Sooo…. I am about halfway through The Kite Runner now and I can’t stop thinking about the incident 93 pages ago.
Together, Amir and Hassan win this epic kite flying tournament, which is a big deal in Kabul (where they live) and an even bigger deal for Amir who is doing his best to make his father proud of him. After a couple joyous moments of celebration, Amir sends Hassan after the blue kite whose lethal, glass coated string they’ve just cut. Hassan, the boy who was born smiling and faithful to the core, stops and yells back “For you a thousand times over!” (pg 71) But he didn’t come back.
When Amir finally found him, he was in a back alley facing three bullies -the kite sitting behind him on a pile of rubble. Hassan wouldn’t give it up and bullies advanced towards him. Amir faced a dilemma (Prompt 2: Describe a problem faced by the main character -explain how the main character deals with the problem and make a personal connection): he could either step in before anything happened and hope he didn’t get beaten up, or he could hope Hassan would be able to hold the bullies off long enough for him to run for help. In the end, however, Amir stood frozen in the shadows, before fleeing in horror while the leading bully raped Hassan. Afterwards he accepted the kite without a word from his bloodied and shaken friend and presented it to his father as a battle trophy.
(Prompt 6: Write your opinion of a character’s action or reaction to a situation in the book. Do you think it was the appropriate course of action and would you have done the same?)
I hated Amir from that point on but at the same time I couldn’t help hating myself more because I’m not sure that I wouldn’t have done the same thing. At first, Amir is so guilt-ridden he hardly eats and he doesn’t sleep. He tries to escape his guilty conscience by avoiding Hassan and when that doesn’t work, he decides to get rid of the only friend he’s ever had altogether by framing him for stealing. But even with Hassan gone he can’t escape the knowledge of what he did -or didn’t do. Six years later (where I’m at now) he still vomits whenever the image of Hassan’s brown corduroy pants on the heap of old bricks resurfaces in his mind.
The contrast between the boys personalities is striking. While Hassan is so pure and perfect he’s almost unhuman, Amir is so immensely flawed and focused on himself that he is by far the more dislikeable and relatable of the two. It seems ironic that the first short story he wrote was about a poor man who sacrificed all he had for wealth and then he goes right ahead and gives up his only real friend in order to be the sole receiver of his father’s love. That’s something that really stands out to me.
It’s so obvious that what Amir needs to do is to take into account his father’s advice (“Better to get hurt by the truth than comforted by a lie.” pg 61) and to do everything he can to find Hassan so he can apologize to him and stop pretending that nothing ever happened, however, I have the feeling he’s going to waste many more years trying to ignore his conscience before he realizes this.