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Wherever You Go, That's Who You Are

1433 words - 6 pages

A person’s surroundings have a strong influence on the course of their lives and their character. This is shown in the novel The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. The main character in the story, Amir, lives in Kabul, Afghanistan with his successful and respected father, Baba, and their two servants Ali and Hassan. Amir and Hassan grow up together as very close friends, but their friendship often suffers from the tension of Amir's insecurities, as well as their society's negative view on Hassan's Hazara ethnicity. The final thread holding their friendship together is broken when Amir fails to protect Hassan from being raped from the terrorizing Assef. After Hassan leaves Amir's life, political ...view middle of the document...

The Hazaras are Shia Muslim while the Pashtuns are Sunni Muslims, two different sects in the Islam religion. This leads to their lower class status and a strong racism towards the Hazaras. Hassan, and even his father, are regularly bullied and attacked for their ethnicity. This often leaves Amir feeling uncomfortable in his friendship with Hassan, at times telling himself that Hassan is simply his Hazara servant and is beneath him. Even after Hassan stands up for Amir to Assef, a boy of the same upper class as Amir, Amir continues to treat Hassan cruelly. Amir’s ultimate fault towards Hassan happens in the winter, the day of the annual kite flying tournament, a beloved tradition for boys in Kabul. Amir, desperate for Baba’s approval, wins with Hassan’s help, who, loyal as ever, vows to run, or retrieve, the last kite that Amir cut from the sky. Amir, impatient to bring the kite home to Baba, looks and finds Hassan and the kite in an alley, cornered by Assef and two other boys, and does nothing as Assef rapes Hassan. Amir’s insecurity in his relationship with Hassan, and his relationship with Baba, leads him to not preventing his friend’s rape. From this moment on their friendship is broken, and Amir ends up causing Hassan and Ali to leave the house, and his life.
Political events and drastic changes in location cause Amir to mature and begin anew. In 1978 President Daoud Khan of Afghanistan is overthrown by the communist left in the country. In the next year Russia invades, tossing the nation into total turmoil. Amir and Baba leave for Pakistan in 1981, secretly traveling with several other Afghans wanting to escape from the paranoia of the war. Hosseini jumps the story forward two years to Fremont, California where they now live. Baba has struggled to adjust to this new life. He is now working at a gas station, a long drop from his wealthy businessman status back home. He gets angered by the people and does not understand simple customs, such as showing I.D. when paying with a check. Amir, however, easily adjusts to life in America, a place he sees as a new beginning. He graduates high school and attends college. In 1984 Baba and Amir begin selling at the flea market, one with a large Afghan community. There they meet General Taheri who, like Baba, mourns his loss of Kabul and clings to his homeland traditions. Another year passes and Baba develops lung cancer, but refuses treatment. As his illness worsens Amir asks him to ask the General for his daughter Soraya's hand in marriage. Amir and Soraya marry and shortly after Baba passes away. At the funeral Amir is reminded of the Baba he knew as a child in Kabul by the many Afghans that come to pay their respects. Amir and Soraya begin their lives together and move to San Francisco where Amir focuses on his successful writing career. Moving to America was almost a heartbreak for Baba, he never got over the huge transformation from Kabul. For Amir, America was a new start, a new life he craved...

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