The symbol of the relationship between Amir and Hassan
In the book Kite Runner, the main characters Amir and Hassan have special relationships. Amir is in the superior position, while Hassan is the submissive one to Amir. As Hassan was Amir’s servant, Hassan sacrificed himself in order to forgive Amir’s sins. Amir realized that his sins were not simple mistakes that could be forgiven. Amir’s abuse of his superiority brought him only sufferings to himself, not any benefits. This created the Fall in the relationship and eventually that fall brought the end, death, to their relationship. However, Amir’s dedication to wash his guilt brought a rebirth to their relationship in the end.
Amir and Hassan’s relationship was very complicated, as their relationship undermined chronologically. At first, their relationship was very pleasant almost as close as if they were in a same bloodline; “Then he would remind us that there was a brotherhood between people who had fed from the same breast, a kinship that not even time could break … We took our first steps on the same lawn in the same yard” (Hosseini 11). This explains that they were like brothers since they were born. However, the perspectives of the people do not allow two people with different classes to get along well: “We were at Ghargha Lake, you[Amir] , me[Hassan] , Father, Agha sahib, Rahim Khan, and thousands of other people … no one was swimming because they said a monster had come to the lake … and before anyone can stop you[Amir], you dive into the water, start swimming away. I[Hassan] follow you in and we’re both swimming … We turn to the shore and wave to the people … They see now. There is no monster, just water” (Hosseini 59-60). This shows that even though there was social discrimination between Pasthun and Hazara, they could get along well. After the kite fighting, Hassan wanted to bring Amir the blue kite back for him. He left to search for the kite and said, “For you, a thousand times over” (Hosseini 67).
This shows that Hassan is in good relationship with Amir, not just as a servant, but still as a friend. However, the sacrifice for the kite was willingly done by Hassan and the guilt Amir got from Hassan’s deed undermined their relationship. This change in relationship was shown during the pomegranate scene: “Hit me back!” I[Amir] spat. “Hit me back goddamn you!” I wished he[Hassan] would. I wished he’d give me the punishment I craved, so maybe I’d finally sleep at night … Then Hassan did pick up a pomegranate. He opened it and crushed it against his own forehead. “There,” … “Are you satisfied? Do you feel better?” (Hosseini 92-93). Moreover, Amir explained about the change in their relationship like this: “There is no monster, he’d said, just water. Except he’d been wrong about that. There was a monster in the lake. It had grabbed Hassan by the ankles, dragged him to the murky bottom. I was that monster” (Hosseini 86). The relationship worsened and eventually fell apart when Hassan and Ali left Amir’s house. Amir and Baba left Kabul and went to the United States for peaceful life.
Although Amir grew older and a long time passed, he could not forget about his sin toward Hassan. The death of the relationship he created was too intense for Amir to overcome. In order to live without guilt, he searched a way to settle everything as it were before; Amir went back to Kabul in order to wash his sin with Farid’s help. His eager to get recognized by his father when he was little led him go to Kabul and risk his life to cleanse his past and to reinvigorate the relationship between Amir and Hassan. “I felt at peace. I laughed because I saw that, in some hidden nook in a corner of my mind, I’d even been looking forward to this. I remembered the day on the hill I had pelted hassan with pomegranates and tried to provoke him... he’d taken the pomegranate from my hand, crushed it against his forehead … I hadn’t been happy and I hadn’t felt better, not at all. But I did now. My body was broken but I felt healed.
Healed at last. I laughed” (Hosseini 289). As a result of this treatment, Amir recreated the lost friendship and restructured the old family, however, without the barrier between the superior and the inferior. In the end, Amir forgave himself by establishing the new relationship between him and Sorab. The resolution of the story is reached by the love Amir provided to Sorab with the “Kite”. Just like Hassan, the kite runner for Amir with the self-sacrifice, Amir became Sorab’s kite runner in order to give him love that he failed to give to Hassan. Amir also said this to his son, Sorab: “For you, a thousand times over” (Hosseini 371). This decorates the grand finale of the story with happy-ending.
Social Conflicts: the Superior and the Inferior
According to the book “Kite Runner”, it deals with the conflict between the superior and the inferior: Pashtun and Hazara. As it was shown in the book, the inferior suffers with the sacrifice and the superior abuses his power for his own satisfaction. These things actually has been happening in the real life in many cultures. A lot of incidents are the “Fall” of the human societies that need to be fixed, but cannot because of the influence of other people and the culture. More specifically, race, gender and ages are the main Falls of the human societies that can still be seen throughout the world. In terms of race, this problem has still not been completely solved; there are still a lot of racist movements and creating stereotypical jokes about races. These racist movements come from a thought that specific ethnic group feels that they are superior to the others, such as Nazis. For example, in Korea, we have a lot of stereotypical thoughts about specific ethnic groups. A lot of people are very racist against black people just because they were the victims of the slaves before the equality movements. Some people even refer the black people as “black slaves” or other slangs that we have, similar to the English racist word, the “n-word”. I personally consider this a serious problem.
We also think that Japanese people are bad because of our dependency on the past perspectives. In the past our views toward the Japanese were terrible because of the Japanese occupation in Korea. Moreover, we often generalize about the Japanese people because the government is wrong and a person states a wrong view. For example, there is a Korean island, Dokdo. It has been our territory for over a thousand year, and recently, the Japanese government decided to teach the children that Dokdo is theirs, calling it in their own way, Dakesima. This was one of the reason we started to hate the Japanese people, when we actually have to hate the Japanese government. These racist thoughts are not disappearing but turning into some kind of jokes that people make fun of other races. More of a general topic is gender. The human genders are equal according to the laws, however, there are still discrimination between men and women. Throughout the history, men have been superior to women because men are stronger. Even though it’s been improved, women have disadvantages in a lot of matters. For example, my cousin is 29, and she works as a teacher at a school. There are two English teachers and she is one of them. I was mad that our society is still biased that men are better than women when she said that even though they teach same amount of time, she gets less money than the other teacher, just because she is a woman and the other teacher is a man. We can see this kind of Fall in more global terms; there has been no woman president yet in America and in many other countries. This shows that people are biased against women, but do not show that they are prejudiced. This clearly shows the Fall of our societies in terms of gender issues. Last one is very specific issue that as far as I know, only two countries have troubles with: Japan and Korea. It was originally a Japanese culture that derived from Confucianism about how elders must be respected by the younger ones.
This seems like a general rule that a lot of people go by, but this was a little bit extreme in Japan to the extent where only one year difference makes the older one the superior and the younger one the inferior. This culture came into Korea when Korea was under Japanese rule. It is still in practice even among the McCallie Korean community. First of all the most ridiculous aspect about this custom is that we use polite language to the older ones. For example, if it was for English, we would put Mr. or Mrs. in front of their name and we would not say anything that will offend the older ones, not even jokes. It really reflects the relationship between Amir and Hassan. I can compare the older people to Amir and the younger people to Hassan. The older and younger people have friendship but also the younger one has to respect the older ones, just like Hassan obeys Amir. This is a “Fall” in korean societies.
I think it is too conservative culture that we keep for no reason. We have Confucianism rooted in our societies even the parts that should not be applied in nowadays. Overall, globally, there are still a lot of “Falls” that we can connect to the relationship between Amir and Hassan. Race superiority, gender difference, and status difference by age are just categories that we should get rid of because they are out of date. According to the laws, all the race and gender are the same. The custom about the age in Korea and Japan is very inefficient custom that will hold us back from economic growth and political growth. These are the “Falls” that might bring “Death” to our societies, which we might not be able to find a way to recuperate. Therefore, we should just stop the “Fall”s and rise up.
Writer’s Memo By doing this project, I could really focus on Analysis with quotations and connecting the main themes of the analysis with my personal essay. When I first talked about the project with Mr. Chakwin, I was still not sure about the essay writing about the Korean society because it was weird to criticize my own culture. On the other hand, I thought this could be a great experience writing a paper about problems that I encounter in the near society. Moreover, by reading the Kite Runner, I truly understood how we can see the Falls in our societies that need to be fixed. It was a bit of a shock to realize that we still have so many problems in our world, which should have been resolved in the earlier era. I think it was very worthwhile moment I had writing and really think about the problems that my generation will have to deal with in the future.
Process Journal For the process of this project, I shared this document through e-mail so you can see the revision history. I basically thought of the things to write when you were talking about the pomegranate scene during the class and how that could relate to specific examples. I started writing in the writing center, but since I don’t have Microsoft Word on my computer, I just sent myself an e-mail of the work process. So you can’t see the earlier works that I did before the exam week, but you can still see how my essay changed
Bibliography Chakwin, Tim. "Talk about the Pomegranate Scene." Personal interview. May 2013. Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. New York: Riverhead, 2003. Print. Larson, Marisa. "Hazara People." National Geographic. National Geographic, 17th June 2008. Web. 29 May 2013..