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Characterization in "The Kite Runner"

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by

Anna Hubble

on 2 October 2012

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Transcript of Characterization in "The Kite Runner"

AMIR BABA HASSAN RAHIM
KHAN Characterization in "The Kite Runner" "There was something fascinating - albeit in a sick way - about teasing Hassan."
"He was the ant and I was the magnifying glass." - Hosseini prepares the reader for Amir's betrayal of Hassan.

"Baba saw the world in black and white. You can't love a person who lives that way without fearing him too. Maybe even hating him a little."

Amir and Baba have a difficult relationship - each love the other while resenting them a little as well. "A boy who won't stand up for himself becomes a man who can't stand up for anything"

Baba wants Amir to be more like him, and contantly compares him to both himself and Hassan. Characterization is the method by which the author reveals the characters to the reader by descriptions, metaphors, figurative language, speech.

Characterization has four functions within a story:
Interests the reader
All constructed by the author
Demonstrate themes
Allows the reader to relate to the story Hosseini uses Characterization very effectively in The Kite Runner:
By using Amir as the first person Narrator, the reader is able to see all parts of his character, both good and bad. This is effective because it allows us to see most of Amir's thoughts and feelings, which makes it easier for the reader to relate.
Hassan is used to epitomise goodness - Hassan can suffer without becoming bitter. This is effective because it shows how separate children who have grown up together can be so different.
Hosseini develops the charater of Baba to become more human as the novel progresses. In order to characterise Baba Hosseini uses Place. In Kabul Baba is seen as a ruler, and we see him become more human when he moves to America. He shows flaws, and therefore becomes a more likeable character. "Baba had been a thief. And a thief of the worst kind"

This shows us how Baba wanted to make sure his mistakes wouldn't impact his son's life, and is doing what he thinks is best for his son.
It also shows how this went wrong - Hosseini here is showing how Fathers cannot shape their son's lives, but can impact positively or negatively, and how disillusionment can wreck a relationship - whether percieved or real. "We are their Family"
Here Baba is showing to Amir how he percieves Hassan and Ali. However, he never actually says this to Hassan. Hosseini here is showing us the flaws of a man who wants to appear perfect, and in doing so shows us his flaws. "Baba is holding me, looking tired and grim. I'm in his arms, but it's Rahim Khan's pinkie my fingers are curled around."
Rahim Khan is idealised by Amir (and therefore Hosseini) as a father - he is the understanding confidant of both Hassan and Amir, and is the one they all wish they could talk to. "Hassan told me shortly after it happened"

This shows how central Rahim Khan is to the family - despite going away for long periods. Hosseni here is showing how important it is for a family to have a central figure - Baba thought it was him, the strong, powerful one, but the author is here showing us that it is more important for a family to have a listener like Rahim Khan to tie them all together. "I had been mean to Hassan. I almost apologized, then didn't. Hassan understood I was just nervous. Hassan always understood about me."
This is the assumption of the narrator - a narrator confident in his own supremacy. The author here wants us to understand that as humans we should never assume we are understood - we should always practise humility. This is why he portrays Hassan as the hero of this story. They are brothers (although we don't find out until near the end). Hassan thinks of Amir as a friend; "'For you, a thousand times over.'" However Amir thinks of Hassan as a servant - "'But he's not my friend!' I almost blurted. 'He's my servant!'"
"The curious thing was, I never thought of Hassan and me as friends either"
This is a cyclical event - Baba and Ali (Hassan's father) grew up together as well, but Baba always saw Ali as a servant, not a friend. This is projected onto their sons.
Hosseini here is showing how parents have an effect on the way their children act - whether consciously or unconciously.
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