2002 AP Prompt

August 7, 2008
When a child witnesses a traumatizing event at a young age, it causes fear that can last a lifetime. Such a fear is bound to spill over into everyday life and cause the witness to change completely until the fear is confronted. Fear can even blur the boarder between good and evil. Amir grows up in Afghanistan during a time where things are almost perfect in the country. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini tells the story of Amir growing up and trying to realign his moral compass. His mother died from complications during his birth, leaving him in the care of his father and the two family servants, Hassan and Ali. Hassan and Amir grew very close, even through the turbulent Afghani revolution, the two could rarely be found apart. Amir’s decisions make him a very morally ambiguous character. The author makes him relatable, but does not align him with any established moral code.

During Amir’s childhood, he feels as if he is neglected by his father. The only true father-figure is Rahim, his father’s close friend. Amir’s father, Baba, is a rich business man who seems to find time for everything but his son. Amir believes if he wins the annual Afghani Kite Cutting Tournament, he will finally make his father proud , get the attention he has always desired and “Show him that once and for all that his son was worthy” (Hosseini 56). Amir's innocent desire, his father's affection, made him an emotionally relatable character. The author’s choice to depict the story through Amir’s eyes makes him a much more likeable character to the reader. It is hard to determine if Amir is a morally good character, because he is never truly accepting of himself. Baba tells Amir there is only one sin, and that is theft, “When you kill a man, you steal a life . . . You steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness . . .” (Hosseini 18). Amir feels that his father views him as a thief, that he owed his father for stealing his mother’s life “I always felt like Baba hated me a little. And why not? I had killed his beloved wife, his beautiful princess, hadn’t I?” (Hosseini 19). Amir’s mother died during childbirth and he felt like his father resented him because of it. As Amir grows older, he becomes more of an unlikable character. Baba’s lifelong servant and friend, Ali, and his son Hassan, are forced to move out because life with Amir is too impossible for them.

When the boys were young, Amir witnessed Hassan being raped by Assef, another neighborhood boy. Hassan was chasing the final kite Amir had cut. Ironically; the strongest character of the novel had to pay for the weakest characters’, cowardice. Amir was too afraid to say anything, so he never did.
I ran because I was a coward. I was afraid of Assef and what he would do to me. I was afraid of getting hurt. That is what I told myself as I turned my back to the alley, to Hassan . . . the real reason I was running, was that Assef was right: Nothing was free in this world. Maybe Hassan was the price I had to pay . . . He was just a Hazara, wasn’t he? (Hosseini 77).

Amir referring to Hassan as “just a Hazara” shows his weakness and disrespect for someone that has looked up to him his whole life. It appears that Amir takes advantage of Hassan; while Hassan did not do anything except try to make Amir happy and be friends with him. Hassan is willing to do anything for Amir, even lie. “But there was something fascinating—albeit in a sick way—about teasing Hassan” (Hosseini 54). Amir’s innocence cannot cover up the way he treats Hassan. At times Amir appears to treat Hassan as cruelly as if they were playing, “insect torture” (Hosseini 54).

After Amir and his father are forced to leave Afghanistan because of the Russian invasion, they move to America. Amir becomes closer with his father after he realizes, it doesn’t matter what you had in Afghanistan. He and his father are forced to work in a gas station to pay for Amir’s schooling. Amir doesn’t hear from anyone in Afghanistan for 20 years, when one day, after his father’s death, he gets a call from Rahim. Rahim wants Amir to come to Afghanistan to make things right again. When Amir arrives in Afghanistan, Rahim reveals he knows about what happened that night with Assef and Hassan. Rahim gives Amir a letter from Hassan, then tells him Talib officials, “took him to the street . . . and shot him in the back of the head” (Hosseini 219). Rahim belives Amir can make things right again if he adopts Hassans son, Sohrab and brings him back to America.

Amir is trying to make things right and even promises to Sohrab he will never put him in an orphanage again. Amir and Sohrab start to form a close relationship after only a few weeks. After talking to a lawyer who told him to, “Give it up” (Hosseini 331); Amir decides the best option would be to put Sohrab in an orphanage temporarily; going against his promise. The possibility of Sohrab going to an orphanage again drives him to attempt suicide. Amir seems to be good again; until he talks about breaking his promise.

Sohrab moves to America with Amir; however things are never the same between them. Amir tries to make him happier, but Sohrab cannot trust him anymore. The moral ambiguity of Amir causes him to be viewed a neither good nor evil. By doing this, the author leaves the reader confused

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caitlynervin said...
Aug. 17, 2014 at 8:33 pm
wow! great! did you write this? what did you score?  
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