Since the emergence of literature, thousands upon thousands of characters have graced our imaginations. From trouble maker Bart Simpson of the celebrated cartoon television series The Simpsons to Mr. Darcy of Jane Austen’s renowned novel Pride and Prejudice, the world has witnessed a plethora of characters in literature. Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner, and Billy Collins, distinguished American poet, as well as countless other authors, share the utilization of characters in their literary works. The manner in which these authors use the literary element of characters varies immensely.
As discussed in Thomas C. Foster’s novel How to Read Literature Like a Professor, a Christ figure embodies characteristics resembling those of Jesus Christ. Foster makes this statement in his chapter dedicated to Christ figures, “we generally recognize, whatever our religious affiliation, some of the features that make Christ who he is” (119). The Kite Runner has a Christ figure of its very own. Hassan, Amir’s devoted and loyal servant, denotes a character that is self-sacrificing and very forgiving. Also, as a result of his rape, he silently writhes in agony. Hassan’s altercation in the alley by Assef and his minions represents a confrontation with the devil. The vignette involving Hassan and Amir in the field days after the rape alludes to the story of Jesus’ crucifixion. In route to Calvary, people spat, mocked, and injured Jesus Christ. According to the Gospel of Matthew and Mark, Jesus had not acted in frightened or concerned manner. Amir describes the red from the pomegranates he threw at Hassan as “red dripping down his face like blood”. Hassan responded “Are you satisfied? Do you feel better?” (Hosseini 93). This proves that, similar to Jesus, Hassan understood the error of Amir’s ways and did not want to retaliate.
By bestowing Hassan with characteristics resembling those of Jesus Christ, Hosseini gives The Kite Runner an entirely new meaning. Hassan’s endless loyalty makes Amir’s journey to redemption more vital and necessary. Why should Amir not venture out to Afghanistan to save the child of the man he grew to love? The two had a connection that cannot be denied. Subsequent to Amir hearing of Hassan’s death, he mentions Hassan’s loyalty when he says “Hassan slumps to the asphalt, his life of unrequited loyalty drifting from him like the windblown kites he used to chase” (Hosseini 219). An unfaithful Hassan would make the reader question Amir’s motives for traveling back to Afghanistan.
A physical defect contributes to the meaning of the book. Hassan’s harelip represented his family insufficient funds to mend it. Before Baba bestows the gift of surgery to Hassan, it represented Ali’s inability to afford it because he is a Hazara servant. As Foster states in his novel, “if a writer brings up a physical problem or handicap or deficiency, he probably means something by it” (200). Through Hassan’s character, Hosseini subtly comments on the...