Controversy Surrounding Alienated Characters In Literary Works

1621 words - 6 pages

Authors often times include a character(s) in their novel who they have alienated from the society that they have created for their narrative. These characters could be anyone from the foil character(s) to the protagonist him/herself. Authors incorporate these characters as they give substance and genuineness to their work. In the novel, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, such characters are presented in similar but different ways. These differences are crucial however, because they are what make each novel unique. More importantly, they play a key role in the development of the protagonist. Alienated characters, depending on how close they are to the protagonist, in essence, determine their outcome.
The novel, The Kite Runner, and its protagonist, Amir, present an archetypical example of the relation alienated characters have with the works they are in. There are several alienated characters in this novel, one of which is Assef. Assef is sociopathic and violent older boy who is also the antagonist. He always scorned Amir for associating with Hassan, a Hazara, which is, according to Assef, an inferior race that should only live in Hazarajat. He is a devout supporter of Adolf Hitler and his ideologies. On page 35 he says “It’s too late for Hitler, but not for us” (Hosseini), suggesting that he wanted to follow in his footsteps and annihilate who he believed was a substandard race from his country. Assef contributes extensively towards Amir’s development. Firstly, he killed Hassan. If this would not have occurred, then no circumstance would have unearthed itself for Amir to redeem himself. Secondly, and most importantly, according to Baba, Assef presented a perfect example of what a boy should be like, evident from how he was valuing Assef’s interests during Amir’s birthday party (Hosseini 103-108).
This detail alone is one of the most important factors of Amir’s development. If these kinds of interests were shared by anyone other than Assef, then Amir would have conformed. However, since they were Assef’s, Amir strayed away from these types of interests because they were shared by a sadistic pedophile. Although it may seem that Assef’s negative behavior would have an adverse impact on Amir, it did not. It seemed like it at first, but as the story unraveled progressively, one soon realizes that this negativity is what fuels Amir’s ambitions and essentially what allows him “a second chance” at absolution.
Not all the alienated characters in The Kite Runner have a negative impact on Amir however. One such character was Hassan. Hassan is Amir’s childhood friend and servant. Amir later discovers that he is also his half-brother. Hassan, by far, played the largest role in Amir’s character development. Not only did he sacrifice his innocence for the sake of Amir’s selfish desires, but he in generally devoted his entire life to keeping Amir happy. This is evident as of his saying, “For you, a...

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