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Motifs in Kite Runner

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Every person in the world carries scars. These scars can be physical or emotional and come from events in a person’s past. Most of these events are very traumatic, injuries, emotional or physical, that a person would want to forget, but the scar always reminds them of it. In the book The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, Hosseini demonstrates the idea that everyone has their own story through the reoccurrence of scars and wounds. Amir and Hassan carry the same scars from the traumatic events of their childhood. They are set apart by many physical characteristics, one being a scar on Hassan’s lip, which Amir describes as: “a pink jagged line running up from his lip” (Hosseini 47). Later in life Amir always describes Hassan as the hare-lipped boy because of this scar. When Amir is beaten by Assef he receives a similar scar on his lip and Amir’s thoughts go straight to the fact that: “The impact had cut [Amir’s] upper lip in two, he had said, clean down the middle. Clean down the middle. Like a harelip” (Hosseini 297). This wound brings him closer to Hassan. He has finally taken onto himself what Hassan had taken for him and can finally relate to Hassan.

Their scars have more tightly woven their stories together because they each got their scars for each other. Along with that, Hassan’s rape was a scar that they both carry for different reasons. Hassan has emotional scars from it, like any other rape victim, and Amir holds onto his shame of what he allowed to happen and he talks about his cowardice by explaining how: “[He] [runs] because I [am] a coward. I [am] afraid of Assef and what he would do to me. I [am] afraid of getting hurt” (Hosseini 77). He does not allow himself to be brave which ruins Hassan and his relationship. It is just like a scar. The boys’ stories are held together by this moment. Amir’s scar from this event drives him to do many of the things he does later in life. He always wants to forget what he allowed to happen or gain redemption and that drive led him to change the future and save Sohrab’s life. Scars remind people of traumatic events in their life and it is part of their story so they should not be afraid of it. People tend to look past the good in people. Soraya has scars not on her person but her social identity. She hates everyone’s opinion of her and expresses herself by saying: “I make one mistake and suddenly everyone is talking nang and namoos” (Hosseini 179). In the Muslim community she is now considered impure, even though she goes home with her father when he comes to get her.

Her scar makes it so that she was undesirable by the men in her community, when they went off and did whatever they wanted. It is so visible to her community that even if it happened “four years ago and three thousand miles away” she is still hearing about what she did (Hosseini 179). They don’t care about her story other than the fact she ran off with a man. She is more than that but they won’t believe it. There are two significant wounds involving Sohrab. Firstly, Sohrab shoots Assef in the eye to defend Amir. Hassan, Sohrab’s father, gives Assef a promise when they were young; that if he touchs Amir then he would lose an eye. Sohrab fulfills this promise when Assef finally does beat Amir. Although, Amir is finally relieved from his shame by this beating, it saves his life, so he is content. Secondly, Sohrab cut his own wrists in an attempt at suicide: “There [is] a large purple bruise in the crease of his right arm” (352).

This scar is the physical representation of the wound Amir inflicted by breaking a promise to Sohrab. People will see Sohrab’s wrist and know that he tried to kill himself, and they will leave it at that. They won’t understand the challenge and the sadness he had at that moment, when he was about to lose everything again. Everyone close to him has died or left him and Amir was about to too. Sohrab’s scars will also be a reminder to Amir. He will see them and know that he broke a promise and will likely vow to never do it again. Both of these scars have bound Sohrab and Amir together There is a story behind every scar people carry. People all laugh at the idea of old men sitting around a table showing off their scars and telling how they got them, but often times telling the story about the scar can set someone free. Scars are only part of a story that people can keep hidden, but often that story needs to be heard. No two stories are the same.

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