Societal Norms And Standards In The Kite Runner By Khaled Hosseini

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Societal norms and standards have always existed when civilization has. Whether these expectations are set by society and projected onto children by parents or not, it does not matter; there have always been people who experience difficulties fitting in or reaching these ideals. Amir, the main character in the novel The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, is one of them; however, it was a conscious choice by Hosseini to have Amir be unconventional and to not conform to the expectations of Afghan society. Growing up in Afghanistan and later America, Amir never was the stereotypical “Afghan ma,” but author uses this as a springboard to develop Amir’s character in his adult years. Hosseini’s choice to not have Amir cater to Afghan society’s standards …show more content…
Early on in Amir’s life, his father Baba described his son as lacking a mean streak, lacking the will or the ability to stand up for himself: “I see him playing on the street with the neighborhood boys. I see how they push him around, take his toys from him, give him a shove here, a whack there. And, you know, he never fights back. Never. He just… drops his head” (page 22). He even went so far as to say that this son will never be honorable, that “A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything” (page 22). Amir later proved his father right when he runs away from Assef’s raping of Hassan in a back alley because he was afraid of the consequences and afraid of being hurt himself. “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… I actually aspired to cowardice” (page 77). Even in America, as twenty-two year old man, Amir was still frightened of being left alone when his father is diagnosed with cancer; he was unable and unwilling to imagine a life on his own, where he would have to fight for himself and be independent. “My whole life, I had been ‘Baba’s son.’ Now he was gone. Baba couldn’t show me the way anymore; I’d have to find it on my own. The thought of it terrified me” (page …show more content…
In the past as a child, Amir never did what he wanted to do, but rather did what he thought would please Baba. He set his mind on winning the kite tournament because he believed that if he won, his father would pay attention to him instead of ignoring him. “Baba was used to winning, winning at everything he set his mind to. Didn’t he have a right to expect the same from his son? …there was no other viable option. I was going to win, and I was going to run that last kite. Then I’d bring it home and show it to Baba. Show him once and for all that his son was worthy. Then maybe my life as a ghost in this house would finally be over” (page 56). Amir also chose not to tell Baba about Hassan’s rape because he knew that his father would not be proud of him, that Baba would be disappointed in his already subpar son. His conscious choice to conceal the truth from his father was made without considering the difference between right and wrong; it was made based on whether it would damage the relationship he had with Baba or not. This was the incident that began much of the conflict between Amir and Hassan in the story, and was also an indirect cause for Amir to return to Afghanistan as a grown man. However, when Amir returned to his birthplace, he was no longer governed by the overbearing shadow

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