Eric Berne a Canadian-born psychiatrist mainly known as the creator of transactional analysis and being the author of Games People Play, once said, “The moment a little boy is concerned with which is a jay and which is a sparrow, he can no longer see the birds or hear them sing. ” What Berne stated was that when you see life in your own perspective but are once given the reality of it you no longer will receive that chance again. The novel, The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini reveals a story about discrimination and acceptance in the life of a Pashtun-Hazara friendship.
Amir, who is a rich Pashtun, and Hassan, a Hazara, grew up together like brothers but always had the boundary of discrimination and tradition that Amir couldn’t seem to disregard like his own father had. Dealing with the life of being a Hazara can be deadly living in Afghanistan and for Amir to accept Hassan as a friend seemed unreal. Holding him back to protect his own friend over himself was never his own intentions, which lead him to live years in guilt.
The conflict between the discrimination against Hazaras and Pashtuns is that Pashtuns believe that Hazaras are not real Afghans and therefore cannot be accepted thus leading many Pashtuns, such as Amir, to follow traditions that which he choose to ignore. Amir struggled throughout the novel to accept Hassan as a Hazara and tried every possible way to remove Hassan from his life. In Amir’s own eyes he did love Hassan like a brother but because of his jealousy towards Hassan he seemed threatened because Amir’s own father seemed to favor Hassan more.
Although Amir lied and set Hassan up to get in trouble so he would no longer be a part of his life he consistently stated to himself, “There is a way to be good again” (2). Due to his duties as a Pashtun, Amir was told to believe that Hazaras are worthless in life. At first Amir meant for “good” to be as if Hazaras and Pashtuns shouldn’t be friends. Not having such a dramatic view towards Hazaras he still seemed to loathe them, although he told himself this towards the end of the novel again it was a way for him to show how he could redeem himself.
Although Amir was successful in no longer having Hassan in his life and as much as he tried to follow his traditions as a Pashtun, he dwelled with guilt and yearned for redemption. By seeing Hazaras are nothing but sins, Amir learned the true value of acceptance and that wanting them dead would not settle his hatred towards Hassan. Loyal Miles stated that, “Amir’s cultural identity relies on the context of a traditional past compared against the realities of ethnic divisions and a war-fractured present. ” Miles declares that Amir’s capability to accept Hassan is clouded by the reality of what is real.
Amir’s “cultural identity” demands duty and tradition but his “realities of ethnic divisions”, such as him being friends with a Hazara and allowing himself to frame his best friend by saying Hassan stole his watch, speaks otherwise allowing him to realize the importance of redeeming himself. Rahim Khan, Amir’s father’s best friend, had once told Amir a story about a romance he had with a Hazara girl and how his family looked down upon him because of his decision to love someone who they pity upon. Khan said to Amir that, “In the end, the world always wins.
That’s just the way of things. ” (99). From what Khan said in the novel his mother fainted, his father spit on him and his sister threw water at him to make sure he was actually telling the truth about his love for a Hazara. Khan could sense that his choice in life was not acknowledged and that “the world always wins” was true. Khan used the word “world” to describe how the Pashtuns have their own lifestyle and rules where trying to break and change traditions, such as having a romance with a Hazara, was not something that would be accepted.
In the world of Pashtuns the only contact you have with a Hazara is master-slave, to be friends let alone fall in love with one is declared wrong in their world. Thus allowing the worlds decision overpowering your own. When we first met Khan, we assumed he was similar to Baba, Amir’s father, who accepted the Hazaras. Our assumptions though didn’t think to know that Khan had a relationship with a Hazara slave and he had to follow duty as a Pashtun and to end their love affair.
While discussing his past problem to Amir Khan told him that “You don’t order someone to polish your shoes one day and call them ‘sister’ the next”. Thus connecting to the power of “the world” and the traditions you face as a Pashtun. Harold Bloom stated, “Rahim tells Amir the world is very strong and always wins but that, nonetheless, the matter probably worked out for the best. ” By agreeing that Khan believes that breaking up with his Hazara girlfriend would have worked out for the best shows that most Pashtun follow what their family traditions and life values demand from them.
After years of guilt and grief and learning of the truth about Hassan being his half -brother, Amir’s acceptance rates towards the Hazaras and the reality of his lifelong problems soon came to his realization of what truly mattered. While waiting to find out news about his nephew Sohrab, Hassan’s son, Amir began to pray, “There will be no floating away. There will be no other reality tonight. ” (345). By declaring that there be “no other reality tonight” we relate back to what Eric Berne stated about no longer seeing the birds or hearing them sing because this is where Amir’s reality had finally set in.
He now has learned that without Hassan it would have been a life changing experience. Knowing the reality of it all makes him acknowledge what he has got now that Hassan is dead. For Amir to have accepted Hassan at an earlier stage in his life instead of trying to remove he wouldn’t have learned the true meaning of redemption of acceptance. Pashtuns mainly choose their family virtues not their own personal views because they are aware of the degrading consequences. Amir may have learned too late for Hassan but realized that it was his time to make things right with Sohrab to save him from slavery.
Meghan O’Rourke stated that Amir had “His hands are already stained with Hassan’s blood and that they cannot be stained with the blood of his son as well. ” Amir left behind Hassan when he came to America, thus leading to Hassan death in the future. At the time not caring about what would happened to anyone but himself, Amir could have cared less let alone the fact that he never he knew Hassan had died until later on. After fighting for Sohrab’s survival Amir learned to take him in and care for him for who he is and what he means to him, not what his cultural background is.
Relieving Sohrab from child labor and the brutal lifestyle of a Hazara, he learned to remove his selfish being from himself. The conflict between the discrimination against Hazaras and Pashtuns is that Pashtuns believe that Hazaras are not real Afghans therefore cannot be accepted thus leading to the slavery, beatings and fatal causes towards Hazaras. Acceptance is key in the life of Amir, without learning to relieve himself from his traditions his life would have been forever filled with guilt.
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