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“The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini

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In the “Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini the ‘fragile relationships between fathers and sons’ is a significant idea. Throughout the text the author relies on a few key incidents to reveal the theme to the reader.

An important incident at the start of the novel reveals Amirs selfishness as he expresses his want to have his father all to himself. “…I lied and said Hassan was sick. I wanted Baba (father) all to myself”. Amir does not want his socially inferior servant (Hassan) to interfere as he desperately wants his father to love and accept him. Even from the outset we see that Amir yearns to be accepted by his father. Furthermore, this belief and dialogue foreshadows Amirs subsequent actions in a later incident in which he sacrifices Hassan for the perceived acceptance of his father.

Baba’s unwillingness to accept Amir is outlined in an incident pertaining to Amirs story. Like his now deceased mother, Amir loves to read and write. He writes a story and proudly presents it to Baba. Baba rejects him “I (Amir) felt like I was breathing bricks…Baba kept on staring me down and didn’t offer to read.” Amir is devastated. “Usually I worshipped Baba with an intensity approaching the religious – but right then I wished I could open my veins and drain all his cursed blood from my body” and “I sat on my bed and wished Rahim Kahn ( Baba’s friend) had been my father.” Both support this notion.

Baba wants Amir to conform to his ideals; “Real men didn’t read poetry and god forbid they should ever write it. Real men played soccer just as Baba had done when he was young”. This fragility in their relationship is a direct result of Baba’s unwillingness and inability to accept Amir for who he really is. This incident reveals their conflicting beliefs and portrays such fragility. If Baba had just accepted Amir for who he was the future tragedy involving Hassan would have been prevented. As Rahim Khan said “Children aren’t colouring books, you don’t get to full them in with your favourite colours”.

Amir and his father have one thing in common – Kite Running. Amir attempts to win a local kite flying tournament to win the acceptance and love of his father. During this incident, Hassan attempts to gather the last kite that has fallen from the sky for Amir – it is considered a treasure in Afghani society. Hassan confronts a local bully called Assef in his quest to gain the blue kite and Assef rapes Hassan, who “loyal as a dog” refuses to yield the Kite as he knows how much Amir yearns for it. Amir arrives in time to stop this tragic sodomy but does nothing ” I could step into that alley and stand up for Hassan just like he stood up for me many times in the past or I could run… I ran” proves his cowardice. Amir returns later to collect the kite with the following attitude “…Hassan was the price I had to pay… the lamb I had to slay to win Baba.” In this pivotal incident Amir selfishly ruins his friend’s innocence and sacrifices him for the perceived love and acceptance of his father – the blue kite being the symbol of their bond. If Baba had accepted Amir from the outset this would have undoubtedly never taken place.

In the novel “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini the ‘fragility of father son relationships’ is a prominent theme. Hosseini reveals this theme to us in a few key incidents. He wants us to realise the importance of father/son relationships. Through Amirs tragic character we learn of the problems that can occur when these relationships go bad. It is important for parents to love unconditionally and support their children and their interests. As young people, we face many problems in life and having a strong relationship with you’re father is conducive to a sold adulthood as you can always have someone to fall back on for support – as would not be the case if the relationship was fragile. Amir had no one to rely on; he was a confused little boy and consequently sacrificed his friend in an attempt to conform to his fathers ideals.

These days there are many external pressures (e.g. media) urging us to conform to the ‘ideal reality’ (drugs, sex, booze etc.) all being commonplace. Without strong family ties it can become hard to resist such pressure or even know what is right. Family never rejects you, they always stay by your side and they inculcate the much needed maxims of morality that are constantly lacking in today’s society. Thus it is important to know your parents, trust and confide in then and imbibe their wisdom. Hosseini shows us the repercussions of a bad relationship in a few select incidents to purposely shock us and make us come to realise the importance of trust and acceptance in a father/son relationship. As Shakespeare said: “It is a wise father that knows his son”.

Sources:’The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini

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