is when Amir wins The Kite Runner tournament for the first time with Hassan’s help. After Amir cuts the other persons kite, Hassan goes to chase the blue kite down for Amir. Amir exclaims that Hassan doesn’t need to do that for him and as Hassan is running for the kite, he shouts “for you a thousand times over” and proceeds to get the kite (67).
Amir goes to look for Hassan and finds Hassan talking to the bully Assef and his friends but what Amir didn’t know was the worst was about to happen. Since Hassan refused to give Assef the blue kite because it was Amir’s, Assef said, “I’ve changed my mind, I’m letting you keep the kite, Hazara. I’ll let you keep it so it will always remind you of what I’m about to do”(73). Assef and his friends quickly raped Hassan and then run off. Amir had to watch the whole thing. This is an example of refusing the call because Amir refused to stand up for Hassan and say something because he was scared they’d do the same thing to him and that doesn’t make Amir a hero. The second time Amir refuses the call is when Amir did nothing to protect Hassan as he watched Assef and his friend’s rape him. Amir’s cowardliness also gets in the way, so he ends up framing Hassan.
Amir feels so guilty and can’t take the guilt anymore to where he waits for Hassan and his dad Ali to leave the house and he frames Hassan by putting the watch that Baba gave him and the money he got for his birthday under Hassan mattress that way Baba would ask them to leave so Amir didn’t have to deal with the guilt anymore. What Amir was least expecting happened; Baba confronted Hassan and Ali about stealing the watch and money. Baba came right out and said, “Did you steal that money? Did you steal Amir’s watch, Hassan?”(105). Hassan replies saying, “yes”(105). Amir was not expecting Hassan to actually say yes so he was very shocked when Hassan said yes. Since Baba said the only sin was theft, Amir thought that Baba would surely dismiss them. Baba’s response shocks everyone. Baba says, “I forgive you”(105).
Amir was so shocked because Baba said the worst sin to do was theft. Ali then said that him and Hassan are leaving and couldn’t stay here any longer because of what happened. Baba was crying hysterically begging them not to go. Amir refused the call of not stepping up and protecting Hassan and felt so guilty he framed him to get them to leave. In the end everything worked out in Amir’s favor and they left Kabul, which doesn’t make Amir a hero, it makes him a coward. Amir is not a full on hero because he refuses to call Hassan his friend due to race, class issues and because Hassan was Amir’s servant. Amir at first didn’t even consider him and Hassan as “friends”. “I never thought of Hassan and me as friends either”(25). Later throughout the book Amir starts to realize that Hassan is more than just his servant. Hassan has always called Amir his friend and brother but Amir could never come out and say it back.
Once Amir finally realized that Hassan was actually his best friend and even brother, Amir regrets everything once Hassan died because he couldn’t go back and change it. Amir was considered high class and Hassan was a Hazara, which was name for a lower class afghan, so their class differences made it hard for Amir to call Hassan his friend because he was scared of what others would think of him. Because others new Hassan as Amir’s servant, it also made it hard for Amir to tell people that Hassan and him were actually friends. This is an example of refusing the call because Amir had always wanted to call Hassan his friend, but was always scared of what others would think because Hassan was a Hazara and Amir’s servant. Because Amir was so scared of what others thought, that doesn’t make him a hero.
In conclusion, I would like to say that through the hero’s journey aspect of refusal of the call, even though Amir has done some good deeds, like go back to Kabul to save and adopt Sohrab, he still wasn’t a true hero because he doesn’t protect Hassan from getting raped and after watching it happen, he frames Hassan because he feels so guilty about not doing anything to protect him when he should have, and he lets class and race issues get in the way of their friendship. Hosseini portrays Amir in The Kite Runner by making him go through a lot of tough obstacles throughout the book especially when he was younger and having to make life-changing decisions.
Amir refused to face most of the obstacles he was given in the book, but as he grew up, he accepted the fact that he needed to overcome his fear and complete those obstacles. When we’re younger we get scared to do certain things, but as we get older we realize that we need to do the things that scare us in order to become the hero. Though one might refuse the call because of fear, as you grow older you end up accepting the fact that you need to face the call and go through with whatever obstacle is put in your pathway just like Amir did when he had to face going to save Sohrab. Whether you face your obstacles or not, that is what makes you a true hero.
Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. New York: Riverhead, 2003. Print.
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