Hosseini is one of the first people who got me started on the wonderful journey
of reading. I have read all 3 books written by him, which were
excellent. My first book was The Kite Runner as I remember the time when I
didn’t sleep at nights
because I could not put the book down as I was so captivated by the story and
finished the whole book in 4 nights. The way he describes the scenery, sets an
atmosphere of homeliness, and then pours out the emotion of the character into
you. It seemed his pen is a wand and he magnificently portrays emotions. For
many readers like me, his books are read. For
many readers like me, his books are really the first window into the culture of
Afghanistan. I truly was not aware of all the horrors that went on in
Afghanistan at the hands of Soviets, the mujahedeen, and the Taliban. He gave
me a new perspective and opened up my eyes to the harsh realities of what life
can be in Afghanistan, and this realistic approach is what makes his novels so
moving. The other main reason why I choose this novel “The Kite Runner” is it represents the struggle in human life from
childhood to adulthood, where the character “Amir” faces many things which lead
him to make good/bad decisions. It also represents that our childhood has a
very strong influence in our adulthood where in all developmental stages we
face choices, we experience and learn from it, some of them are good and some
are bad. But there is always a room to be good again, to redeem our childhood
mistakes in adulthood. The novel also presents the ambiguity in culture, the
way of life, point of view and education.
The Kite runner made me feels every
emotion to the nerves, undergone by Amir and Hassan, the closest of friends, as
good as brothers, and also experts in the art of kite flying. The two young
boys live in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, and this year they are going to
try harder than ever to win the local kite-fighting tournament and this is
Amir’s one hope of winning his father’s love. But just like the kites battling
in the sky, war comes to Afghanistan, and the country becomes an extremely
dangerous place. In war, people are often forced to make great sacrifices, and
the young Amir himself commits an act of betrayal, towards his best friend
Hassan. Amir and his father are forced to flee Afghanistan for America. Fifteen
years later, Amir ends up back in Afghanistan and makes a very different set of
sacrifices in order to set things straight. The final chapter of the book is
perhaps my favourite, and one that I have found moving even when rereading it.
The message behind the very ending could be interpreted differently by
different readers, but personally I feel that it offers a small sense of hope
for both the future of its characters and perhaps for war-torn Afghanistan as
novel mostly centers on three significant stages of Amir’s life: his childhood
in Afghanistan, his and his father’s early years in California as immigrants
and Amir’s return to Taliban-controlled Afghanistan in 2001. Each of these stages
efficiently focuses a different developmental stage in Amir’s life and the
factors influence his growth. Amir innocence was stolen by him at the age of 12
by his neighbor (Assef). And ultimately Amir took away Hassan’s innocence by
not standing up for him. As Sigmund Freud stated, that every individual human
being has a psychological history that begins from childhood and molds his/her
behavior and learning patterns of adolescent and adulthood. We are unaware of
the fact that we are unconsciously driven by our desires, fears, needs and
conflicts. We do not want to face them open heartily due to fear of being
overwhelmed by them. This happens until we find a way to know or our mind is
mature enough to face the true cause of our reclusive wounds, fear, guilt and
conflicts but till then it patterns our behavior. Same does it happens with
Amir, when he was witnessing Hassan getting raped by Assef, through his
unconscious mind he made a decision which benefits him, not Hassan.
factor that shaped Amir’s reaction is the idea of power, Hosseini showed it
through cultural differences. “In the end, I was a Pashtun and he was a Hazara.
I was Sunni and he was Shi’a, and nothing was ever going to change that,
nothing.” A fact stated by Amir at the start of the novel. Despite of the
fact that they played together, ate together and experienced many events
together there is still a very strong impact of social prejudiced even on a
young child, Amir. The idea of cultural and religious difference in Amir came
from his surroundings because people around him are classifying social and
religion superiority on one another and children are being influenced by it. It
reminds me of Vygotsky’s theory of social construction. That the environment in
which children grow up influenced how they think and what they think about. However,
Amir does show some courage as he continued, “But we were kids, who had
learned to crawl together, and no history, ethnicity, society, or religion was
going to change that either.” Amir also recognized his presence as a
faithful friend. At this point Amir is in state of ambivalence where a person
has two choices, but he is confused to choose one of them. It is described by
Paul Eugen Bleuler, as novel depicts Amir’s character as coward who easily
changes his psyche, sometimes he becomes a brave person and sometimes he does
not. He wants to save Hassan from Assef but he does not have that bravery to
help. But in the end, when he was an adult he saved Hassan’s son from Assef.
The story pictures the real social condition
of Afghanistan and its impact on Amir. Through this novel the writer shows that
Amir is affected by where he is living weather in Afghanistan or California.
Perhaps it’s because Amir adapts easier to living in the United States from his
adolescent. Living in US, Amir
acknowledged that everyone has equal rights; no one is superior to other in
terms of religion or features. Somehow America allows him to take stand for
right and wrong.
The novel not only shared signature tune of
innocence and power but also share lack of parental influence in Amir’s life.
Amir lost his mother at the time of his birth and his father gives him less
attention. Amir is envied with the father-son relation just like Hassan shares
with his father, Ali. Whenever Amir wants to spend time with his father he
finds a closed door of his father’s room.
The one person who gave Amir a positive parental influence is his
father’s friend Rahim Khan. But Amir did not take this influence at heart
because Rahim Khan could not fill his parents place. This lack of parental
influence caused self-destruction and mental instability in Amir and as a
result Amir betrays Hassan. This reminds me of Vygotsky theory, who emphasis on
parent’s role as partners in child learning, because children learn from their
environment and through interactions with “knowledgeable partners”. As we know
children spend most of their time with parents in their early ages, thus
parents play an important role in molding positive behavior in their children.
But when Amir and his father migrated to California and his father’s only focus
was Amir, we see changes in Amir’s patterns of behavior and growth. He turned
into selfless adult and falls in love with Soraya and in the end helped Sohrab
(Hassan’s son) in escaping from Assef’s abduction.
Another important aspect of the novel is kites
and kites flying and its importance in life of Amir. It symbolizes dichotomy
between beauty and violence, remind Amir of his betrayal and redemption but was
also a source to win his baba’s heart and at the end is source of freedom from
his guilt. Memories linked to a certain object or event can trigger good
emotions or bad emotions in you. Unfortunately, negative memories (guilt, shame
or betrayal) have greater impact on you than pleasant ones. Here Jerome Bruner says that learning is an
active process in which leaners construct new ideas and experiences on to the
old one. Amir had a bad experience associated to kite flying tournament in his
childhood, that experience haunts him throughout his life until he sees Sohrab
flying kite in California which turned his bad experience into pleasant one.
Amir unlearnt his old experience in order to construct new experience.
There are many factors which shapes Amir
developmental growth throughout his life. Amir’s growth is analyzed through the
lens of Sigmund Freud theory of unconsciousness, Paul Eugen Bleuler theory of
ambivalence, Vygotsky theory of social constructivism and parental influence,
and lastly by Jerome Burner theory of learning.
We noticed Amir’s growth from self-centered
child to selfless adult. Amir is strongly affected by the environment where he
lived weather in Afghanistan or in California. In Afghanistan Amir experienced
social inequality between people and in California he acknowledged that
everyone has equal rights. Parental influence is also one of the factors in
shaping Amir’s growth. As a child he was subjective by the lack of parental
influence and when his father only focuses on him, his patterns of behavior
changed. The novel discourses that the growth of a child or his cruelty depends
on the role of all these institutions which govern his behavior patterns.
Indifference, neglect, the bullying and dominating attitude of society and parents
inhibit the growth of children and the inevitable result is self-destruction
and trauma. We also noticed Amir’s notion of learning from a child to adult,
how he construct his learning on his prior knowledge and experience.