From reading chapters one to four, one of the main aspects of Amir and Hassan’s relationship is the sense of control Amir has over Hassan. It becomes apparent that Amir is the one with the most authority in their friendship when he ‘talked’ Hassan into firing walnuts at the neighbour’s one-eyed German shepherd, ‘Hassan never wanted to, but if I asked, really asked, he wouldn’t deny me’.
This highlights the way Hassan looks up to Amir and obeys him due to their religious, cultural and social differences, ‘I was a Sunni and he was a Shi’a’. Nevertheless, Amir does express his sensitive side towards Hassan and feels protective over him, especially when he can see he’s upset, ‘I reached across my seat, slung my arm around him, pulled him close’, portraying a brotherly relationship.
Their brotherly kinship is reinforced when Amir explains what Ali had told him, ‘there was a brotherhood between people who had fed from the same breast, a kinship that not even time could break’ which explains that Amir and Hassan had been connected from a young age despite their differences, and the fact they had fed from the same breast creates a special bond between the two which they say is unbreakable.
Amir and Hassan had grown up together just as Ali and Baba had grown up together, ‘just like Hassan and I grew up a generation later’ which portrays how history is repeating itself as Amir and Hassan are living the replication of their relationship.
However, even though Amir and Hassan are extremely close, Amir doesn’t view Hassan as his friend due to their separate cultures, ‘I never thought of Hassan and me as friends’, ‘I was a Sunni and he was a Shi’a, and nothing was ever going to change that’ which indicates that Amir views their differences in the same way the rest of society does and feels their differences will not allow them to become friends, no matter how close they may be.
Despite this, Baba acts as though Hassan is his child as well as Amir, ‘Baba gave us each a weekly allowance of ten Afghanis’ portraying that even though society doesn’t particularly approve, it doesn’t affect their incessant relationship in every way. Hassan’s inferior character is presented by the way he serves Amir, ‘While I ate and complained about homework, Hassan made my bed’, which implies that no matter how close they may be, Hassan remains the servant which he accepts and is content with, ‘I’d hear him singing to himself in the foyer as he ironed’. Also, Hassan addresses Amir as ‘Amir agha’ which ighlights his respect to Amir. However, despite their divisions, when they are alone together they consider themselves equal, ‘”Amir and Hassan, the sultans of Kabul”’, creating irony as they are both aspiring the same hopes and dreams but we know that it is unattainable. Amir is often threatened by Hassan which Hassan is oblivious to, resulting in Amir feeling jealous and misusing his authority over Hassan, ‘though I stopped reading those when I saw he was far better at solving them than I was’, implying that Amir can’t handle an ‘inferior’ person exceeding him in any way.
This jealousy develops into abuse towards Hassan when Amir uses his intelligence to make a fool of Hassan who is illiterate, ‘”When it comes to words, Hassan is an imbecile. ” “Aaah” he said, nodding’. However, Amir would then feel ‘guilty’ for this and would give him an old shirt or a broken toy, ‘I would tell myself that was amends enough for a harmless prank’ displaying Amir’s malicious behaviour towards Hassan. Amir and Baba’s Relationship
From the beginning we can see the lack of family connection between Amir and Baba due to Baba’s negligence towards Amir, ‘He’d close the door, leave me to wonder why it was always grown-ups time with him’. Amir’s lack of attention from Baba results in him feeling lonely as the one thing he desperately wants is recognition from his father because admired him greatly. However, Amir reveals that from an early stage, he knew that Baba and he hadn’t a natural connection, ‘I’m in him arms, but it’s Rahim Khan’s pinky my fingers are curled around’ exposing that Amir has a greater connection with Rahim Khan rather than with Baba.
Their contrived father and son relationship becomes apparent when Baba doesn’t listen to Amir and isn’t interested in what he is saying to him, ‘Baba grunted, didn’t answer’, and this ignorant behaviour portrays he has no interest or time for his son. Baba’s ignorance causes Amir to resort to saying unpleasant things to attract his father’s attention, ‘”I think I have saratan”, I said. Cancer. ’ However, this still doesn’t affect Baba and he misunderstands him, ‘Told me I could get the soda myself’.
However, even though Amir knows Baba doesn’t listen to him, he still has great admiration for his father and feels lucky that he has a father as eminent as Baba, ‘He motioned to me to hold his hat for him and I was glad to, because everyone would see that me was my father, my Baba’. However, as much as Amir craved love from Baba, he was also fearful of him and often didn’t know how to act when Baba did show attention to him, ‘I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to hug him or leap from his lap in mortal fear’ portraying that their relationship is so distant, Amir doesn’t know how to react to his father.
Their distant relationship is again portrayed as Baba doesn’t understand how to talk to a child due to his lack of patience and he can’t handle the natural immaturity of a child, ‘”I mean to speak to you man to man, Do you think you can handle that for once? ”’ Baba’s harsh words cause Amir to feel insecure, ‘it wasn’t often Baba talked to me, let alone on his lap – and I’d been a fool to waste it’ which reveals that he punishes himself as he feels he isn’t living up to his father’s standards.
As well as punishing himself, Amir believes that the reason his father doesn’t spend time with him was because he thought he killed his mother and feels guilty because of this, ‘The least I could have done was to have had the decency to have turned out a little more like him’, and this growing guilt that Amir feels is a result of Baba’s ignorant behaviour towards him, gradually making him a bitter and resentful child. Baba also admits to not connecting to his son due to their differences that Baba cannot accept with the severe line, ‘”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”.