The Kite Runner
The Kite Runner
The Kite Runner is a book that was written by Khaled Hosseini from a young boy’s perspective named Amir who lived with his father, Baba, and two Hazaras named Ali and Hassan in Kabul, Afghanistan. They lived here during the Russian War and had escaped to America to find peace and happiness. We learn about Amir’s childhood struggles and his efforts to be what his father wanted him to be and to be a good friend like Hassan is to him. Amir knows that Hassan is better than what he deserves; he knows he is guilty through his secrets and his selfishness.
Materialistically, Amir and his father had a good life and treated Ali and Hassan quite well, but we discover that there is a reason for the good treatment that they receive from mainly Baba. Amir witnesses a very tragic experience that Hassan is put through with Assef and he does not take a stand. Amir is cowardice unlike Hassan. Although it may seem that Amir is confused with what he should do about what he has done and the secrets that he hides, his final decision will affect the rest of his life. He runs from his past escaping to America in hopes that his guilt will finally be freed.
Amir and Hassan are best friends, technically brothers. They have grown up together and spend every day with each other running around playing games and telling as many stories as their hearts desire. They both had the same enemy though. Their enemy was Assef. He was a kid right around their age. Assef always made fun of Hassan for being a Hazara and how he is of a low class. Hassan was such an innocent kid, though he never took a stand against Assef and neither did Amir. The moment that Amir was threatened by Assef, Hassan stood up against him and threatened him with his sling-shot.
Amir then realizes that Hassan truly cares and that he has been selfish when it comes to Hassan. Hassan is everything that Amir is not and he would do anything to please Amir. “You should know something about me, Hazara, I’m a very patient person. This doesn’t end today, believe me” (Hosseini 42). His revenge can cause a terrible remembrance and a dishonest lie. It was not too long after that Assef had found his revenge against Hassan. One of the most prestigious events in Afghanistan is the annual kite-fighting contest. This was a favorite pastime of Hassan and Amir.
Amir would fly the kite and Hassan would chase the kites that he cut in the event and give them to Amir as trophies. There was one specific event that Amir favored the most; this was the event that took place in his neighborhood right in front of his house. “I kept stealing glances at Baba sitting with Rahim Khan on the roof, wondered what he was thinking. Was he cheering for me? Or did a part of him enjoy watching me fail? That was the thing about kite flying: Your mind drifted with the kite” (Hosseini 63). Amir’s biggest worry was impressing Baba.
According to Amir, Baba was all about winning. Winning was Baba’s thing and Amir felt that if he could win this kite-flying competition, maybe Baba would be finally proud of him and give Amir the attention that he craves. In the last part of the competition, Amir says: All I saw was the blue kite. All I smelled was victory. Salvation. Redemption. If Baba was wrong and there was a God like they said in school, then He’d let me win… But this was my one chance to become someone who was looked at, not seen, listened to, not heard (Hosseini 65).
He sends Hassan after the blue kite in hopes that this last kite of his victory would be given to his father and this would be the one thing for which Baba would be proud of him. This kite resembles Amir’s redemption with his father. When Hassan was chasing down the kite, he was caught in an alley by Assef. Amir had not seen Hassan come back for a while so Amir went looking for him. He found Hassan in the alley, but he didn’t let Hassan know he was there; he stayed hidden. “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 to you” (Hosseini 73).
Amir had a choice: he could either stand up for Hassan or run like a coward. He chose the latter. This decision changed his life forever as he knew it. Amir began to feel the guilt as soon as Hassan walked through the front door of the house. He was afraid that maybe Hassan had seen him amongst the shadows; this he would never know. Amir tries to go on about normally, but he notices that Hassan is not acting as he did normally. Hassan has a new grim personality and Amir feels even more guilt by the day. In Amir’s mind, the only way to rid himself of guilt is to rid himself of the source: Hassan.
Amir devised a plan that would force Baba to make Hassan leave. The easy way out was to frame Hassan for stealing his birthday gifts of money and a very expensive watch. “Then I took a couple of envelopes of cash from the pile of gifts and my watch, and tiptoed out… I lifted Hassan’s mattress and planted my new watch and a handful of Afghani bills under it” (Hosseini 104). This was what got Hassan and Ali out of the house. Baba begged and begged for Ali and Hassan to stay, but Hassan knew he was being framed by Amir and he knew that Amir wanted him out of the house so he was doing as Amir had wanted; just like he has done for all of his life.
Once Hassan and Ali pulled out of the drive, it was the end. Amir lived every day from then in guilt and regret. It was only about two years before Baba and Amir had to escape from Afghanistan and get to the Americas for freedom from the war. When Amir moved to America, he and his father began to buy junk and sell at flea markets for money. While being here, Baba sees one of his colleagues from Afghanistan who happens to have a daughter of Amir’s age. Amir begins to attempt to catch her, Soraya’s, attention since he thinks of her as a beauty and wants to get to know her a bit.
He goes to her booth and talks to her about books and always avoids being there when her father is in the booth. This friendship eventually begins to sprout into a marriage. Baba asks General Taheri, Soraya’s father, if it is okay with him if she marries Amir and the General accepted. They have a traditional Afghanistanian marriage and begin to live with each other and Baba. At this point, Baba is in terrible condition. He is getting smaller and weaker every day. Soraya suggested to stay living with him and to take care of him for as long as possible.
After Baba loses his grip on life, Soraya and Amir move out and find a decent home for themselves to finally start anew. In this new home, Soraya and Amir are constantly trying and trying for a baby. Soraya’s reproductive system fails and the depressive mood of their life begins to set in. Life becomes a dreadful thing and soon a change will come for them both. One day while at home, Amir gets a call from Rahim Khan telling him that he needs to come to Afghanistan because he is sick and he wants Amir to get his redemption. He tells him that there is a way for him to be good again.
He goes to Pakistan and meets up with Rahim and everything seems to be rundown and soldiers are everywhere. Rahim tells the whole story to Amir about why Baba never wanted Ali and Hassan to leave. It was because Amir and Hassan had the same mother. Amir’s mother is a Hazara. Amir figures this out from the letter that Rahim gives to him and discovers that Hassan had a child. Soon after, Rahim goes to find Hassan and attempts to get Hassan and his wife to go back to Baba’s house where it would be safer for them but they refuse.
After Rahim stays the night, the next morning Hassan changes his mind and comes with Rahim but out of respect, he and his wife live in the hut in the backyard. It is while they are here that Hassan and his wife have a child and name him Sohrab. Rahim gives Amir and envelope with a letter in it and a picture of Hassan with Sohrab and in this letter, Rahim tells Amir that there is an orphanage in Afghanistan owned by Americans that have already accepted Sohrab; Amir has no idea that this is a lie.
Amir goes on a hunt for Sohrab and goes through orphanage after orphanage with the help of Rahim and almost gives up. Amir finally finds him in an orphanage that is run by his worst nightmare Assef. He would not let Amir have Sohrab for anything but a fight. He refers to the time when Assef said that he would get him back but he never did. This was Assef’s payback to Amir. Assef claims that they must fight to the death. Assef claims to his guards to wait outside and to for absolutely no reason to open the door whether they feel urged to or not. Sohrab was to remain in the room to await for the almighty winner.
While Amir and Assef were fighting, Sohrab realized that Amir was struggling and he remembered that his father taught him how to use a slingshot. To the best of his ability, Sohrab aims right for Assef’s eye and shot him with a stone. Amir is the clear winner and relives Sohrab of ever having to see Assef’s face again. Amir and Sohrab walk out of the orphanage and Rahim right away gets out of the car and goes to help Amir to the car because of how damaged he is. Amir is rushed to the hospital and it is here that Amir discovers that Rahim lied about the orphanage in Afghanistan. Soon after this discovery, he talks to Soraya about it.
They decided that this would be an amazing opportunity to finally have the family that they both crave. Amir goes through months of struggling with the government and federal unions to be able to take Sohrab to America to live. He gets a lawyer and is instructed to technically wait it out. He finally gets Sohrab to America, though. When Sohrab is brought to America, it is through Sohrab that he finds his redemption of the guilt he had built up for backstabbing Hassan. He is going to give Sohrab a good life and treat him well for he has hurt his own and is trying to make good out of a bad situation.