We when he’s gone: Baba. Despite being a father

We aren’t always aware of the impact we have on those around us. We’re blinded. Our words could be the bullet to someone’s death, conceivably their highlight of the day. Perchance we could be on the mind of someone we barely knew. Words kill and moreover actions speak. Silence does too. Heard words that stayed unspoken behind curtains made of steel forthcoming their way harder than they anticipated to; harder than the steel the curtains were made of and although it may be unfair, sometimes “what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime” (Hosseini 142). Connections with an individual/group can have both negative along with positive implications, usually resulting in the characteristics one’s personality is made of. Similarly, in The Kite Runner written by Khaled Hosseini, Amir’s, the protagonist’s, character is built upon the influence his past along with the people he spent the most time with left on him. In reading The Kite Runner we are immediately introduced to a character that plays one of the most significant roles in Amir’s character even when he’s gone: Baba. Despite being a father whose opinion is respected and evaluated thus often looked up to in many circumstances, the relationship between him and his son isn’t ideal. First and foremost, this is particularly apparent when Amir overhears Baba speaking to Rahim Khan, his best friend and business partner. It is then where Baba confesses how he fails to fully understand why his son’s interests aren’t similar to that of his own; “he’s always buried in those books or shuffling around the house like he’s lost in some dream”….”I wasn’t like that” (Hosseini 21). In addition, in search for the right words Baba goes on to say, “If I hadn’t seen the doctor pull him out of my wife with my own eyes, I’d never believe he’s my son” (Hosseini 23). Baba’s displayed displeasure and unsatisfied nature regarding his son drives Amir to feel abashed, despondent, and unwanted, which constantly promotes feelings of self-doubt and insecurity several times throughout the novel. Almost forced to constantly seek Baba’s approval to be someone that he’s proud of, Amir is forced to overlook other relationships, having that of the one between him and his father the most prominent thing on his mind. This is especially noteworthy when Amir finds Hassan being assaulted in an alleyway. Having lived with Hasan his entire life, you’d think that Hassan would be Amir’s ultimate concern in such a situation. However, with Baba’s approval in the back of his mind, knowing that “kites were the one paper-thin slice intersection” between both Amir and Baba’s spheres of existence, Amir made it his priority amongst all to get the blue kite which lay next to Hassan, home to show Baba, impress him, and for once maybe even earn his approval (Hosseini 41). The desire for the connection one should naturally have with their father heavily influences Amir’s character negatively in the aspect of looking at himself, frequently doing so in a way that makes him feel less than a whole. On the other hand, a friendship that positively impacts the development of Amir’s character is that of Amir and Hassan’s. The theme of loyalty is constantly recurring and is especially illustrated in their relationship. Though looked upon as inferior and often bullied because of being a Hazara, Hassan disregards this considering Amir his friend although Amir doesn’t consider him one due to being of a different social hierarchy and seeing himself as superior. Moreover, in a specific incidence, this is manifest where Amir is seen playing with his servant Hassan and is met with Assef; “But he’s not my friend! I almost blurted. He’s my servant! Had I really thought that? Of course I hadn’t. I hadn’t” (Hosseini 41). Unlike Hasan, the dialect above conveys Amir’s embarrassment and change of attitude when Assef is around, unintentionally wishing to not have been seen with Hassan to fit in. To put in different words, Hasan is always taking the blame for everything in which Amir is involved in; he “never told” (Hosseini 4). Having said this, as the novel matures so does that of Amir’s character, learning to be more appreciative of having a friend like Hassan who is there for him consistently. In conclusion, in the novel The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini it is visible that Baba and Hassan have had an impact on Amir’s growth, may it be positively or negatively. Whilst it may be true that “A boy who won’t stand up for himself becomes a man who can’t stand up to anything” in some scenarios it could be proven false, just as it did as the novel concludes (Hosseini 22). As Amir strives for having a close bond with his father, he is forced to overlook other relationships and is led to believe that he doesn’t live up to the standards of a Pashtun. On the other hand, with Hassan’s characteristics of affection and loyalty Amir was able to carry those traits on as an adult which implies positivity. Therefore, through Amir’s association with Baba and Hassan we see both a negative and positive development of Amir’s character in his adolescence and how it was carried forth as the novel matures.


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