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What impact does valuing honor have on an individual's life?

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Dominique Lau

on 2 June 2014

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Transcript of What impact does valuing honor have on an individual's life?

“...honour, pleasure, reason, and every virtue we choose indeed for themselves, but we choose them also for the sake of happiness, judging that by means of them we shall be happy” (Aristotle 2).
To start off with,
The Kite Runner
and Aristotle’s “Nicomachean Ethics” demonstrate honor to foster superficial happiness, while eradicating virtue and personal values.
The Kite Runner
, “Nicomachean Ethics”, “Passage about
”, and “Sucker” collectively defines honor to confirm a powerful position in society to develop a reputation benefiting oneself.
The Kite Runner
, “I Was Wounded; My Honor Wasn’t," and “Passage About
” express examples of how honor results in people sacrificing their well being and health.
“‘I don’t care where he was born, he’s
,’ Baba said, grimacing like it was a dirty word. ‘His parents were
, his grandparents were
,’ sometimes I think the only thing he loved as much as his late wife was Afghanistan, his late country” (Hosseini 155).
Honor can be defined in many aspects on account of each individual. It is often seen that honor is perceived to be denoted by the ideas and thoughts of societal pressures, in the same sense that “consent is given from the people.” Regardless of its definition, valuing honor has a significant impact on an individual’s life because as it has been seen throughout
The Kite Runner
, “Passage About
,” “Nicomachean Ethics,” “Sucker,” and “I Was Wounded; My Honor Wasn’t,” those who value honor, value societal opinions and further corrupt the virtuous aspect of life.
What impact does valuing honor
have on an individual's life?


In this quote, Aristotle conveys the message that if one attains honor given from society, then he or she will be happy since they are viewed as great people. Essentially in this case, some people may only recognize happiness because society gives them that feeling of being superior to others, whether it be performing a noble act or standing up for what one believes in. However, happiness is a virtue that roots from within oneself, because it is completely up to the individual to be happy. By saying that people need societal approval to be happy, the question remains of what true happiness really is.
“...Baba decided to build an orphanage...skeptics had urged him to stop his foolishness and hire an architect. Of course, Baba refused, and everyone shook their heads in dismay...then Baba succeeded and everyone shook their heads in awe at his triumphant ways” (Hosseini 13).

Baba built this orphanage as a way to redeem himself from giving away his son because he was embarrassed by his son’s appearance. Already, it is evident that Baba values societal opinions as he was too ashamed to claim his son Hassan, as one of his own. Where one values societal opinions, one values honor. Baba had wanted to prove those who did not think he had the skills to build an orphanage wrong. Due to this negative assumption that society created, Baba felt the need to prove his superiority and reputation. When he succeeded in building the orphanage, the respect from the people increased, thus Baba upheld this honorable, noble image. The true meaning of building this orphanage to redeem himself went awry as he continued to build the orphanage to prove people wrong and further his honor. Conclusively, Baba used honor to build his face in society, but because honor did not impact his virtue and personal values, honor is considered to be superficial.

“I looked at the round face in the Polaroid again...my brother’s face. Hassan had loved me once, loved me in a way that no one ever had or ever would again. He was gone now, but a little part of him lived on. It was in Kabul. Waiting” (Hosseini 227).
Amir treated Hassan with disrespect when they were younger because of two factors: Hassan was a Hazara, and Amir was not aware that they were brothers. After Hassan’s death, Hassan’s son Sohrab was taken to the Taliban. Amir knew that it was his moral duty to save Sohrab to return the kindness that Hassan displayed towards him and to compensate for how miserable he had treated Hassan. Amir encountered many obstacles along the way such as fighting Assef, all because Amir’s actions were virtuous and that there was an emotional connection between him and Sohrab. In the face of love, which strikes emotions within oneself and cannot be generated from societal opinions, Amir did not tell the world of the good deed he was doing. The fact that a large amount of people did not know about this noble feat meant that his honor could not have increased. Therefore, it is clarified that honor is only given from the approval of the people, once again denoting superficial happiness.
“...the young woman’s husband suddenly stood and did something I’d seen many others do before him: He kissed Baba’s hand” (Hosseini 117).
“Further, men seem to pursue honour in order that they may be assured of their goodness” (Aristotle 1).
“...if the guy does something wrong, and you didn’t do something back against him, after this he will have no respect for you” (Krakauer 1).
“She came home, went into the kitchen, set herself on fire and died. The person who told me the story was full of admiration for her selflessness in preserving her husband’s honor” (Abdulali 2).

“...families sometimes engage in deadly feuds that have been known to drag on for decades. At their root, most aspects of Pashtunwali are about preserving honor and respect. And in Pashtun society, respect ultimately derives from demonstrations of strength and courage” (Krakauer 2).
Dominique Lau
Period 2
THEME: Life among the stars; valuing honor imposes a collective impact on every individual in the world, or as shown, every star in the universe.
Baba performs a moral and noble action by standing up to the Russian officer who wanted “a half hour with the lady in the back of the truck” (Hosseini 115). This action of kissing Baba’s hand represents honor, which can be seen as being given from the consent of people. As Baba wants to maintain this grand reputation for himself, he succeeds as the husband of the wife Baba saved gave greater respect. This ties into the broader topic of whether virtue is lost; in this situation it is clear that Baba is performing a moral deed which in turn, results in doing something to gain approval rather than doing something because of its moral values.
As shown in the Victorian Era, the idea that men are supposed to be masculine, noble, and strong with superiority over women has influenced society to this day. By a man performing worthy acts in the face of society, he builds his honor and benefits his reputation. However, the virtuous aspect in honor is questionable; because people tend to do things for societal approval, the true meaning of doing something that is triggered from internal emotions is not something people think about anymore. Society as a whole has taken another path, straying away from morality, and veering towards honor that is defined by the rest of society.
This commander would do anything to maintain his reputation of a well respected and feared commander. He is worried that his honor will be lost in the eyes of the people if he allows one to show lesser respect. Because he does not want to be humiliated, his morality disappears as he enacts violence upon a man by striking him with a rifle stock and throwing him to the ground. Displaying violence is inclined to be associated with strength and courage, both which have the potential to instill fear into others. Fear leads to an angle of respect because people become too frightened to stand up to people like this commander. All ground morals are invisible; reputation and honor are the only things in sight for the commander.

“Sucker used to always remember and believe every word I said...I told him that if he’d jump off our garage with an umbrella it would act as a parachute and he wouldn’t fall hard. He did it and busted his knee...And the funny thing was that no matter how many times he got fooled he would still believe me...He would look at everything I did and quietly take it in” (McCullers 1).
Sucker is a clear example of someone giving honor to another; Sucker gives honor to Pete by placing him on a pedestal and being in awe whenever Pete does something slightly remarkable. Sucker is therefore giving him the power to be superior. With superiority comes honor and power, as shown through Pete making Sucker perform risky and dangerous actions. Pete enjoys his luxurious reputation and expresses signs of power abuse, as these hazardous actions place Sucker in immense danger.

This quote demonstrates Baba’s honor of his country, where his sense of nationalism is very strong. Because Afghanistan and Russia does not get along is its political history, Baba refuses to have any association with a man of Russian ancestry. His honor gets in the way of recovering from cancer, risking his health and life, because Baba does not want to rely on a Russian for medical attention, even in a life or death situation.
In this situation, it is apparent that honor is deemed to be so important that society is indifferent to the fact that lives are being sacrificed. This woman who set herself on fire did so with the intent to save her husband’s honor. It is understandable how she was admired for her selflessness, however in my opinion, the more appropriate feeling that should be conveyed is disgust– disgust in society and the values it upholds today. It is not okay for lives to be sacrificed to preserve the intangible idea of honor. Because her husband cares more about his honor rather than the life of his wife, one can infer that honor corrupts the empathy of people.
These deadly feuds explained in this quote refers to the well being and health of people being sacrificed. Violence is a key indicator to determine who possesses greater strength or courage- whoever displays more, impresses society, giving their consent that the strong are superior. The things people do to confirm and secure their honor is immoral, as the lives of people may be lost the idea of honor is gained.
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