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The Kite Runner By Khaled Hosseini

1790 words - 7 pages

Although Amir and Hassan grew up together playing in the same fields and climbing the same trees, there was an enormous degree of cultural history that separated them. Something much greater drew an invisible barrier between the two of them. The division of separation was more than the fact that each of them slept in two different homes or ate breakfast at different tables. Amir and Hassan were born only a year apart from each other. They each knew they had different mothers and different fathers. However, somehow, they were both fed as an infant from the breasts of a woman who was not their mother. In their culture, the nurturing and feeding that they received from the same woman connected them in way that was unchangeable. Hassan almost always knew the thoughts of Amir. Nonetheless, in spite of their friendship and unshakable feeding bond, the fact still remained that the two boys belonged to their own unique class within Afghanistan’s society.
The two unique classes among the people of Afghanistan are Shi’a Muslims and Sunni Muslims. Shi’a Muslims are also known as Hazara, and Sunni Muslims are known as Pashtuns. Amir discovered a book on the subject, “The book said part of the reason Pashtuns had oppressed the Hazaras was that Pashtuns were Sunni Muslims, while Hazaras were Shi’a” (Hosseini 9). The factors that determine which class an individual belongs to are their ethnicity and facial features. “They called him “flat-nosed” because of Ali and Hassan’s Characteristic Hazara Mongoloid features” (Hosseini 9). In other words, if your parents were Hazaras, then the children are automatically born a Shi’a Muslim. The same logic applies to the Sunni Muslims. Therefore, if the parents were Pashtuns, then the children born into the family are automatically Sunni Muslims. Afghanistan practiced its own form of racism. Hassan did not live in a home of privilege and wealth. He, therefore, was definitely aware of his lack of position among society. Hassan confronted his enemy Assef stating, “Please leave us alone, Agha. He’d referred to Assef as “Agha,” and I wondered briefly what it must be like to live with such an ingrained sense of one’s place in a hierarchy” (Hosseini 42). Agha is a title giving leadership role from another of inferior position. Amir also took note of Amir’s position within their society as less than important. “What does he know, that illiterate Hazara? He’ll never be anything but a cook. How dare he criticize you?” (Hosseini 34).
Life in Afghanistan began to change with the battles and gunfire within their once peaceful and playful community. Running kites would eventually become a thing of the past. “Kite running soon became replaced with rapid gunfire, light flashing, sirens and poverty” (Hosseini 35). Little did Hassan, Assef and Amir know that due to the earth shattering noises that they’ve just heard, their lives would forever change as a direct result. “Kabul awoke the next morning to find that...

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