In chapter seven of The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, the reader is faced with a crucial moment in the novel. This chapter presents an important scene, where Hassan chooses to be raped by Assef rather than handing him Amirs kite. Hosseini brings the reader a critical moment in chapter seven when Hassan becomes Amirs sacrifice for happiness, and all aspects of the boys childhoods change forever. Chapter seven presents a significant advancement in the plot, a development of the main characters, and the appearance of several important symbols used in the story.
There is a significant advancement in the plot of the story in chapter seven. This chapter presents the peak of events in the storyline. In the first half of the book, the main characters are developed and the setting is introduced. The reader learns that Amir is looking for acceptance from his father, Baba, and that he believes by winning the Kite Running competition, Baba will finally be proud of him. After Amir has cut down the final kite, the only obstacle left is for Hassan to run and catch it. After Hassan catches the kite, he is confronted by Assef, who gives him an ultimatum: if he gives up the kite, he will be left alone; if not, he will have to face the consequences. Hassan remains loyal to Amir, and faces the wrath of Assef. Amir comes across the scene of Hassan being raped, and says he is given one final opportunity: to decide who I was going to be. I could step into that alley, and stand up for Hassan the way hed stood up for me all those times in the past and accept whatever would happen to me. Or I could run. / In the end, I ran (Hosseini 77). He pretends to not hear or see the rape, or the dark stain in the seat of his pants. Or those tiny drops that fell from between his legs and stained the snow black (Hosseini 78). This scene changes the relationship between the boys, as Amir tries to
forget, and Hassan is unable to move on. Hassan and his father, Ali, soon move away, unable to face and confront what happened. He tries to forget that the rape even happened, and acts somewhat arrogant as he goes on with his everyday life. Their relationship becomes extremely strained and distant, and For a week, [he] never saw Hassan; Hassan always went to sleep after doing chores, never wanting to play or sing old Hazara songs about tulip fields with Amir (Hosseini 80). As time passes, Amir is faced with the guilt of running away from his best friend, and carries it with him until he is able to save Hassans son, Sohrab.
There is considerable development of the main characters in this chapter. The reader sees changes in several characters and their personalities. By refusing to hand over the kite, Hassan proves his loyalty to Amir, and is described by Assef as A loyal Hazara. Loyal as a dog (Hosseini 72). Hassan protects Amir and pays the price for threatening One-Eyed Assef with a slingshot (Hosseini 71). Amir, on the other hand, does not jump in during the rape, but instead ran, because [he] was a coward (Hosseini 77). His fear and cowardice are brought into plain sight as he hides behind boxes, waiting for it to be over. This chapter gives us insight into how the characters feel towards each other. Amir is more concerned with himself and making Baba proud than he is with anything else in his life. Even though he is aware of what Hassan has done for him, he acts like nothing has happened, and feels happier than ever when Hassan hands him the kite. It is all worth it to him when he sees the smile played on [his] fathers lips (Hosseini 79). Hassan hides his humiliation from Amir, and does not speak a word of what happens to anyone
because he realizes what the competition meant to Amir. This major event leads to changes which affect both of the boys in the long run. Hassan leaves with his father,
unable to face what happened, and unable to tell Baba the truth. Amir is left with guilt for the remainder of his childhood, always wondering how things would have wound up different if Hassan and Ali had moved to America with them. Baba mentions this once while they are in America, saying I wish Hassan had been with us today (Hosseini 133). Growing up, Amir always feels the guilt of what happened; when Rahim Khan calls him, it made [him] realize how [his] entire life, long before the winter of 1975, dating back to when that singing Hazara woman was still nursing [him], had been a cycle of lies, betrayal, and secrets (Hosseini 226). Amir later realizes that this would be the last kite running competition with Hassan, and that that day would be the last time he would see Hassan smile.
Several important symbols are brought into view in chapter seven of The Kite Runner. For instance, the kite represents several important themes. It is a symbol of Hassans loyalty to Amir, as he refuses to hand over the kite to Assef. When running the kite, Hassan screams back to Amir, For you a thousand times over! (Hosseini 67). He would have run that kite and made the same decision to stay loyal to Amir time and time again. After the rape, Amir feared to look into Hassans eyes, not wanting to see the look of guileless devotion, because that, most of all, was something he couldnt bear to see (Hosseini 78). The kite also represents childhood. Throughout Amirs childhood, he has always watched the kite competition, and realizes that it is his one chance to make his father proud. The lamb is another sacrifice, and is symbolized through Hassan. Amir states that Maybe Hassan was the price I had to pay, the lamb I had to slay, to win Baba (Hosseini 77). During the rape scene, Amir has a flashback of the tenth day of Dhul-Hijjah, where they sacrifice a sheep to celebrate how the prophet Ibrahim almost sacrificed his own son for God. He describes the look he sees in the lambs eyes, a look of acceptance because he imagines the animal understandsand sees that its imminent demise is for a higher purpose (Hosseini 77). This is the same look that he later sees in the eyes of Hassan. Although he questions whether it was a fair price, he knows that Hassan is the lamb and the sacrifice that he needed. Amir states, I caught a glimpse of his face. Saw the resignation in it. It was a look I had seen before. It was the look of the lamb (Hosseini 76). Hassan becomes Amirs sacrifice for happiness and Babas pride.
In conclusion, chapter seven of Khaled Hosseinis The Kite Runner presents a very important scene, which brings about several changes for the main characters. The rape of Hassan by Assef is a crucial moment, as it changes the boys personalities, their development, and their lifestyles. In this chapter, the audience is introduced to several important themes and symbols found throughout the novel, and sees the development of both the story and the characters.
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Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. New York: Berkley Publishing Group, 2003.