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Bullying in 'The Kite Runner'

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Christa Schmidt

on 7 June 2011

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Transcript of Bullying in 'The Kite Runner'

Bullying Present in: The Kite Runner Definition “Bullying is when someone uses superior strength or influence to intimidate someone, typically to force him or her to do what one wants. It is when a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.” Different Types of
Bullying Intimidation
Intimidation is when a bully threatens someone else and frightens that person enough to make him or her do what the bully wants.

Verbal
Verbal bullying is name-calling, making offensive remarks, or joking about a person's religion, gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, their inability to do something or the way they look. Verbal aggression is when a bully teases someone or makes the person feel bad.

Physical
Physical bullying includes any physical contact that would hurt or injure a person like hitting, kicking, punching, etc. Taking something that belongs to someone else and destroying it would also be considered a type of physical bullying. Bullying Among the Characters Hassan
Hassan is a common target of bullying among the children of Afghanistan. Hassan is known as Hazara, a servant boy, worthless and unnecessary in most eyes, which make him a target for the local bully, Assef who despises Hassan’s kind, and others who look down upon Hassan’s people.

In chapter 4, we learn that Amir uses verbal abuse to mock Hassan for being illiterate.

'My favourite part of reading to Hassan was when we came across a big word that he didn’t know. I'd tease him, expose his ignorance.' (Ch.4, pg 30, para.3)

In chapter 8, Amir is once again bullying Hassan, but this time, he uses physical bullying instead of verbal.

'I hurled the pomegranate at him. It struck him in the chest, exploded in a spray of red pulp. Hassan’s cry was pregnant with surprise and pain.' (Ch. 8, pg. 98, para.2)

Hassan is not only bullied by his “friend”, but is bullied by a soldier they see when taking a shortcut home in chapter 2. The soldier uses verbal abuse towards Hassan, making offensive remarks and gestures about his mother. Hassan is again bullied, but this time by the local bully: Assef. In chapter 5, Assef uses verbal abuse towards Hassan. He first greets Hassan by saying,

“Good morning, kunis!” (Ch. 5, pg. 42, para. 3) - Kunis meaning “fag”.

He uses verbal abuse towards Hassan once again, insulting not only Hassan, but his father:

'He tipped his chin to Hassan. “Hey, Flat-Nose,” he said. “How is Babalu?” (Chapter 5, pg. 42, para. 4)
[Assef refers Hassan’s father to the nickname the children use when taunting Ali.]

Hassan is once again bullied by Assef when the bully and his 2 accomplices corner Hassan in the alley and use verbal bullying and physical bullying towards Hassan. Assef uses verbal bullying against Hassan when he talks about how Amir only uses Hassan and that Amir only sees Hassan as a servant, not a friend; he tries to make Hassan feel worthless and intimidated so he would give them the kite.

'But before you sacrifice yourself for him, think about this: Would he do the same for you? Have you ever wondered why he never includes you in games when he has guests? Why he only plays with you when no one else is around? I'll tell you why, Hazara. Because to him, you're nothing but an ugly pet. Something he can play with when he's bored, something he can kick when he's angry. Don't ever fool yourself and think you're something more."
"Amir agha and I are friends," Hassan said. He looked flushed. "Friends?" Assef said, laughing. "You pathetic fool! Someday you'll wake up from your little fantasy and learn just how good of a friend he is. Now, bas! Enough of this. Give us that kite.” (Ch. 7, pg. 77, para. 6)

When Hassan refuses to give the bullies the kite he worked hard to get for Amir, they jump Hassan.

'Then he charged. Hassan hurled the rock. It struck Assef in the forehead. Assef yelped as he flung himself at Hassan, knocking him to the ground. Wali and Kamal followed.' (Ch. 7, pg. 78, para. 5)

Not only did the three teenagers beat Hassan up, but after, Assef asserts more physical bullying to Hassan by raping him. Ali

Amir not only bullies the only friend he truly has, but he bullies Hassan’s father, Ali, as well. In chapter 2, we see Amir making fun of the way Ali looks, trying to mimic the way Ali walks because of his condition.

'I was walking behind him, humming, trying to imitate his walk. I watched him swing his scraggy leg in a sweeping arc, watched his whole body tilt impossibly to the right every time he planted that foot. It seemed a minor miracle he didn’t tip over with each step. When I tried it, I almost fell into the gutter. That got me giggling.' (Ch. 2, pg. 8-9, para. 3)


In the book, we see that Ali is bullied constantly. When walking down the streets, Ali is constantly bullied with verbal insults and mockery by children and teenagers about his conditions.

'They chased him on the street, and mocked him when he hobbled by. Some had taken to calling him Babalu, or Boogeyman. “Hey Babalu, who did you eat today?” they barked to a chorus of laughter. “Who did you eat, you flat-nosed Babalu?”(Ch. 2, pg. 9, para. 2)

We also discover that Sanaubar, Ali’s wife, uses verbal bullying as well towards her husband to tease and put him down for his looks.

'But despite sharing ethnic heritage and family blood, Sanaubar joined the neighbourhood kids in taunting Ali. I have heard that she made no secret of her distain for his appearance. “This is a husband?” she would sneer. “I have seen old donkeys better suited to be a husband.” (Ch. 2, pg. 10, para. 4)

When Hassan was born, Sanaubar used verbal bullying once again towards Ali, and also towards Hassan, insulting the two on their looks and intelligence.

'...Sanaubar had taken one glance at the baby in Ali’s arms, seen the cleft lip, and barked a bitter laughter.
“There,” she had said. “Now you have your own idiot child to do all your smiling for you!” (Ch.2, pg. 11, para. 3) Amir

Amir’s father is a successful business man, an influential person who is well respected and loved by his neighbors and countryman. Therefore, Amir is granted a privileged existence among his peers which helps prevent him from being bullied by most of his peers.

In chapter 5, Assef attacks Amir with intimidation and verbal bullying. He calls Amir and his father “idiots” for having Hazara’s in their home, and then mocks him for being a Hazara’s friend. He then uses intimidation towards Amir by putting on his brass knuckles, giving the gesture that he intends to hurt Amir. Citizens

In chapter 10, a Russian soldier uses intimidation against everyone in the truck fleeing for safety. He uses intimidation by saying that the only way they could keep travelling to freedom was if he got a half hour alone with the one woman in the truck.
Karim cleared his throat, dropped his head.
Said the soldier wanted half hour with the lady in the back of the truck. (Ch.10, pg. 121, para. 1)

“It’s his price for letting us pass,” Karim said. (Ch. 10, pg, 121, para 3)

When Amir goes to visit Rahim Khan, their conversation goes towards the Taliban. Here, we learn at how Rahim was subjected to physical and verbal bullying.
Kabul scored a goal and the man next to me cheered loudly. Suddenly this young bearded fellow who was patrolling the aisles, eighteen years old at most by the look of him, he walked up to me and struck me on the forehead with the butt of his Kalashnikov. ‘Do that again and I’ll cut out your tongue, you old donkey!’ he said.” Rahim Khan rubbed the scar with a gnarled finger “I was old enough to be his grandfather and I was sitting there, blood gushing down my face, apologizing to that son of a dog.” (Ch. 15, pg. 209, para. 1)
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