Relationships In The Kite Runner

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There is an almost imperceptible line between friend and enemy. In the words of Henry David Thoreau, “[T]rue friendship is never serene" (Brainy Quote). In fact, the more entwined two individuals become, the greater the possibility that complications such as insecurity, jealousy and competition can arise. Friendship fulfills man’s basic need for love and security; however, it also can involve an unequal balance of needs and wants. In Khaled Hosseini’s seminal work The Kite Runner, Amir and Hassan, two main characters, grow up in pre-Taliban era Kabul, Afghanistan in the 1960-70s. The Afghanistan of the 1970’s is a vastly different country than the war-ravaged nation it is today. As the Taliban rises to power, our main characters mature and …show more content…
After Amir opens all his gifts from his thirteenth birthday, he plants his new watch and a handful of Afghan bills under Hassan’s mattress, aware that Hassan blind love and loyalty for Amir will reveal itself when he accepts the false charges against him (Hosseini 103). Amir is so certain of Hassan’s devotion to him that he abuses it in order to win Baba’s affections. His deep-seeded need to be the sole object of his father’s undivided attention prevents Amir from being a true friend. As childhood playmates, Amir and Hassan spend their childhood playing together, yet when Amir leaves for school, Hassan “made [Amir’s] bed, polished [his] shoes, ironed [his] outfit for the day, packed [his] books and pencils” (27). Despite the fact that Amir and Hassan have played together as constant companions, Amir continually, throughout his childhood, identifies himself as a Pashtun and Hassan as a Hazara, believing that nothing would ever change this basic fact of life. This visceral social division is at the core of every interaction with Hassan. When Hassan is in the alley with Assef, Hassan fiercely defends Amir’s right to claim the winning kite; Amir looks on, and does nothing, Hassan is brutally raped (88). Amir has the opportunity to rise to the standards of friendship that Hassan truly deserves, but his cowardice defeats …show more content…
During the fight between Amir and Assef over Sohrab, Hassan’s son, Amir begins to laugh as Assef attempts to beat him to death; even though his “body was broken” , because of the pain, Amir “felt healed at last” (289). Amir starts laughing while getting beaten up as this was his way of redeeming himself from the incident in which he betrayed Hassan in the alley. Amir’s love for Hassan and his son, Sohrab, enables him to endure the brutal beatings, just as Hassan was able to endure countless punishments on Amir’s behalf. Although Amir was in denial of the pain during his fight with Assef, Dr. Faruqi explains that Amir’s multiple and severe injuries include a “laceration on the upper lip” which was “clean down the middle” reminding Amir of a “ harelip”(297). The scar is symbolic of Hassan's harelip and Amir's life going full circle as he gains atonement for his actions when he was young. Not only has Amir suffered excruciating physical pain, but he takes on Hassan’s physical appearance as well. Safely arriving in California, Amir takes Sohrab kite flying in a local park, volunteering to “run the kite” for Sohrab; Sohrab “nods” and Amir “ran” with a smile as wide as “the Valley of

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