Religion tends to be followed by many citizens but may be interpreteddifferently amongst many people in societies. The Kite Runner, written by Khaled Hosseini, illustrates how individuals may hurts otherswith their own personal choices and beliefs. The book portrayed how the characterswere divided into two major sects in Afghanistan, the Hazaras and Pashtuns.
Theculture of Afghanistan classified the nation into two groups which describedthe society’s way of living. The distinguishing factor of the two major castes isthat Pashtun’s respect and pride are valued. Their status in Afghanistan ishighly recognized. However, Hazaras are regarded as people from a lower-class societywho are treated with hate and are unaccepted for their standard way of living.Although the two sects follow the same religion and beliefs, one’s action mayresult in chaos due to their individual opinions and class of society. The KiteRunner by Khaled Hosseini illustrates injustice often stems from personal choice, not necessarily frominstitutions. The Kite Runner illustrateshow Baba’s relationship with Amir is different when compared to Hassan. Amirand Hassan are both considered to be a part of diverse groups, the Hazaras andPashtuns.
The book depicted how Baba saw more potential in Hassan as asuccessful individual than his own son, Amir. Amir’s abilities to prove hisfather wrong had failed multiple times in the story. Baba’s thoughts reflectand alters his beliefs being expressed in the story when comparing Amir andHassan.”Self-Defence has nothing to do with the meanness.You know what always happens when the neighborhood boys tease him? Hassan stepsin and fends them off. I’ve seen it with my own boys.
And when they come home,I say to him, ‘How did Hassan get that scrape on his face?” And he says, “Hefell down.’ I’m telling you, Rahim, there is something missing in that boyAmir. (Hosseini, 2003, 18)Imean that. He needs someone who..
.understands him, because God knows I don’t.But something about Amir troubles me in a way that I can’t express. It’slike…
“I could see him searching, reaching for the right words. Helowered his voice, but I heard him anyway.” (Hosseini, 2003, 18) This quote expresses how therelationship of Baba is differentiated between Hassan and Amir. Baba sees more potentialin Hassan than his own son Amir because of the desire to approach certain tasksin a resolved manner. In the following context, Amir is eavesdropping Baba whois having a conversation with Rahim Khan. “Amir troubles me in a way that Ican’t express” shows how Baba feels very concerned with Amir and worried aboutwhether he will succeed as an individual afterwards in life. This internally affectsAmir because he believes he has no value and reducing his self-confidence down becauseof his father is displeased with Amir’s lack of quality being a successfulindividual like Hassan.
However, Baba praises Hassan as quoted, “Hassan stepsin and fends them off.” This quote shows how Hassan has the abilities whichAmir lacks in himself. Throughout thetext, Amir was given many chances by Baba to redeem himself to prove his fatherwrong that Amir will succeed eventually in different scenarios. However, Amirand failed to do so countless times to prove Baba wrong. Religion isn’t atfault here because Baba believed in Amir many times (personal choices) howeverdespite being in the same group, Pashtuns, Baba recognizes the potential Hassanhas over his own son Amir. Injustice isbeing expressed towards Amir because it comes from Baba’s personal choices and beliefs,not from institutions. The book depicted how Amir’s decisions caused alot of chaos and violence which negatively harmed Hassan.
Assef severely rapesHassan for refusing to give up the kite when Amir successfully wins the overallKite tournament, to which Amir was disturbed and shocked. Assef, a Pashtun, believesin chaos and violence. In the following context, he severely rapes Hassan andmocks Amir for interacting with a Hazara. Although Amir and Assef are Pashtuns,Assef mocks Amir because Assef realizes the importance of being a Pashtun meantthat Hazaras must be treated with hate. Amir decides not to do anything becausehis personal choices prevented him from intervening. Amir was ambivalent whenmaking an appropriate decision which was to run away from the situation orinterfere in the fight.
This demonstrated that Amir’s decision to not intervenecame from personal choices, not from institutions. Due to this, Hassan wasforced to fight alone against Assef and the boys. Religion didn’t alter Amir’schoices because Amir knew from his personal choices, he’d stand no chance. “But before you sacrifice yourself forhim, think about this: Would he do the same for you? Why he only plays with youwhen no one else is around?. Because to him, you’re nothing but an ugly pet. Somethinghe can play with when he’s bored, something he can kick when he’s angry.
” (Hosseini,2003,107) “I’ve changed my mind,” Assef said. “I’m lettingyou keep the kite, Hazara. I’ll let you keep it so it will always remind you ofwhat I’m about to do.”. Assef yelped as he flung himself at Hassan, knockinghim to the ground. Wali and Kamal followed.
I bit on my fist. Shut my eyes.” (Hosseini,2003, 107) Amir’s personal choices led him to make apoor decision and allow Hassan to get brutally raped. By not intervening, Amirfelt guilt for not standing up for Hassan despite Hassan had stood up for Amirseveral times based on the philosophy that they are best friends. This incidentillustrates how Amir’s choices had affected Hassan severely. In the following quote,”beforeyou sacrifice yourself for him,”shows how Hassan was practically an “ugly pet” who had no value in society. Amirdidn’t stand up for Hassan because he knew Hassan and Amir stood no chanceagainst Assef and his boys.
As Assef was getting ready to harm Hassan, Amirdecided not to intervene which resulted in Hassan getting raped sternly. Amir’sguilt and betrayal were very significant in the book as it portrayed howinjustice affected Hassan due to his status in the country (Hazara). Religion didnot play a role in Amir’s decision because Amir felt he would stand no chance alongsideHassan against Assef and his boys. Despite Hassan and Amir being in diversegroups, the decision Amir made was because of personal choices, not because ofdiversity in the two major sects, Hazaras and Pashtuns. Furthermore, thepersonal choice of an individual comes from his/her deliberation.
The choice of an individual can severely affecta person’s standard way of living. Amir’sbetrayal and guilt is expressed as he decides to take Hassan’s birthday money toput under Hassan’s mattress. Amir’s intention was to avoid Hassan by allowingHassan to be accused of stealing money and Amir’s watch. This will provoke Hassanand Ali to leave the house for falsely being accused of stealing.
Baba always tellsAmir that “there is no other act more wretched than stealing.” Amir believes ifAli and Hassan are caught stealing, they’d have to face the consequences. Amir’spersonal decision illustrates the injustice that affects the other individualswho are superior to Pashtuns.
“Theystood before Baba, hand in hand, and I wondered how and when I’d become capableof causing this kind of pain.” (Hosseini, 2003, 111) “Did you steal that money? Did you stealAmir’s watch, Hassan?” Hassan’s reply was a single word, delivered in athin, raspy voice: “Yes.” (Hosseini, 2003, 111)”Iflinched, like I’d been slapped. My heart sank and I almost blurted out the truth.Then I understood: This was Hassan’s final sacrifice for me.
If he’d said no, Babawould have believed him because we all knew Hassan never lied.” (Hosseini,2003, 111) The decision Amir had madenot only affected him, but the lives of two Hazaras (Ali and Hassan). Amir sensedhow “capable” he is “causing this kind of pain.” It depicts how his owndecisions are ones that he regrets and possibly will regret for the rest of hislife. When Hassan falsely acknowledges that he had stolen the money and Amir’swatch, Amir felt as if he had been “slapped” and his “heart sank.” Thisdepicted the injustice he created with one decision affecting others aroundhim. The decision Hassan made was also significant in the book because it was a”final sacrifice” for Amir.
In the text, Amir recognizes his guilt 20 yearslater when he has to rescue Hassan’s orphaned son. Religion was insignificantin this case because Amir believed his guilt and betrayal was difficult to livewith. Despite Hassan having Amir’s back through thick and thin, Amir’s personalchoices tells him that he must take action to get Hassan out of his sights.This wasn’t because of Hassan’s status in Afghanistan, but it was because ofAmir’s choices which led him to do the wrong thing that affected Hassan andAli.
Both Amir and Hassan had given justice and injustice based on theirpersonal decisions which also refers to how injustice and justice (in thiscase) is based on personal choices, not from institutions. Furthermore, the Kite Runner illustrates thesignificant ways which religion can divide a nation into two major sects..