You are on page 1of 2

A novel that vividly presents both the best and the worst of human nature.

In the
light of this statement, explore Hosseinis presentation of character in the novel.

Hosseini depicts a war between good and evil, dark and light in his novel The Kite
Runner, as he touches upon the sordid, depraved qualities of human nature by
contrasting it with the loyalty and righteousness of Hassans character and his
undying love for Amir despite his misfortunes. There is an elegance in the
poignancy of this conflict as written by Hosseini, as he grasps the readers emotions
in Amirs journey to redemption and all he meets on the path. In this bildungsroman
novel, Amirs search for redemption exposes the readers to the vulgar notions of
humans through the characters of Assef and even Amir himself and his father, Baba,
in the initial parts of the novel, although in the latter conclusion, balances these
immoral behaviours initially shown as Amir had finally achieved peace and
In the novel, Amir and Hassans childhood takes place within the chapters one to
nine, and develops the foundation for what their lives have in store for them. Amirs
childhood centers on Baba and Hassan, building the characters prior to his journey
to redemption, and showing significance in the conflicts between the good and bad.
To begin with, readers are instantly aware of the jealousy and envy Amir possesses
towards Hassan, where his immoral jealousy surfaces whenever Baba expresses his
love for Hassan. For instance, when Baba gifts Hassan with a harelip surgery, Amir
narrates that it isnt fair. Hassan hadnt done anything to earn Babas affections;
hed just been born with that stupid harelip. The fact that Amir ponders upon this
conveys his petty, selfish nature as the cruelty present in his thoughts are not
conceived in the first person narration by Amir, showing how this human nature
simply cannot be hidden. The whole concept that the physical deformity Hassan
holds is stupid and that it should be disregarded is Hosseini eliciting the results of
neglect from the figure Amir worships and craves attention from, and this
communicates an honesty to the writing as it does not limit itself to the masking of
true inherent human nature. Amir is found to be constantly reaching for Baba with
no emotional response from him, such as when Amir claims he has saratan,
cancer, in order to get his attention. Instead of paying attention to Amir, Baba tells
to him to look in the trunk of the car to get a soda for himself, therefore exhibiting
his disinterest and absence in Amirs life, and readers understand the cause of this
envy. Hassans act of not doing anything heightens Amirs disappointment as he is
enraged with how Hassan receives his Babas attention without reaching for it,
thereby Hassans pure character is exhibited and laid in contrast.
However, Amirs character once he develops into an adult and makes his way to
redemption is different to Amirs childhood self, his growth led to his path to
atonement and this quality expands as he travels further. In the initial telling of
Amirs childhood, Hosseini consistently brings attention to the societal values and
beliefs in Afghan culture - the Pashtuns reign superior whereas the Hazaras remain
inferior, depicting Amirs superiority over Hassan. In reality however, both are equal
and on the same page, they are half brothers and share the powerful Baba as a

father. This absence of information is what leads Amir to believing he has a superior
status over Hassan, and as a result, he conforms greatly to this idea proposed by
Afghans. It is likely that Amirs cruel and envious nature as a child was a result of his
upbringing and environment promoting prejudice and is prominent wherever
Hassans pure character shines. A voice, cold and dark, suddenly whispered in
Amirs ear when Hassan points out the great ironic plot hole in Amirs story. Amir
is taken aback by the ludicrousness of an illiterate Hazara realizing what Amir, a
Pashtun, had been blind to and his thoughts are voiced: What does he knowm that
illiterate Hazara? Hell never be anything but a cook. How dare he criticize you?
Once again, Hosseini does not mask the true nature of Amir as it conveys the
harshness of the writing to emphasize human nature. In addition, the sense of
difference between Amirs dark thoughts is proposed with the use of dramatic
language of a strangers voice. Inside, Amir knows that he is a good person, yet it is
the pettiness of jealousy that he returns to the superiority status of Pashtuns to
justify his thoughts. The cold and dark voice could indeed be representative of the
obscure side of human nature, hence the emphasis drawn to it in the concluding
lines of chapter four. This vile behavior is further reinforced with the struggle Ali
faces for being a crippled Hazara as the neighbourhood boys (who) tortured Ali,
calling him a flat-nosed Babalu, and the derogatory farsi term of babalu relates
the discrimination directly to the Afghan views of ethnic differences as it is rooted in
the afghan language itself. Therefore, Hosseini does indicate that when stripped of
all views and prejudice, Amir believed he was wrong and knew he was immoral,
hence his journey to redemption as an adult.
Divulging further into the depictions of their childhood, despite Amirs harboured
envy and guilt, his narration carries the love and admiration he feels for Hassan.
Throughout the chapters, Hassans character and physical appearance is illustrated
in relation and association of nature and light, which denotes his pure human
nature. Hassan is in fact introduced when he is in association with nature: sunlight
flickering through the leaves on his almost perfectly round facenarrow eyes like
bamboo leaves, eyes that looked, depending on the light, gold, green, even
sapphire. There is heavy imagery present and Hassan character is framed in an
almost angelic light, Amir relates him to nature, depicting him with a radiance and
glow. It is in this subtlety where Hosseini highlights the conflicting natures of Amir.
He is completely in admiration and heart felt respect for Hassan, however the ethnic
tension weighs his morality down and brings conflict forward. Furthermore, there is
significance of the symbol of the pomegranate tree in relation to Amirs association
of Hassan with nature. The pomegranate tree stands as a symbol for their friendship
and how it blossoms similar to the fruit, hence is a place for solace and comfort, yet
when Amir returns 26 years, he finds it shriveled up and nearly dead, which
indicates the impact of the crude effects of the Taliban. Something that was a place
of refuge was destructed by the evil of human nature.
Baba conveys the best and worst of human nature in a different manner. His biggest
downfall may lie in his hypocrisy, as he contradicts with his valued opinion that
there is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of

Related Interests