The Kite Runner

March 16, 2009
By Kaelyn Quinn BRONZE, Denver, Colorado
Kaelyn Quinn BRONZE, Denver, Colorado
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

In The Kite Runner, deep down, Amir knows the answer; Hassan wasn't just a Hazara. He was a brother. However, Amir denies this reality throughout the book; his social standing encourages him to believe that he is superior to Hassan. This discrimination, dominant in Afghani society, threatens to separate their friendship.
In this novel, a rigid class structure prevents friendships between those of different ethnic backgrounds. 'History isn't an easy thing to overcome'(25) for Amir and Hassan, as they struggle to bridge the racial gap and build a strong companionship. Their whole world turns against them, as the two defy the social and racial order. As an upper class Pashtun, Amir is expected to look down upon the Hazaras and sometimes he can't help but play the part. It is a struggle for him to find where his loyalty lies, with his class and ethnic background, or with his childhood friend.'His feelings and emotions constantly change sides, rocking back and forth. Amir will tease Hassan, often lashing out at him unexpectedly. After each jibe, each insult, Amir comforts himself with the same question: 'He was just a Hazara wasn't he?' (77). But Amir can't avoid the truth. Hassan was his best friend and deserved to be treated as such, 'and nothing was ever going to change that. Nothing.' (25)
Their friendship, however unsteady, proves to Amir and Hassan that despite all the discrimination around them, they are still more alike than they ever knew. Amir and Hassan discover that 'there was a brotherhood between people' (11) who had grown up together, that 'no history, ethnicity, soicety, or religion was going to change' (25). The two work side by side seamlessly, the ultimate kite flying team. Together they achieve their goals and bring down the blue kite of racism that threatens to separate them. It becomes clear for Hassan, all class and race aside, that with Amir is 'where he belongs'(225). 'Blood is a powerful thing'(310), that connects Amir and Hassan long before they understand how. '
Amir matures and grows through his friendship with Hassan. Throughout his life, their bond provides new insights for Amir, helping him rise above his prejudices. Once again, Hassan acts as a sacrificial lamb in order to help Amir become a more righteous and moral individual. Growing up, Hassan endures many blows from Amir. He acts as 'some thing' that Amir 'can kick when he is angry' (72), because after all, Hassan 'was a Hazara'(25). Hassan suffers for Amir's sake, and it is not until in his adulthood does Amir see and realize the benefits of Hassan's endurance. Eventually, Amir reaches a point of enlightenment when he discovers that things he values, such as his friendship with Hassan, are worth sacrificing himself and his social dignity for. Extreme racists wonder why' he 'has come all this way for a Hazara?'(285). Amir has indeed come a long way. From his discriminatory behavior as a child, he has grown into a man who is willing to stand up for his social inferiors. Judging by how he treats his social inferiors, not his equals, Amir has become a virtuous and honorable person because of his friendship with Hassan,
Social order dominates societies all across the globe. Class is largely based on one's race. Judgement based upon one's ethnicity and class leads to discrimination and prejudice. In Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner, this racist structure threatens friendship between those of different ethnic backgrounds, as they face extreme prejudice. Amir and Hassan struggle to maintain their unusual friendship, which offers unique qualities. Hassan provides Amir a look at the Afghan culture through his eyes, showing Amir the difficulties he must face each day. Amir discovers Hassan and him are not as separated as he once thought, but are brothers at heart. Amir becomes an honest man like Hassan when he ascends above all the classism and discrimination, understanding that it is not worth giving up who he cares for. Amir knows Hassan 'made me what I am today'(2). In the end, Amir sees the benefits to be reaped when one gazes at the world through another man's eyes.

The author's comments:
A literature essay on The Kite Runner

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