The Main Character in Khaled Hosseini's Novel The Kite Runner (Essay Sample)
“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 his son was worthy.” A quote that was spoken by our main character in Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. Amir is the protagonist and narrator of The Kite Runner. He recalls the events of both his childhood and adulthood. Amir was born in 1963 and his mother, Sofia, died while giving birth to him. During Amir’s childhood, he lived in Kabul, Afghanistan with his father and his live-in servants, Hassan and Ali. Amir and his father are privileged in Kabul. They have a big house and a good amount of money. Amir and the live-in servant, Hassan, grow up simultaneously as best friends. They are so close it seems like they are brothers (spoiler: they are). In the winter of 1975, Amir saw Hassan get assaulted, and he did not step in to stop it. Amir holds the guilt from this event into his adulthood. Amir and his father, Baba, have a bit of an odd relationship. Baba loves Amir but seems to favor Hassan over Amir. He wants Amir to be a certain way, and since Amir is not the way Baba wants him to be, he feels as though he disappointed Baba. Certain events such as Hassan’s assault, Sofia’s death, and Baba’s disapproval of Amir’s choices and actions influence his self-image.
To start, Sofia’s death affects Amir’s judgment of himself. In chapter 3 Amir says, “Because the truth of it was, I always felt like Baba hated me a little. And why not? After all, I had killed his beloved wife, his beautiful princess, Hadn’t I? The least I could have done was to have had the decency to have turned out a little more like him. But I hadn’t turned out like him. Not at all.” (Hosseini, 18). Amir believes that he caused Sofia’s death. Amir also believes that Baba blames him for Sofia’s death, though it is likely baba does not blame Amir. or the rest of his life Amir has tremendous feelings of regret because of his mother’s death.
In addition, Hassan’s assault affects Amir’s self-image. In chapter 7 Amir says, “I had one last chance to make a decision. One final opportunity to decide who I was going to be. I could step into that alley, stand up for Hassan-the way he had stood up for me in the past- and accept whatever would happen to me. Or I could run. In the end, I ran.” (Hosseini, 99). Amir was witnessing Hassan’s rape and was debating whether he should stand up for Hassan. He ran away instead of stepping in, but he had no idea how much guilt he was going to hold afterward. At the beginning of chapter 1, Amir says, “It’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.” (Hosseini, 4). Amir had tried for years to bury the memories, but his guilt kept causing them to arise again. In his adulthood, Amir wanted to save Hassan’s son, Sohrab, from the orphanage. When Amir arrives at the orphanage, he was greeted by two Talib officers. At first, it appeared they were all strangers. Then, one of the Talib officials asks Amir about Babalu. It was Assef, the same man from Amir and Hassan’s childhood. It was the same man who raped Hassan in 1975. Assef was talking to Amir about why he became part of the Taliban. Amir displayed disagreement with Assef about his actions. Assef becomes upset and tells Amir he can take Sohrab, but not for free. Assef beats Amir as “payment” for taking Sohrab. After Assef finished beating Amir, Amir says, “My body was broken—just how badly I wouldn’t find out until later—but I felt healed. Healed at last. I laughed.” Although Amir would have been in great physical pain, he finally felt relief for what happened in the winter of 1975. Amir felt guilty all of his life and could never bury the memories. He thought that what he did was so terrible that he deserved bad things in return. Amir was ashamed of himself.
Lastly, Baba’s opinion of Amir influences his self-esteem. In chapter 3 Baba is conversing with Rahim Khan and says, “A boy who can’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything. (Hosseini, 20) Baba sees that Hassan stands up to bullies while Amir never does. He is ashamed that his son is a coward, and he wishes he was braver. Baba’s opinion of Amir causes Amir to crave validation from his father. Amir is always worrying about making Baba happy. Deep down Amir just wants affirmation from his father, and he feels terrible about himself when he does not receive that affirmation. In chapter 7, Amir is competing in the annual kite flying competition.
To conclude, many events in Amir’s life cause him to have a poor self-image. For example, Baba’s negative words, Sofia’s death, and Hassan’s assault all caused Amir to feel bad about himself. He betrayed many people but paid the price for it. Amir was able to redeem himself even after all the negative events in his lifetime. After all the pain and violence, Amir was finally at peace with himself for the first time in 26 years.