Many believe that there is a part of good and a part of evil in each of us. Hosseini conveys in his novel “the kite runner” that some people have a natural tendency to express their bad side. Assef, one of Hosseini’s charachter symbolizes those people. He carries a kind of madness, and is violent. Hosseini implies that being given a target for hate, and a morality for their actions, in this case religion, those people can become powerful. Assef is an example of how it is possible to reach power and abuse of it by avoiding to deal with justice as he joins a groups of terrorists. He evolves from a child who uses violence to make himself feared, and rule his neighborhood, to a Talibans who can freely and honorably commit crimes in the name of God.
This author introduces Assef to the reader when he firsts encounters Amir. Those are Amir’s thoughts at the view of Assef “Assef crossed his thick arms on his chest, a savage sort of grin on his lips. Not for the first time, it occurred to me that Assef might not be entirely sane.” The reader then directly discovers, from this simple description of Assef’s appearance the type of character he is. He is just passively crossing his arms, but still gives an overall image of a strong, savage, not entirely sane person. The insanity recurs, it is often visible in Assef’s eyes, and the grin is now linked to violence” I will never forget how Assef’s blue eyes glinted with a light not entirely sane and how he grinned, how he grinned, as he pummeled that poor kid unconscious” Amir was marked by the time he saw Assef beating up a little kid. Assef is a bully that takes pleasure in hurting other kids. At this point, he is a child and violence is like a game that let’s him express his madness.
Other kids are scared by his attitude, no one dears to contradict him. This is one of Amir’s thought about one of Assef’ “friend”, right before the rape of Hassan. “He wasn’t afraid of Hassan, not really. He was afraid because he had no idea what Assef had in mind” Assef is not even understood by his followers, no one knows what’s in his mind. They apprehend his ideas, and fear them which gives an idea of how deranged he is. In fact Hassan refuses to give the kite to Assef, and Assef is then about to rape him when he declares: “I’ll let you keep the kite Hazara. I’ll let you keep it so it will always remind you of what i’m about to do” This is a significant quote. Assef shows his cruelty by intending to hurt deeply, and leave a reminder of the pain. It also foreshadows all the horrors he is going to cause because his madness his going to last.
Assef’ is seen differently by other adults, those don’t fear him, because his real personality is hidden from them. Hosseini uses the parents as a symbol for control, and justice. Assef therefore bypasses justice, he is still controlled as he has to hide his madness. “On the surface, he was the embodiment of every parent’s dream, a strong, tall, well-dressed and well-mannered boy with talent and striking looks, not to mention to wit joke with an adult. But to me, his eyes betrayed him. When i looked into them, the facade faltered, revealed a glimpse of the madness hiding behind them.” The author personificaties Assef’s eyes who “betrayed” him by revealing his madness. The Betrayal has a religious connotation, to the evil.
As if he was hiding behind the appearance of an attractive boy. The author enlarge Assef’s dangerousness. In contrast with the other parents, his genitors know his real nature and in fact are frightened. “…I wondered if maybe, on some level, their son frightened them.” They should be giving him a education to make him become good, instead they are powerless. He in fact has the power over them. At Amir’s birthday party, he comes with them “He led them toward us, like he had brought them here. Like he was the parent, and they his children.” His leadership is broadened to his genitors who should be superior. This comparison, shows that his parent’s don’t have authority or control over him. but it is the first sign that Assef will be out of control.
Assef went to prison at some point. There, he was mistreated in the same way as he used to mistreat others. He was put in a position of powerlessness “What could i do?” a guard came to violently persecute him, and as he kicked him. “He kicked me on the left kidney and the stoned passed. Just like that! Oh, the relief!” But Assef, who is a mad character, feels this relief as a redemption, and connects it to God, while it in fact could have been a biological reaction. ” … Suddenly i knew that had been a message from God: He was on My side. He wanted me to live for a reason.”
This miracle, leads Assef to pretend that he has been granted a mission. “I’ve been on a mission since.” This mission could also have made him turned into a better man but instead it only made him madder. It gives him a sudden excuse and claims to be doing great acts, even though they are harmful to others. He is therefore truly satisfied with the horrors he accomplishes, because now he has a reason to do them. “… stood in a roomful of targets, let the bullets fly, free of guilt and remorse, knowing you are virtuous, good, and decent. Knowing you’re doing God’s work.” He even uses the words virtuous, implying that his act have a morality.
“There are bad people in this world, and sometimes bad people stay bad. Sometimes you have to stand up to them.” Amir says this as he is thanking Sohrab for stopping Assef. Assef was in fact stopped by a little kid with his slingshot. The author conveys that sometimes, justice can easily stop evilness. That evil people shouldn’t be supported by religion.
Courtney from Study Moose
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