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Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner

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An important stepping stone in every child's life is when a child makes a vow to be best friends forever with another child. Many girls cement this promise by buying a necklace with half hearts on them, while boys may carve their names into trees, but either way this promise is very important for children to prove that they have someone who they can trust. In Khaled Hosseini's best-selling novel The Kite Runner, two boys, Hassan and Amir, have a friendship that is not as typical as most children's. Although they do carve into a tree that they are the "sultans of Kabul" (Hosseini 27), their friendship is weak and one sided. These boys grew up in Kabul, and although their childhood friendship may have seemed like something out of a book, complete with pomegranate trees and story telling, it was dark and emotionally wearing. A main reason for this was because of the one subtle difference between these boys, omitting the differences in character; Hassan is a Hazara and Amir is a Pashtun. For this reason the Afghan society has classified Hassan as a lower human being and he, along with his father, is in servitude towards Amir and his family. Amirs lack of self-confidence throughout the novel hinders his ablity to have a true friendship with Hassan. Amir ruins the chance for friendship between himself and Hassan because he is jealous of Hassan, he thinks of Hassan as a lower human, and because of his bitter resentment.

An underlying cause of the problems Amir has with his friendship pertaining to Hassan is that he is jealous of Hassan; this jealousy causes him to test Hassan, and to take advantage of Hassan's unwavering loyalty. Amir constantly ridicules and tests Hassan; this is just to prove that Hassan is lower than he is. Amir confirms this by humiliating Hassan to himself, by taking advantage of Hassan illiteracy to amuse himself: "Well, everyone in my school knows what it means,' I said. "Let's see. ‘Imbecile.' it means smart, intelligent. I'll use it in a sentence for you. ‘When it comes to words, Hassan is an imbecile'"(29). Amir is not accomplishing anything by teasing Hassan except that he is establishing that he is smarter. Amir feels that he has to prove, even to himself that he is smarter than Hassan', he lacks acceptance from his father, so he feels that he needs to tease Hassan in order to accept himself.

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Amir once again has to prove to himself that he has the ultimate superiority by testing Hassan when he tells him to eat dirt. Hassan says that he would, which is all Amir needs to expand his ego and confirm that he is still above Hassan. Furthermore, Amir is also jealous because his father, whom he longs for his approval, seems to favor Hassan. Hassan is athletic and Baba has said that he associates himself with Hassan over Amir. Amir's jealousy arose from his avid pursuit and evident failure to achieve his father's illusive approval. Because of the lack of approval from his father, Amir finds it necessary to tear down Hassan in order to build himself up.
The friendship exemplified in The Kite Runner is very weak because Amir thinks of Hassan as his servant, which explains why he is constantly testing him and does not stand up for him as a true friend would do. Hazaras are not accepted in the Afghan society that Hassan and Amir grew up in, but Amir does not refute the biased and racist culture set out in front of him; instead, he embraces it. Even at the susceptible age of twelve, Amir is well aware of the principles of right and wrong and he chooses to do wrong. Hassan gets harassed by his peers, an example of this is when Assef bullies him by saying, "Afghanistan is the land of the Pashtuns. It always has been, always will be. We are the true Afghans, the pure Afghans, not this Flat-Nose here. His people pollute our homeland, our watan. They dirty our blood.....How can you talk to him, play with him, let him touch you?" (40-41). When Hassan is harassed, Amir does nothing; rather, he almost blurts out that Hassan is nothing but a servant when in fact he spends all of his free time playing like true friends play. Amir wants to be accepted by his peers, peers such as Assef, Wali, and Kamal. He wants to be accepted with such a passion that he chooses to disregard his friend in order to gain approval from these boys. Amir ends up sacrificing his morals for popularity. Another example of how Amir is a coward and only wants to be accepted by his peers and his father is when he turns his back on Hassan when Hassan desperately needs his help. Hassan gets raped by Assef while trying to complete the task of kite running for Amir. Amir witnesses this horrible act and does nothing to stop it; he does not step in to help his friend because he believes that Hassan is sacrificing himself for him. This is a completely selfish thought on Amir's part because no one should have to bear another persons burden, even if one person is another person's servant. The choice made by Amir to sacrifice his morals and rationalize his decisions forever haunts him.
Amir is clearly an emotionally unstable person, but his resentment towards Hassan is deepened because of his own guilt. Amir feels extreme guilt after he watches his friend get raped in an alley, after witnessing this he feels that he can no longer be in the same room as Hassan: "I'd hear Hassan shuffling around the kitchen in the morning, hear the clinking of silverware, the whistle of the teapot. I'd wait to hear the door shut and only then I would walk down to eat" (87). This shows that Amir cannot face his guilt; he knows that he has done something wrong but refuses to confront it and redeem himself and his friendship with Hassan. Amir realizes that he has done a grave dishonor to Hassan; he believed that "There was a monster in the lake. It had grabbed Hassan by the ankles, dragged him to the murky bottom. I was that monster" (86). Amir comes to terms with the fact that he is a selfish, immature person, yet instead of accepting that fact and trying to get Hassan's forgiveness, he once again betrays his friendship. Because Hassan is a reflection of Amir's guilt, Amir believes in an elementary manner that if he rids himself of what to him is the symbol of his guilt, he will also be freed of the guilt. This is why he frames Hassan of thievery; although this plan ultimately backfires and causes Amir even more personal anguish, it proves that he is a unstable and resentful person.
Amir thinks of Hassan as less worthy human being even though he is jealous of him, this mix of jealousy and resentment leads to a guilt that Amir handles unethically. Amir treats Hassan much like a dog; he believes that he can treat him as roughly as possible, but the animal will be forever loyal. Amir does not believe that he needs to defend Hassan, since Hassan is ultimately there to sacrifice himself for Amir. Amir is jealous of Hassan because of Hassan's approval earned by Baba, and this causes Amir to search for other ways to expand his ego. Amir resents Hassan because of the guilt that Amir has caused himself. The choices made by Amir and Hassan defined who they were and who they would become; Amir allows his original thoughts about Hassan, thoughts of loyalty and true friendship, to be tainted because he is a weak person. Although Amir and Hassan carved their names into a tree, Amir's character hinders their ability to be best friends and their bond is a far cry from even an equal friendship. It is important to know that a friendship can never be rewarding and equal if both parties are not of strong character and humble ego's.



A perfect friend could be described as someone who is honest and trustworthy, they make you laugh, someone you enjoy spending time with, and most of all they know how to have a good time and pick you up when you’re down. The novel The Kite Runner written by Khaled Hosseini depicts the setting of a great friendship in the best and most thoughtful way but the definition does not seem to match with what others seem to think. Hassan and Amir show utmost loyalty and humility towards each other but with one event the course of both of their lives change and both sides of their friendship do not remain equal.

In their childhood days in Kabul Hassan acts as a brave, humble, considerate and hardworking, young boy who only wishes for Amir to succeed and be happy, almost to the extent of being too good to be true. Hassan displays these qualities and attributes through a number of important and notable events. First, Hassan protects Amir in any situation even if it puts him in danger. Second, after retrieving the kite from Assef, Hassan doesn’t even mention what took place to Amir showing his utmost loyalty. Third, Even after he is betrayed by Amir, Hassan continues to lie for the person he considers his best friend.

Through these sets of events it will be evident how Hassan shows his attributes and how he, as a character in the novel, might be considered as “too good to be true” Hassan and Amir were raised together, grew up with each other and lived together for a large chunk of their lives. Although Amir is the only one that goes to madrehseh, school, Hassan does a very good job of trying to keep up with Amir. In Afghanistan “school smarts” don’t get you that far in public life, situations arise where a young boy cannot merely “think” his way out of it.

This sort of Situation arises between Hassan, Amir and a couple of boys who seemed to be up to no good. Assef, a notorious sociopath and violent boy, and his two friends Wali and Kamal mock Amir for socializing with a Hazara, which, according to Assef, is an inferior race whose members belong only in Hazarajat. One day, he prepares to attack Amir with stainless steel brass knuckles, but Hassan bravely stands up to him, threatening to shoot out Assef’s eye out with his slingshot Amir had bought him. Assef decides to walk away promising to be back.

The fact that Hassan was only being bullied and not the one being threatened and still decides to stand up to Assef shows his absolute love and true loyalty to Amir. Even though this situation is early in the book, its significance is still that of utmost importance for the fact of it showing how Hassan will protect Amir in any and all situations even if it puts him in danger. The kite fighting tournament is an event that almost every child in Kabul participates in. For each child that flies a kite, there is one who runs and grabs the kite loosing kites as they fall.

Amir and Hassan form a team and they work together every year to try to win the tournament, Amir flies and Hassan runs the kites down. Against all odds they win the competition and Hassan goes to run it down. Soon enough Amir finds Hassan with Assef once again. Too scared to intervene, Amir stands and watches his most loyal friend Hassan get raped. One of the many climaxes of The Kite Runner is this scene because for the rest of Amir’s life he lives with it on his conscience, that he did not do anything to help.

Amir and Hassan never speak of that moment again but both of them know what had happened that day. Just like any other average person Hassan could have gotten very mad at Amir, but the fact that he chooses not to shows how humble, caring and considerate of Amir. Not only does Hassan later want to continue their relationship how it was before but he in fact looks to take the blame as he asks Amir later on what he had done wrong to upset him. All of Hassan’s actions are shown in the most loyal and confederate way.

As our novel progresses Hassan and Amir become further and further apart from each other, to the point that Amir eventually decides he would no longer like to live in the same household as him. All this time Hassan has been trying to make things wright between them but Amir would refuse to listen. Amir’s frustration ultimately leads to him framing Hassan to get him to leave. In a confusing exchange of dialogue Hassan takes the blame and apologizes, Baba accepts but Ali insists on their immediate dismissal. Again we see Hassan’s sheer love for Amir as he does not want him to get into trouble.

Taking all the blame seems to be one of the best ways that Hassan can show his friendship. Doesn’t seem like much, but having the courage and bravery to do it to this extent truly makes Hassan a literally unbelievable character. Although Hassan and Amir’s relationship does not match that which others believe to be true, it is much more. The reason their friendship isn’t the same as others is because they are not friends; they are and always will be brothers. Hassan character is a brave, humble, considerate and hardworking, young boy who only wishes for Amir to succeed and be happy.

Hassan displays these qualities and attributes through a number of important and notable events. First, Hassan protects Amir in any situation even if it puts him in danger. Second, after retrieving the kite from Assef, Hassan doesn’t even mention what took place to Amir showing his utmost loyalty. Third, Even after he is betrayed by Amir, Hassan continues to lie for the person he considers his best friend His character is without a doubt too good to be true because of the fact that Khaled Hosseini puts him in the wrong position, Hassan is not Amir friend nor will he ever be. They are brothers for life.