TheKite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
TheKite Runner,covering the history of Afghan from the collapse of a monarchy to themodern days, unfolds the story of two boys in friendship beingbrought up in Kabul. Although the two boys are brought up in the samefamily and sharing a common wet nurse, Hassan and Amir seems to begrowing up in two different worlds: Hassan is the son of Amir’sfather’s servant, while Amir’s father is an outstanding andwealthy man in the society. Throughout the book, their entangledlives and fates reflect the ultimate tragedy of the soviet invasion.This tragedy forced Amir and his family to seek for new life and fatein California. At the back of his mind, Amir feels that he has beenseparated from the past, but the memory of Hassan remains fresh atthe Amir’s mindset. This paper discusses the friendship betweenHassan and Amir and the world that influences their friendship, aswell as themes emanating from the nature of friendship as depicted inTheKite Runner.
Mostsignificantly, friendship is a major theme that iterates between thetwo characters, Hassan and Amir, throughout TheKite Runner.We find that Hassan is a loyal friend to Amir, and this is maintainedthroughout the novel. First, Hassan depicts his friendship when hedefended Amir from Asset insults. For example, “Hassanheld the slingshot pointed directly at Assef’s face”(Hosseini 41). This episode shows how a good friend and brave he wasto Amir. Additionally, Hassan was not intimated by the Assef’sreaction to his actions of defending Amir. This also shows a strongfriendship because Hassan wants to demonstrate to Amir that he isstill there for him even at the times of difficulty.
Equallyimportantly, one can figure out the manner in which Hassan showed hisfriendship when he responded unusually when Amir did throw thepomegranates to him. “…Ihit him with another pomegranate, in the shoulder this time. Thejuice splattered his face. Hit me back”(Hosseini 92).Amir tried to provoke Hassan with no success becauseHassan could do no harm to his friend. The only thing that Hassan didwas to grab a pomegranate and crush it against his own forehead. Thisimplies that Hassan cared so much for Amir because no matter whatAmir did to him he would never revenge back. However, when Hassan wasbeing raped by the bullies from the neighborhood, Amir had anopportunity to save Hassan from such atrocity, but the way Amirresponded affected the manner in which they were living and theystarted adopting different paths of life. This means that Amir didnot care about Hassan and could not treat him as friend. The reasonfor this situation can be attributed to the fact that Hassan’sfather was a servant of Amir’s father and thus, Amir could not feelhimself being a friend to a servant’s son.
Asyears progressed and the two got older and older, Amir struggled tokeep up with the decisions or choices that he made as a young boythat eventually affected his friendship with Hassan. Contrary, Hassancontinued showing loyalty and trust to Amir even after the bully thatHassan underwent, which Amir could have prevented. Hassan still lovedhim as a close friend. Regardless of what Amir does, he still caredfor him even when Amir concealed his own watch in Hassan’s room andcalled him a thief, his loyalty to Amir persisted even more.Astonishingly, Hassan admits that he actually stole Amir’s watcheven if he could not do such a thing to Amir. “Didyou steal Amir’s watch, Hassan?”Hassan replied, “Yes”(Hosseini 105). This portrayed a friendship of the highest order thathe could not defend himself by revealing the truth that wouldjeopardize his friendship with Amir.
WhenHassan passed away, Amir felt guilty about what best he could havedone for him. Furthermore, Amir felt an empty gap that has been leftfor him to fill back. “Thereis a way to be good again”(Hosseini 226). Amir saw it necessary to repay back for all the goodthat Hassan has done for him. This is the time Amir came back intohis senses and figured out that no one could live up to show himloyalty and love that Hassan was giving him. We find Amir standing upfor we regard as right when he showed his commitment of taking backSohrab from General Sahib. He went ahead to explain to the GeneralSahib why Sohrab, the Hassan’s son, should treated with duerespect. “Yousee, General Sahib …you will never again refer to him as ‘aHaraza boy’ in my presence…he has a name…Sohrab”(Hosseini 361). This is good evidence that Amir was committed topaying back the good that was done to him by protecting and caringfor Sohrab. Amir feels that he has a big debt he owes to Hassan thathe has an obligation to settle. The memory of Hassan’s deedsremains fresh at the back of Amir’s mind.
Thethemes that are explored by the nature of their friendship includesbut not restricted to betrayal and redemption, friendship,forgiveness, and love, as well as ethnic tensions and social class.In the theme of betrayal and redemption, Amir felt betrayed by hisfather when he realized Baba betrayed Ali and subsequently, betrayalof Hassan. We find Amir trying to fight his guilt by avoiding it,portraying his laxity towards redeeming himself, and thus his guiltcontinues. Exploring the theme of friendship, we find that Hassan’sactions towards Amir are enough indication that he forgives Amir’sact of betrayal. However, Rahim Khan is the only character thatspeaks poignantly about God’s forgiveness for all transgressions.The theme of love is explicit throughout the novel where we findHassan’s selfless love for Amir, the brotherly love indeed it was.Paternal love is portrayed by the likes of Ali, Baba, Hassan, theGeneral Sahib, and Rahim Khan through their great expectations oftheir children’s well-being. However, Soraya and Amir demonstrateromantic love that influenced Amir’s development of his character.Therefore, theme of love and forgiveness goes hand in hand with eachother.
Inconclusion, Hassan continues to be a good friend, throughout theentire story, to Amir. Hassan is backstabbed and betrayed by Amir,but he was constantly a loyal friend. The fact that he defended Amirwhen Assef insulted them, he does not retaliate when Amir threwpomegranates at him, and admits of crime he did not commit, showsthat he was a true friend to Amir regardless of mistreatment. Therefore, theme of friendship is the main theme in TheKite Runner.Through this theme, other themes such as betrayal, oppression ofethnic minority, and warfare, are demonstrated.
Hosseini,Khaled. TheKite Runner.London: Bloomsbury, 2004. Print.