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Culture and Relationships in The Kite Runner Essay


The Kite Runner

Nobody would ever imagine the tranquil pastime of kite flying, to deviate into a guilt-driven tale of malfeasance and redemption. Overlooking mistakes leads to a domino effect of problems that eventually transform ones life into a delusion. In The Kite Runner, a single unfortunate event triggers an extensive journey for each of the main characters, who struggle to obtain salvation in a country that doesnt tolerate mistakes. In the novel The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini portrays the significance of culture and family relations in Afghani society.

Babas life is greatly influenced by Afghani culture and values. Although he appears to be a philanthropist, his kind nature is actually driven by the guilt of his sins. Baba always carried an extra handful of Afghani bills in his pocket just for [beggars] because of the lie he convinced everyone to believe (245). Babas guilt was caused by a crime he committed in his past. He once even told Amir, there is no act more wretched than stealing. A man who takes whats not his to take, be is a life or a loaf of naan I split on such a man (18). Even though Baba seems like a man of his word-someone who is honorable, trustworthy, and honest- in reality he was stealing. However he was stealing much more than a loaf of naan, he stole someone elses wife. Baba never told Amir that Hassan was actually his brother. Fifteen years after [Amir] buried him, [he] was learning that Baba had been a thief. And a thief of the worst kind, because the things hes stolen had been sacred: from [Amir] the right to know [he] had a brother (225). Baba was basically a hypocrite; he preached to Amir and Hassan never to steal, and to always be honest, however, Amir eventually finds out it is all a charade, and that Baba is lying. Baba makes a huge mistake by creating this lie in hopes that Ali wouldnt find out that Baba had a relationship with his wife. Baba steals Alis honor and proceeds to lie about it for years hoping no one will find out; hoping that in the end no ones feelings will be hurt. This lie eats away at Baba for years; and one can blame Afghani culture and pride for preventing him from speaking the truth. Baba fears that if he were to tell the truth, Ali would never forgive or even speak to him. Babas fear is based on Afghani values and beliefs about lies and mistakes. These same values are not to be taken lightly, but little does Baba realize, that they are not to be ignored either.

Due to the environment surrounding Amir, one blunder leads to a remorseful life. His selfishness and lack of courage causes the incident of Hassans rape to alter the course of the rest of his life. Hassan always stood up for Amir. He protected him, loved him, and never backed down. However, when the time comes for Amir to repay the favor, he runs: 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 Hassanand accept whatever would happen to me. Or I could run. In the end, I ran. I ran because I was a coward (77). Amir is a coward because he does not stick up for Hassan. Hassan always used to take the hit for Amir, but now Amir runs away. He was scared that he would have gotten beaten up or raped as well. Amir lost all his respect and loyalty from Hassan because of this cowardly action and eventually Amir regrets this immensely. Due to Amirs irregular behavior after this event, Hassan finds out that Amir did not stand up for him and instead ran. This eventually causes Hassan and Ali to leave Baba and Amir. When they were leaving the house, [Amir] saw Baba do something [he] had never seen him do before: [Baba] cried Please, Baba was saying, but Ali had already turned to the door, Hassan trailing him. [Amir will] never forget the way Baba said that, the pain in his plea, the fear (107). This is one of the first major events to occur in response to the rape incident. Due to the culture Amir lives in, mistakes are not taken lightly. More importantly, Betrayal is taken extremely seriously. Betrayal is one of the worst things someone could do, and because Amir betrays Hassan, he pays for it dearly in the future. Later when Hassan was being kicked out of the house by the Taliban, [he] protested again. So they took him to the street-, -And order him to kneel-,-and shot him in the back of the head. Then Farzana came screaming and attacked them-, and they -shot her too (231). As Amir is hearing this, all [he] could manage to whisper No. No. No. over and over again (231). Amir now completely regrets not helping Hassan when he was being raped. Amir knows that if he had stood up for Hassan, Hassan would never have moved out; and when Amir moved to America, Hassan and Ali would have come with them. This way, Hassan would not have died such a terrible death in Afghanistan. This shows that because of Afghani society, Amir was too scared to admit the truth, and eventually Amir pays the ultimate price, his brothers death.

Soraya, Amirs wife, displays the importance of honesty and family relations in Afghani society. She is willing to risk her marriage for the redemption of a foolish mistake she made in her past. When Amir asks Soraya to marry him, she said, when we lived in Virginia, I ran away with an Afghan man. I was eighteen at the time rebellious stupid, and he was into drugs We lived together for almost a month. All the Afghans in Virginia were talking about it When I came home, I saw my mother had had a stroke, the right side of her face was paralyzed and I felt so guilty. She didnt deserve that (164). Soraya is willing to risk her marriage over a mistake she made in her past. Although Soraya does not want to start this marriage based off lies, she also wants to clear her conscious that was constantly nagging her just like Baba and Amirs. She also didnt want Amirs name to be tarnished because of her sinful act. People will look at Amir as the person that married a crazy, rebellious, stupid woman because of how important family ties are in Afghani communities. Soraya even tells Amir how [she] makes one mistake and suddenly everyone is talking nang and namoos, and [she had] to have [her] face rubbed in it for the rest of [her] life (179). This demonstrates how even in America, Afghani culture and values are still predominant among first generation Afghanis. Due to this, people will simply not let go of mistakes others made very easily. Soraya still did not immediately tell Amir that [her] father showed up with a gun that night. He toldhimthat he had two bullets in the chamber, one for him and one for himself if [she] didnt come home (179). Sorayas father did not want to live as the father of a stupid and rebellious girl. Once again, it is because of family ties, pride, and Afghani society that Soraya eventually tells Amir the complete truth before she gets into any more trouble. Although Soraya makes a mistake, she fixes it fairly quickly before it gets very dangerous unlike Amir and Baba.

In the novel The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini demonstrates how much mistakes can affect ones life in Afghani culture. The mistakes people make have a snowball effect and keep getting bigger and more dangerous. This very effect causes Baba to live a lie until he dies in shame. However, Amir and Soraya realize the only way one can obtain redemption and end this massive snowball, is through self-forgiveness

Works Cited

Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. New York: The Berkley Publishing Group, 2003.

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