Khaled Hosseini's "The Kite Runner" portrays many issues of conflict. Choose four examples of conflict and discuss how they contribute to the success of the novel.
Khaled Hosseini's "The Kite Runner" portrays many issues of conflict. Choose four
examples of conflict and discuss how they contribute to the success of the novel.
Khaled Hosseini’s “The Kite Runner” explores many themes through which internal and external conflicts are portrayed. The conflicts that are depicted is a major facet in developing the main characters and also adds suspense to the story line which overall makes the novel successful. The salient conflicts that are portrayed in the novel consist of Amir’s guilt and search for redemption due to not trying to prevent Hassan’s rape, the relationship between Baba and Amir which is subject to so many fluctuations in love and hate, the different views on religion that arise in the novel, and the constant prejudice against the Hazara’s in Afghanistan.
The conflict of Amir’s search for redemption is articulated in the introduction when Amir says, “it was my past of unatoned sins” and then he alludes to what Rahim Khan said to him “There is a way to be good again.” This indicates to the reader that Amir had perpetrated a sin in his past that he regrets and feels he needs atone for. His misdemeanor is revealed to the reader after the kite-flying competition when he failed to prevent Hassan’s rape. This leaves Amir scarred with guilt and the first symptoms of the ramification it has on him is perceived when he declares on his first night in Jalalabad “That was the first night I became an insomniac” This highlights that his guilt has surpassed the troubled feeling in his mind and reached a point where it has started to have negative effects on his physical self. The reader is able to commiserate with Amir when he agrees to travel to the war-stricken land of Afghanistan to bring back Sohrab. “I did something I had done twenty-six years earlier: I planted a fistful of crumpled money under the mattress." This sentence displays irony and also shows Amir’s first steps to his pursuit of redemption because the last time Amir planted money under a mattress was out of his selfish reasons but the second time he did it out of benevolence to help the family from their financial crisis. After his fight with Assef Amir states, “My body was broken—just how badly I wouldn’t find out until later—but I felt healed.” This shows that Amir feels that he deserved this as a punishment so he feels ‘healed’. At the end of the novel, the scene indicates that Amir finds redemption because in the process of saving Sohrab, he was able to forgive himself and as a result, find redemption
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The relationship between Amir and Baba is a recurring conflict that gives rise to the first major climax in the novel. Until his adulthood, Amir has a constant desire for Baba’s love and approval. “One time at Ghargha Lake…. He patted Hassan on the back. Even put an arm around his shoulder” Amir feels as though his father loves Hassan more than him so when Baba asked him before their second visit to Ghargha lake, Amir lies and says that Hassan is sick. This suggests to the reader that Amir is jealous of Hassan and Amir didn’t want to give him a chance to gain more affection from Baba, because he didn’t receive fondness from Baba as it was. Amir feels that the reason for this was because his mother had died giving birth to him so he feels as though he killed his mother. This is shown when Amir says, “I always felt like Baba hated me a little…After all, I had killed his beloved wife.” The conflict in their relationship is portrayed to be mostly internal such as when Amir says “I wish I could open my veins and drain his cursed blood from my body” which depicts, using a bloody imagery, that there are times when Baba’s rancor drives Amir to extents where he feels a severe hatred toward Baba. This internal conflict develops into an external one during Hassan’s rape where Amir says “Maybe Hassan was the price I had to pay, the lamb I had to slay, to win Baba.” Amir compares Hassan to the sacrificial lamb of Eid in Islam. Amir sacrifices Hassan by not preventing the rape, for the blue kite so he could win Baba’s approbation. Little did he know that by sacrificing Hassan to Assef, Amir sacrificed himself to guilt, which would plague him for the many years to come. Later on in the novel Amir discovers that the reason Baba was hard on him because he couldn’t love Hassan, his half son, the way he yearned to so he took it out on Amir. Afterwards Amir is able to reconcile himself with this fact when he becomes a father figure to Sohrab.
Religion is prominent throughout the whole novel as Amir struggles internally with questioning his own credences, and the extremist Taliban views of Islam, which eventually makes life very grim in Afghanistan. “They do nothing but…God help us all if Afghanistan ever falls into their hands.” Hosseini’s portrays Baba as someone who isn’t a passionate adherent of Islam. Baba portends the downfall of Afghanistan in that sentence because Afghanistan does fall into the hands of the Taliban who are extreme preachers of Islam and believe in a ‘pure’ worldwide Islam government. “There is only one sin, only one. And that is theft…When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth.” Baba tries to convey his view of sin to Amir. This displays irony because Baba had stole Amir’s right to a brother and Ali’s honor when he impregnates Sanaubar with Hassan. Amir realizes this when Rahim Khan informs him of Baba clandestine relationship. “Bowing head to the ground…asked for kindness from a God I wasn’t sure existed” This portrays that Amir has inherited Baba’s indifference to religion but because of the apprehension he feels towards Baba’s health he prays to God for the first time in his adulthood which indicates that Amir will turn to God, which he does after Sohrab’s suicide attempt. “There is a God, there had always been.” Amir turns to God because he becomes desperate and looks for all possible ways to help Sohrab so when the doctors tell him Sohrab is alive he feels as though his prayers have been answered so he starts to fully believe in a higher power as it is revealed when he says “prayed morning namaz…the verses came naturally now”
Hosseini portrays the conflict between the Hazara and Pashtun to be one caused by the religious and ethnic difference. The foundation for the discrimination of Hazaras is first laid out when it is revealed that Baba never referred to Ali as his friend and nor did Amir. “…that illiterate Hazara? He’ll never be anything but a cook.” Amir feels angry because he feels that why should an inferior minority suggest something for the work of a Pashtun, like him. Amir’s failure to prevent Hassan’s rape is developed in those words because after the rape, Amir says “After all, he was just a Hazara wasn’t he?” This shows that Amir feels that a sacrifice of a minority in the Afghan community is a equitable price to pay for Baba’s approval, although subsequently Amir suffers from a terrible guilt that eats at him for many years to come. Although the love between Amir and Hassan and Baba and Ali is prominent and constant in their time in Afghanistan, it displays the low social position the Hazara’s have in Afghanistan because even though Hassan is Baba’s son, he works as a servant in the household. The external conflict of the discrimination of Hazara plays a pivotal role in the climax of the novel and determines the course of events in Hassan’s life.
The use of conflict in the “The Kite Runner” was a requisite to the success of the novel, because not only did it intrigue the reader it was what steered the story line in different directions. The conflicts that are portrayed in “The Kite Runner” is entrenched within the many themes and characters and also creates irony within the novel, such as how Amir always desired to have inherited some of Baba’s traits but realized later on that him and Baba were alike in many ways because they had both betrayed their best friends. In conclusion, the use of themes through which Hosseini portrayed the many areas of conflict is crucial to the overall success of an excellent novel.