Kite Runner

Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. New York: Riverhead Hardcover, 2003

The story of the Kite Runner is told in a circular fashion. The narrative of the book begins and ends with the same incident, but the reader perceives that incident differently because of what has transpired over the subsequent pages. The book begins in the present, with the young Afghani-American Amir remembering a deadly incident from his childhood past. Amir remembers how he was once a wealthy young Afghani boy living in Kabul before the Taliban takeover of his home nation. Amir was a friend of Hassan, the son of a servant in the household of Amir's businessman father. The two boys were such good friends, despite their difference in wealth, status, and literacy, because they shared a common bond -- they were both motherless, and had suckled the same wet-nurse. Still, there was an unspoken tension -- Amir was a Pashtuni and Hassan is of the Hazara caste, a lower and despised 'race' in Afghanistan.

Thus, in childhood and through the affection of Amir's father for Hassan, race was only temporarily transcended through the creation of artificial family bonds. Indeed, Amir was jealous of his father Baba's greater admiration for Hassan's physical prowess and courage, while Amir, was more bookish and less physically confident than his father might wish. (Hosseini, 2003) Still, Amir's will always held sway because of his greater wealth and social status when the two boys played together. The boy's favorite pastime was participating at the annual kite-fighting tournament. Kite flying and kite running was a traditional pastime in Afghanistan. During the national tournament, children participated in a kite competition where flyers and runners attempt to cut the strings of their competitor's kites with glass-coated strings. The winner was the boy, whose kite remained the last kite standing, and the runner was the boy who retrieved the last cut kite from the ground -- both the kite's flyer and runner were honored at the end of the competition. However, quite often the owner and flyer received greater approbation, because the owner came from a wealthier class, as did Amir.

Ironically, soon Amir's wealth would not protect the boy from trouble or give him greater status than his fellows. Amir and his father had to leave for America after the takeover of the Taliban. The rule of the Taliban made it too dangerous for wealthier and formerly powerful people to remain in their native land. But class, caste and money is a relative measure of human wealth -- the two men learn that although their family was considered wealthy in Afghanistan, even their previous wealth is deemed poor in the United States, according to American standards of largess. Amir's father is distraught because of this revelation. So much of Baba's esteem was tied up with his ability to confer material benefits upon his family. He was also upset that Amir showed more talent for literature and writing, than business and boyish pursuits.

Baba was also torn apart, as a member of a formerly high caste, by the prejudice Amir and Baba experienced in America. Ironically, this prejudice was inflicted upon the two men because of the hatred Americans felt at theā€¦