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The Kite Runner - Courage - ISP

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Sophia Viti

on 24 July 2013

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Transcript of The Kite Runner - Courage - ISP

The Kite Runner
by: Alex, Sophia, Niko, & Marcus

Synopsis
The novel begins with Amir, the main character and narrator, recalling something that happened twenty six years prior. Amir as a young boy lived in Kabul, Afghanistan with his father Baba and his servants Ali and Hassan. Baba tries to hide that Hassan is his son because he had him with a Hazara woman. Hazaras being the ethnic minority in Afghanistan and lower class, it is frowned upon for Pashtuns (Baba and Amir) to associate so closely with them. Baba sees Ali as a brother however never truly expresses his feelings. Amir and Hassan are best friends but due to the fact that Hassan is a Hazara there is a constant strain between the two. Baba and Amir have never been very close and Amir feels it is due to the fact that his mother died giving birth to him. The winter kite tournament gives Amir the chance to redeem himself to his father. Boys cover their kites in glass and fight each other trying to take the other kites down. Amir wins the tournament and Hassan runs with his kite for him showing everyone he has won. While running through the streets with Amir's kite, Hassan encounters a group of Pashtun boys, one of which is Assef. After some time waiting for Hassan to return, Amir goes searching for him. He sees Hassan getting raped by Assef but does nothing to stop him. The novel focuses on Amir's search for redemption and the guilt he feels for witnessing Hassan's raping and not stopping it. The novel skips to the future, Amir being a grown man living in the United States after escaping with his father. He hears of Hassan's death and he has left his son Sohrab who is still in Afghanistan. Sohrab is a servant to Assef, being sexually abused. Amir travels so Afghanistan saving Sohrab and adopting him finally putting his guilt to rest and doing it all for Hassan.




Thesis
In Khaled Hosseini’s novel The Kite Runner an outstanding theme that is seen throughout is that of courage and bravery. It is seen through the characters of Baba, Hassan, and Amir.




Intro
Khaled Hosseini's 'The Kite Runner' shows that Baba, a very strong and self-assured man, performs many seemingly courageous acts. Involving saving an Afghan woman from the Russian soldier and not being afraid of his incurable disease. However, he is not the bravest character, because he never overcomes fear. A character that reveals more bravery is Hassan. Despite his timidity steps out for Amir every time he is in trouble or in danger. Finally, it is Amir who portrays the most courage, because all his actions, including saving his nephew's life by coming to Afghanistan and fighting Assef, are an outcome of unavoidable fear, which he masters. Therefore, the bravest character is the one who has the most fear, but ultimately overcomes it throughout the story.
Baba is the least brave character. His actions are simply his established instincts to help others.
Major Characters
Amir:
The narrator and protagonist in the story, he is sensitive and intelligent. He is the son of Baba. In the novel we see him go back and forth between being a loyal friend to Hassan, and betraying him. He is a gifted story teller and grows up to become a writer.
Hassan:
Amir's best friend and half brother, he is also a servant to Baba and Amir. He is a brave, selfless, and intelligent individual.
Baba:
He is the father of Amir, and Hassan. He is a wealthy and well-respective businessman. He is a seemingly courageous, strong man.
Sohrab:
Son of Hassan and his wife Farzana. He is later rescued and adopted by Amir and his wife, and becomes the central focus of the plot.
Assef:
Hassan's and Sohrab's rapist. In the novel he is the antagonist.
Hazara & Pashtun Conflicts
The Hazaras:
The peasant class in Afghanistan. A small ethnic group that makes up ten to fifteen percent of the population. Hassan and his father figure Ali are apart of this ethnic group.
The Pashtuns:
The upper class in Afghanistan, they make up half the population. Baba, Amir and Assef are apart of this ethnic group.
Point #1 - Baba
Symbols
The Cleft Lip:


• Amir refers to this most when describing Hassan.
• It acts as a mark of Hassan’s status as a Hazara
• It separates him from Amir
• Baba chooses to pay a surgeon to fix his lip
• Later in the novel Amirs lip is split by Assef
• This scar signifies the bond between Amir and Hassan

The Kite:
• Kites signifies Amirs happiness as a child as well as his guilt
• It was the only way he could connect with Baba
• Amir allows Hassan to be raped only to save the blue kite he won to bring back to Baba
• He does not fly a kite ever again until he is with Sohrab, because of the guilt he felt



The Lamb:
• In Islam the lamb symbolizes innocence
• Amir describes Hassan and Sohrab as looking like lambs waiting to be slaughtered
• During Hassan’s rape, Amir describes him looking like a lamb that signifies his innocence being taken from him
• Assef put mascara on Sohrabs eyes, just as they used to do to the sheep in Afghanistan before they were slaughtered
• In both cases innocence was lost

Baba is inherently a strong and fearless man. He is a "force of nature...and [has] a black glare that would drop the devil to his knees begging for mercy" (13).
Baba defends an Afghan woman from being sexually abused by a Russian soldier without a doubt in his mind. It always appears that Baba is a hero, because "it is not in his nature" (115) to let bad behaviors go unoticed around him.
Baba never shows any signs of fear or panic when he discovers, from his doctor, that he has a suspicious spot in his lungs. "Baba even [guesses] casually"(154) that the spot found in his lungs is cancerous.
Point #2 - Hassan
Hassan is a much braver character than Baba. Despite his fears, he still sacrifices himself for the people he loves.
As Hassan tries to protect Amir he speaks "so flatly that even [Amir] has to strain to hear the fear he knows is hiding under that calm voice" (42).
Hassan decides to keep the kite that is so valuble to Amir and courageously takes the challenge that Assef opposes, even though the "fear crept into Hassan's eyes" (72)
When Hassan confirms that he has stolen Amir's watch "his head is downcast and his shoulders are slumped"(107).
Point #3 - Amir
Ultimately, the character who demonstrates the most bravery by overcoming fear and taking action is Amir.
In spite of fear, Amir sacrifices his new life in America and decides to find his nephew, Sorab, in Afghanistan not knowing the possible consequeses, knowing that "Kabul is a dangerous place" (221).
When Amir is at Ghazi Stadium he forces himself to look at a couple being stoned to death, even though "[he] had never in [his] life wanted to be away from a place as badly as [he] did now"(269).
Amir fights Assef to save Sorab's life, although "[he] wishes Baba were standing alongside [him]"(273).
Redemption
One of the main themes seen throughout the novel

Amir's mother's death makes him seek redemption from his father

Baba tells Amir "a boy who doesn’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything."

Kite tournament, proving he is brave and strong like his father

The more apparent search for redemption stems from the guilt regarding Hassan's raping

The guilt Amir feels as a child drives him to frame Hassan for stealing one of Baba's watches and Baba fires Hassan and Ali

Amir never sees Hassan again not being able to face the guilt

Many years later, after Hassan's death, Amir adopts his son Sohrab and saves him from a life of abuse
After so many years, Amir can put the guilt he has felt to rest

Proves Baba underestimated how strong he was


Work Cited
"The Kite Runner." The Kite Runner. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 July 2013 (http://therunkiter.wordpress.com/a-list-of-important-themes)
Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. New York: Riverhead, 2003. Print
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