“The Kite Runner,” a book by Khaled Hosseini discusses the bonds between friendship and parents and children. In the middle of the book Baba and Amir had to flee to Fremont, California to escape the Soviet Invasion leaving Hassan and his father in a dreadful destiny. Baba and Amir have been living there for two years now and Baba has been trying to adjust to life in America ever since. He feels disconnected from everything he knows. Moving from Kabul was a U-turn for Baba as he had no idea it would be so difficult to fit in to American society.
His life in Kabul was much simpler since he was wealthy and had servants doing work for him. But now he has to learn the difficulties of working for a living and to reserve his past in Kabul. The American Dream has impacted Baba negatively. He has experienced great difficulty adjusting to America especially with his worsening health condition and his lifestyle becoming somewhat more average. Babas’ move to America caused his life to become more complicated than he had originally anticipated.
To begin with, Baba was not use to the area as Amir describes: “But the Bay Area’s smog stung his eyes, the traffic noise gave him headaches, and the pollen made him cough. The fruit was never sweet enough, the water never clean enough, and where were all the trees and open fields? ” (Hosseini 133). Baba’s physical reaction to the Bay Area environment shows that America is may not be as clean as Kabul’s standards and it also implied that Baba’s body is very sensitive due to his immediate reaction to the noise of traffic, pollen, and unsweetened fruit.
Since he has lived in Kabul all his life and has never experienced a foreign country, it shows how attached he was to Afghan society. Kabul was never considered an unclean place to him. It was pure, natural and untouched by pollutants of the western world. Also, when Baba entered a convenient store one day, the manager had asked for his ID, he reacted insultingly: “What kind of country is this? No one trusts anybody! ” (Hosseini 135). Baba does not know it is a normal question to ask, so he takes it as a sign of distrust.
Baba is also not use to being distrusted because when he lived in Kabul he would send Amir and Hassan to the bakery with a stick and the baker would make a nick in the stick for each loaf of bread he gave. At the end of the month, Baba would pay the baker according to how many nicks there were in the stick. Baba’s knowledge of Kabul still beholds him and his knowledge for America still lacks. Lastly, When Baba and Amir had to go visit the pulmonologist Dr. Schneider, Baba disapproved of the doctor because he was from Russia: “His parents were Roussi, his grandparents were Roussi.
I swear on you mother’s face I’ll break his arm if he tries to touch me. ” (Hosseini 164). Baba does not trust anyone who is not Afghan, especially when it comes to his health. He only approves of Afghans or any country that is not Russian. Hence, Baba’s difficulty adjusting to a foreign country has proved to Baba that it is not always easy to fit in and that understanding America is a new challenge that he must take on. Baba’s health condition became a problem when he moved to America and it impacted his life very much. To start with, Baba was diagnosed with cancer.
Baba did not want to take any medications and because of this he got sicker as the days flew by. After collapsing on the ground at work Baba was rushed to the hospital and discharged after two days. The problem with Baba is that he did not want to get any treatment at all: “They brought in a specialist called a radiation oncologist to talk Baba into getting radiation treatment. Baba refused. They tried to talk me into talking him into it. But I’d seen the look on Baba’s face” (Hosseini 170). Baba was very stubborn and did not want to get any treatment from an American.
He carried more faith in his Afghan society than America and as a result his condition got worse. Work quickly became very difficult for him and he even called in sick one occasion. One day at work he collapsed when selling a lampshade to a Filipino man and Amir explains what he saw when he was lying on the ground: “He was frothing at the mouth, the foamy spittle soaking his beard. His upturned eyes showed nothing but white” (Hosseini 167). Baba had lost a lot of weight and that is why his body reacted that way. He was later rushed to the hospital and that’s when he found out the cancer had spread to his brain.
Baba eventual succumbs to his untreated cancer while asleep and was quickly buried the next day at the mosque as per Islamic tradition: “Earlier, at the gravesite in the small Muslim section of the cemetery, I had watched them lower Baba in the hole” (Hosseini 184). It can be implied that Baba’s death was the result of him immigrating to America where the environmental conditions took a negative toll on his body. Kabul was the place for Baba and not America. He had sacrificed his life for Amir to have a better education and a successful career.
Baba’s move to America therefore impacted him negatively because he was not able to cope with the new conditions of the American World. Baba was no longer wealthy when he moved to America; he lived an average life and had to learn to survive the hard way. Firstly, he had to work at a gas station, continuously working and earning low wages: “Six days a week, Baba pulled twelve-hour shifts pumping gas, running the register, changing oil, and washing windshields” (Hosseini 137). In the past, Baba would have his servants Ali and Hassan working for him and Baba was the master. Now Baba is more of a servant himself.
Secondly, when Baba had gotten sick he had no health insurance and he was almost unable to attend the doctors: “Even though Baba was a manager at the gas station, the owner hadn’t offered him health insurance, and Baba, in his recklessness, hadn’t insisted” (Hosseini 162). Baba took no responsibility for his own health. He had not anticipated any future health problems when he chose to immigrate to America and as a result, it led to his untimely death. The owner also did not take responsibility in offering his employee any health insurance and Baba as was new to America, he either has forgotten to ask or was simply unaware of the option.
Thirdly, Baba and Amir lived in a filthy apartment because they could not afford to live in a house. “Our grimy one-bedroom apartment smelled like dirty socks and cat droppings…. ” (Hosseini 136). Baba’s house in Kabul was considered the most beautiful and the move to a filthy apartment definitely frustrated Baba because he saw the drastic difference between his living conditions in Kabul and America and had to come to terms with what had become of his life. In conclusion, Baba’s wealthy Kabul lifestyle had shifted to a more average working class lifestyle and he learns how complicated it can be.
Baba has overall had a very difficult time adjusting to America. He misses his life in Kabul and he very slowly learns to become aware of the people, the jobs, and the overall country of America. The American Dream effected Baba negatively. He had not realized it would be so difficult to adjust to a foreign country, that his health would cause him trouble, and that his life would become average. Though Baba was living in a foreign country, his mind would always remain in Kabul.