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Father-son relationship

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by

A Lee

on 19 December 2013

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Transcript of Father-son relationship

Quotes
#1: "Baba slapped my hand away. 'Haven't I taught you anything?' he snapped." pg.122
The quotation reveals that there is tension between Baba and Amir, with Baba viewing him almost with disgust. Amir feels that he constantly disappoints his father by not living up to his expectations. Baba feels that his son should be more courageous and follow the values that constitute a man. The tension and miscommunication between them is a major part of their relationship.
Characters
Baba and Amir
Baba is Amir's father and has a strong personality. Amir, on the other hand, is shy and quiet, a lover of writing and poetry. Baba is initially disappointed in Amir's attitude and interests. He is annoyed that his son is nothing like him. Amir often feels hated or ignored by Baba and strives to gain his approval by pretending to enjoy sports, writing stories, and eventually, winning the kite-fighting contest. Their relationship improves over the course of the novel as Baba realizes that he can't change Amir and is proud of who he's become. Amir's undying admiration for Baba hits reality in America when he is forced to take care of Baba. Though they had many differences, their relationship persevered despite the clash of personalities.
Settings
Kabul
While living in Kabul, Baba acted coldly towards Amir. Amir's interests, such as writing and poetry, were not supported by Baba. The two shared one hobby, buzkashi, which they watched together once per year. Due to their lack of common interests, Bab was callous towards Amir, rarely acknowledging his accomplishments. As a result, Amir constantly sought his father's attention. Amir gains his father's approval by winning the kite fighting tournament, but allows Hassan to be raped in exchange for the final cut kite in order for Baba to be proud of him.
Conflict and Resolution
There are numerous conflicts occurring in
The Kite Runner
. Throughout these conflicts, father-son relationships are stretched to the point of breaking. An example of this is when Amir and Baba are forced to move to America. Throughout the journey, Baba stands up for people, such as the woman in the truck, while Amir protests his actions in fear. This causes Baba to be ashamed of his son, viewing him with contempt. The relationship between Amir and Sohrab during their stay in Pakistan is full of conflict. Amir is forced to tell Sohrab that he must stay in an orphanage. Sohrab attempts to kill himself and lives, eventually ending up in America with Amir. He is silent for many months and their relationship is all but destroyed. The resolution reveals that the father-son relationship is actually strengthened by the conflict. For Baba and Amir, the hardship they went through to get to America manifests itself in a stronger bond between the two in the unfamiliar country. Amir learns through Sohrab's suicide attempt how much he loves him and their relationship is deepened in the end. This shows that through conflict and resolution, bonds between fathers and sons are first stretched then strengthened.
Quotes continued...
#3: "Baba and I lived in the same house but in different spheres of existence. Kites were the one paper-thin slice of intersection between those two spheres." pg.52
This quote represents the distant relationship that Baba and Amir possess, and how the kite is Amir's only chance for Baba's approval. Baba doesn't care about what Amir does, except if it embarasses him. Amir, on the other hand, craves Baba's love and goes to great lengths to receive it, even allowing his friend to be raped.
The Kite Runner
Father-Son Relationships
Thesis
In Khaled Hosseini's
The Kite Runner
, the author explores the idea that a father-son relationship can persist throughout trials. This is exemplified in the characters and their literal relationships, the settings of increasing hardship, the resolution of conflicts, and the communication between fathers and sons.
By Maddie Adams, Aidan Lee, Stephanie House, Aisha Alhaj, and Hohint Wat
Quotes
"It is not flesh and blood, but the heart which makes us fathers and sons." -Johann Schiller
"'I am
moftakhir
, Amir,' he said. Proud"
- Baba to Amir on his graduation day, pg. 139
Ali and Hassan
Although Ali and Hassan are not related by blood, they have a very close relationship. Ali treats Hassan kindly and lovingly, often times making Amir jealous. Hassan was never aware that Ali was not his real father, and was completely open with him, even telling Ali about his rape. Despite the fact that Ali knew he had not fathered Hassan, he loved him like a son and make sacrifices for his comfort, such as leaving Baba's house when Hassan's relationship with Amir became strained.
Baba and Hassan
Hassan was never told that Ali was not his father,but he was Babas son. The secret was kept so people would not view Baba as less of a person having cheated on his wife. Though Baba was unable to be a proper father to Hassan he was still able to show he cared for him through smaller actions. He never missed his birthday, and brought him along when taking Amir out along with hiring a doctor to fix Hassan's harelip, all things would not give away that Baba is his Father.
Hassan and Sohrab
Hassan has a son after he grows up away from Amir. Sohrab lives with his father for only a few short years before Hassan is shot by the Taliban. Their relationship is sweet and full. They both adore each other and Hassan delights in teaching Sohrab skills such as reading, writing, and using a slingshot. The bond between them is what Amir always longed for with Baba, yet it is cruelly ripped from them. They also share the connection of both having been raped by Assef. Their personalities, experiences, and features are extremely similar, therefore making their relationship even more significant.
Rahim Khan and Amir
Amir and Rahim Khan are not related by blood, but Rahim Khan was much more supportive of Amir in his youth than Baba ever was. While Bab was upset that Amir did not become his ideal son, Rahim Khan accepts Amir's aspiration to become a writer, giving him a book to write stories in and sending him an encouraging letter regarding Amir's first story.
America
Baba and Amir move to America to escape the Soviet Union Invasion. The unfamiliar territory affects their relationship strongly. Baba becomes more dependent on Amir to help him navigate the new culture, language, and country. The flea market shows how Baba wants to be surrounded by Afghans and how Amir would rather blend into the crowd of Americans. He is more sure of himself, causing Baba to be proud of him, and eventually improving their relationship. Amir win's Baba's approval when he commits to marrying Soraya, convincing Baba that he is a brave man.
Comparison
Kabul and America differ in many aspects. They have different cultures, languages, cities and people. When Amir and Baba move away from Kabul Baba loses the friends he had, such as Rahim Khan. The two are forced to grow closer because they spend more time together. Because of the change in setting, Amir and Baba grow closer and strengthen their relationship by relying heavily upon each other.
Amir and Sohrab
Amir is left to take care of Sohrab after he is orphaned by the Taliban. The relationship Amir and Sohrab possess is not the ordinary father-son relationship, it is based upon Amir's last chance for redemption and the only opportunity Sohrab has of a better life. Their relationship lacks emotions due to Sohrab's severe depression, which eventually leads to him being mute, and Amir and Soraya's depression over having no children of their own. Amir's desire to please Sohrab is evident from the joy he portrays when running down the kite for Sohrab at the end of the novel.
#2: "There is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft. Do you understand that?" pg.19
This lesson from Baba gives Amir the basis at his conscience. Throughout the novel, as Amir grows and sorts out his priorities, this lesson stays in the back of his mind. He begins to see the wisdom in his father's words and chooses to live by them. The irony in this statement is that Amir later finds that his father committed theft towards him by hiding the truth behind Hassan's conception. Once realizing this he begins to seek atonement, forgiveness and retribution from those around him, just as his father had tried to do during his lifetime.
#5: "'Think of something good,' Baba said in my ear. 'Something happy.'" pg.129
This quote reveals the beginning of a character change in Baba. As they begin to make their move to America, Baba begins to become more affectionate as he realizes that Amir is the only person he has left. This becomes a beacon of hope for Amir in the midst of his journey in the terrible atmosphere of the gasoline truck with all the fumes.
#4: "'You bring me shame . . . This is home and we're his family. Don't you ever ask me that question again!'" pg. 95
When Amir asks Baba if they would ever replace Hassan and Ali with new servants, Baba becomes very angry. Since Baba and Ali were raised as brothers, Baba feels an emotional attachment to him and is reluctant to let him leave. In addition, Baba is Hassan's true father, and Baba loves him too much to separate from him. Amir's question infuriates Baba, as he has never once considered replacing Ali and Hassan and is upset that Amir views them as disposable. Baba thought that he had instilled Amir with better values, and his query makes Baba realize that this is not the case.
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