When one makes the transition from child to adult, they must make the decision to either adopt the traits they have developed, or to see fault and change the problems before the time to do so has past. It takes strength to use the positive traits one possesses, and it takes even more strength to assess the negative traits and emancipate the positive ones. Alan Alda (American actor) once said that “You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful.
What you’ll discover is yourself. ” Before death, a person needs to break their boundaries, and find the security of knowing their identity, otherwise one could go through an entire life, learning all they could about life; but forgetting all about their self. Another key factor influencing our personality is our environment. A society constantly changing for the worse is no place for a person to grow or reside. In Khaled Hosseini’s “the Kite Runner”, Afghanistan is a place of ethnic differentiation, civil war and darkness.
Amir, Baba, and Hassan’s identities, are all examples of different ways a person’s personality and conscience could develop in this oppressive time in Afghanistan’s history. Amir finds peace in who he is through great mental anguish and dangerous decisions, Baba’s weak traits are discovered, and Hassan manages to preserve his Good Samaritan lifestyle whilst fighting off the turmoil’s of being a Hazara boy. The Kite Runner focuses mainly on the themes of identity and self-actualization. Amir from the beginning of the novel was never perfect in the eyes of his father, Baba.
During Rahim Khans visit early in the story, Amir overhears Baba speaking about how Amir is weak and disappointing, that “a boy who cannot stand up for himself becomes a man who cannot stand up for anything. ”(24) This is an important quote, because it first introduces Amir’s most dominant trait through his childhood, his cowardice. Baba’s reluctance to praise Amir stems from Baba’s disbelief in his courage. Amir quite often was defended by Hassan in times of trouble, whether the cause was Assef or not. Then when it was Hassan who was in need, Amir was over shrouded by his fear.
Amir had felt guilt until his arrival in Pakistan. ““That was a long time ago, but it’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years. ” (1) Amir made the decision to save Sohrab from the Taliban (Assef) was the moment in his life, where he finally felt at peace. Saving Sohrab was his way of gaining up the courage to save Hassan. After the rescue of Sohrab, Amir’s conscience had cleared and he could finally live his life.
Amir’s passion for literature was another example of his self-actualization. He would always read to Hassan, due to Hassan’s illiteracy. Amir wished in the future to pursue a degree in English, but this idea was hastily dismissed by Baba and Amir began growing to a man with even less confidence. Amir pondered the thoughts of his father resenting him, which at a young age is a terrible burden for him to hold. The evidence of this hate was displayed in Amir’s face, and as a young child, he is not intelligent enough to realize his father’s love, and it bothered him greatly.
Rahim Khan seemed to be the only adult in Amir’s life who supported the idea of his future in literature. He would read, and show great interest in Amir’s story’s; as well as instill hope in Amir with positive feedback. Rahim Khan was the spark that ignited the ever burning flame of Amir’s literary passion. To the reader early on, Baba is the epitome of a man. He is introduced as a man that will stand up for his loved ones, whether it’s a life or death situation. He speaks of Amir like he has no courage whatsoever, which gives the reader some idea of how much Baba values doing the right thing.
When Baba and Amir flee Kabul, Baba risks his life to prevent the rape of a woman he doesn’t even know. This drastic act of courage and compassion for his fellow man is inspiring and sets the moral bar for Baba very high. When Amir arrives in Pakistan, he is distraught at the news he hears from Rahim Khan regarding Hassan being his half-brother and Baba’s son. Amir now knows, that the pain he felt from Baba’s resentment was purely a byproduct of the pain Baba feels about Hassan. Baba’s character takes a moral blow in the view of the reader, and to many it never recovers.
After hearing of the news, Amir’s betrayal of Hassan is now very reminiscent of his father’s; showing more similarity between them than known before. Amir now knows, Baba’s resentment, was him showing he is too weak to be known as the man who slept with a Hazara. Baba tells Amir in chapter 3 that “there is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft. ”(19) it’s ironic that Baba says this because he stole Ali’s honor, Amir’s right to a brother, and Hassan’s identity.
While all the drastic self-realization of the characters was taking place, Hassan, managed to keep his same and ideal identity. Hassan was righteous and strong, the ideal symbol of the Muslim Religion and every other; to be pure and good. Amir’s resentment towards Hassan after his rape by Assef did not faze Hassan a bit. Hassan was almost too pure to feel any remorse towards Amir, they grew up together, and Amir was his best friend. Even after Amir had lied to Baba to expel Ali and Hassan from their home, Hassan felt no different towards them.
He cared for their home while they resided in America; he even stayed in his and Ali’s same hut rather than the house to show respect. His loyalties to Amir and Baba stayed faithful until his death in the very home that he was practically raised in. He said he was caring for it for a friend, and the Taliban called him a liar like all Hazara’s, and killed him in the streets, as well as his wife. Amir might have made different choices in his life had he not plotted to make Hassan and Ali leave, but amidst the cowardice shown by both Amir and Baba, appeared a boy with the morals of an angel.
No one can live life without realizing their true identity, and as the story ends; the characters take with them new traits, good or bad. Amir realizes his purpose in life, and he saved a life in the process of discovery of his own identity. Baba is reviled to be similar to a great dam with a crack, viewed as great and powerful, but in turn; the final view of him is weaker than the original opinion of the reader. Hassan through turmoil, conflict, and resentment, stayed true to himself and stayed loyal till his death. One could learn all there is to know, but without knowing their true identity, it is a life not lived.
Courtney from Study Moose
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