KhalidHosseini is one of the first people who got me started on the wonderful journeyof reading.
I have read all 3 books written by him, which wereexcellent. My first book was The Kite Runner as I remember the time when Ididn’t sleep at nightsbecause I could not put the book down as I was so captivated by the story andfinished the whole book in 4 nights. The way he describes the scenery, sets anatmosphere of homeliness, and then pours out the emotion of the character intoyou.
It seemed his pen is a wand and he magnificently portrays emotions. Formany readers like me, his books are read. Formany readers like me, his books are really the first window into the culture ofAfghanistan. I truly was not aware of all the horrors that went on inAfghanistan at the hands of Soviets, the mujahedeen, and the Taliban. He gaveme a new perspective and opened up my eyes to the harsh realities of what lifecan be in Afghanistan, and this realistic approach is what makes his novels somoving. The other main reason why I choose this novel “The Kite Runner” is it represents the struggle in human life fromchildhood to adulthood, where the character “Amir” faces many things which leadhim to make good/bad decisions.
It also represents that our childhood has avery strong influence in our adulthood where in all developmental stages weface choices, we experience and learn from it, some of them are good and someare bad. But there is always a room to be good again, to redeem our childhoodmistakes in adulthood. The novel also presents the ambiguity in culture, theway of life, point of view and education. The Kite runner made me feels everyemotion to the nerves, undergone by Amir and Hassan, the closest of friends, asgood as brothers, and also experts in the art of kite flying. The two youngboys live in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, and this year they are going totry harder than ever to win the local kite-fighting tournament and this isAmir’s one hope of winning his father’s love. But just like the kites battlingin the sky, war comes to Afghanistan, and the country becomes an extremelydangerous place. In war, people are often forced to make great sacrifices, andthe young Amir himself commits an act of betrayal, towards his best friendHassan.
Amir and his father are forced to flee Afghanistan for America. Fifteenyears later, Amir ends up back in Afghanistan and makes a very different set ofsacrifices in order to set things straight. The final chapter of the book isperhaps my favourite, and one that I have found moving even when rereading it.The message behind the very ending could be interpreted differently bydifferent readers, but personally I feel that it offers a small sense of hopefor both the future of its characters and perhaps for war-torn Afghanistan aswell.Thenovel mostly centers on three significant stages of Amir’s life: his childhoodin Afghanistan, his and his father’s early years in California as immigrantsand Amir’s return to Taliban-controlled Afghanistan in 2001. Each of these stagesefficiently focuses a different developmental stage in Amir’s life and thefactors influence his growth. Amir innocence was stolen by him at the age of 12by his neighbor (Assef).
And ultimately Amir took away Hassan’s innocence bynot standing up for him. As Sigmund Freud stated, that every individual humanbeing has a psychological history that begins from childhood and molds his/herbehavior and learning patterns of adolescent and adulthood. We are unaware ofthe fact that we are unconsciously driven by our desires, fears, needs andconflicts. We do not want to face them open heartily due to fear of beingoverwhelmed by them. This happens until we find a way to know or our mind ismature enough to face the true cause of our reclusive wounds, fear, guilt andconflicts but till then it patterns our behavior. Same does it happens withAmir, when he was witnessing Hassan getting raped by Assef, through hisunconscious mind he made a decision which benefits him, not Hassan. Secondfactor that shaped Amir’s reaction is the idea of power, Hosseini showed itthrough 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 thefact that they played together, ate together and experienced many eventstogether there is still a very strong impact of social prejudiced even on ayoung child, Amir. The idea of cultural and religious difference in Amir camefrom his surroundings because people around him are classifying social andreligion superiority on one another and children are being influenced by it. Itreminds me of Vygotsky’s theory of social construction. That the environment inwhich 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 hadlearned to crawl together, and no history, ethnicity, society, or religion wasgoing to change that either.” Amir also recognized his presence as afaithful friend. At this point Amir is in state of ambivalence where a personhas two choices, but he is confused to choose one of them.
It is described byPaul Eugen Bleuler, as novel depicts Amir’s character as coward who easilychanges his psyche, sometimes he becomes a brave person and sometimes he doesnot. He wants to save Hassan from Assef but he does not have that bravery tohelp. But in the end, when he was an adult he saved Hassan’s son from Assef. The story pictures the real social conditionof Afghanistan and its impact on Amir.
Through this novel the writer shows thatAmir 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 hisadolescent. Living in US, Amiracknowledged that everyone has equal rights; no one is superior to other interms of religion or features. Somehow America allows him to take stand forright and wrong. The novel not only shared signature tune ofinnocence 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 lessattention. Amir is envied with the father-son relation just like Hassan shareswith his father, Ali. Whenever Amir wants to spend time with his father hefinds a closed door of his father’s room.
The one person who gave Amir a positive parental influence is hisfather’s friend Rahim Khan. But Amir did not take this influence at heartbecause Rahim Khan could not fill his parents place. This lack of parentalinfluence caused self-destruction and mental instability in Amir and as aresult Amir betrays Hassan. This reminds me of Vygotsky theory, who emphasis onparent’s role as partners in child learning, because children learn from theirenvironment and through interactions with “knowledgeable partners”. As we knowchildren spend most of their time with parents in their early ages, thusparents 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 focuswas Amir, we see changes in Amir’s patterns of behavior and growth. He turnedinto 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 kitesand kites flying and its importance in life of Amir. It symbolizes dichotomybetween beauty and violence, remind Amir of his betrayal and redemption but wasalso a source to win his baba’s heart and at the end is source of freedom fromhis guilt. Memories linked to a certain object or event can trigger goodemotions or bad emotions in you. Unfortunately, negative memories (guilt, shameor betrayal) have greater impact on you than pleasant ones. Here Jerome Bruner says that learning is anactive process in which leaners construct new ideas and experiences on to theold one. Amir had a bad experience associated to kite flying tournament in hischildhood, that experience haunts him throughout his life until he sees Sohrabflying 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 Amirdevelopmental growth throughout his life. Amir’s growth is analyzed through thelens of Sigmund Freud theory of unconsciousness, Paul Eugen Bleuler theory ofambivalence, Vygotsky theory of social constructivism and parental influence,and lastly by Jerome Burner theory of learning. We noticed Amir’s growth from self-centeredchild to selfless adult.
Amir is strongly affected by the environment where helived weather in Afghanistan or in California. In Afghanistan Amir experiencedsocial inequality between people and in California he acknowledged thateveryone has equal rights. Parental influence is also one of the factors inshaping Amir’s growth. As a child he was subjective by the lack of parentalinfluence and when his father only focuses on him, his patterns of behaviorchanged. The novel discourses that the growth of a child or his cruelty dependson the role of all these institutions which govern his behavior patterns.
Indifference, neglect, the bullying and dominating attitude of society and parentsinhibit the growth of children and the inevitable result is self-destructionand 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.