Amir

Character Analysis Like most good narrator-protagonists, Amir is a fairly complex character because the reader not only has to pay attention to Amir's actions but also how Amir describes his actions. Plus, Amir grows up, changes, and is affected by where he's living – whether that's Afghanistan or California. With this in mind, we analyzed Amir's character in each of the major settings of the novel. As we've stressed elsewhere, some really major events happen early in the novel. Thus, we'll spend the bulk of our time on Amir's childhood.

Amir the Boy in Kabul, Afghanistan
When the novel first describes Amir's childhood, it seems like Amir leads a relatively charmed life. He's got a great friend in Hassan, his father is wealthy, he adores his father, etc. We would like to pause here and praise the innocent joy of the first years of Amir and Hassan's friendship. Sure, there's jealousy and some cruelty and power struggles. But there's also adoration, loyalty, and genuine affection between the boys. OK – on to more pain and suffering. Most of the early conflict seems confined to the lives of Ali and Hassan. There's racial discrimination toward them, Sanaubar leaving, Hassan's harelip, and the soldiers' taunting of Hassan. We soon learn, however, that Amir has anything but a charmed existence. Amir's mother died giving birth to him. It's clear he feels a great lack in his life, and he throws himself into poetry and writing, we think, partly as a tribute to her. In addition, Amir feels an enormous amount of responsibility for his mother's death – as if he not only caused it but, more sinisterly, was responsible for it. Worse (can it get much worse?), Amir begins to believe his father also blames him for his mother's death. This is only one aspect of the incredibly fraught relationship between Amir and his father. Amir is also extremely jealous of his half-brother Hassan. (At this point Amir doesn't know Hassan is his half-brother and that knowledge probably would have tempered Amir's jealousy.) Amir admires Baba to no end although Baba seems to have little time for Amir. In fact, at times it seems like Baba prefers Hassan. Baba is almost confused by Amir. How can his son not like violent Afghan sports? Why does Amir not stand up for himself? And so on. Most of Baba's complaints seem to spring from Amir's lack of "manliness." All these tensions come to a breaking point during the kite-fighting tournament. Amir sees the kitefighting tournament as a way to finally win Baba's love. Amir concocts this mad scheme where he'll win the tournament. Then Baba will love him and everything will be hunky-dory. The strange thing is that Amir's plan sort of works. Amir wins the tournament and his father finally shows the boy some love. But that's not all that happens. Amir happens upon a horrific scene in the alleyway while looking for Hassan, who has just run down a kite, the crowning jewel of Amir's kite-

Amir remains silent about his past deeds. we see too how nations aren't that different from flawed human beings (see "Symbols. Hosseini comments on the difficulties – strange as this may sound – of being a good man. Amir the Grown Man in Kabul. Perhaps this is the only thing Amir can do: what would more thinking and inaction accomplish? Isn't the remedy for passivity some sort of swift action? Sure. Amir watches this happen and does nothing. Whatever the case.fighting victory. It's tough to understand exactly why Amir doesn't help Hassan. but Tom Brokaw doesn't compare to being surrounded by the real thing. and even then we're not entirely sure it's enough. Imagery. framing him for theft. a forgetfulness that would be impossible in Afghanistan. he's seen some stuff on the news. We don't think the rest of the novel really uncovers Amir's motivations. Baba dies without Amir ever telling him about the times he betrayed Hassan. but it takes Amir thirty years to redeem himself. Further. . and driving Hassan and Ali out of Baba's house. California Something really changes in Amir when he and Baba arrive in Freemont. Amir's kindness becomes apparent. Afghanistan 2001 Is it possible to both take a step forward and a step backward at the same time? In the world of fiction. Is it because he wants Baba's love all for himself? Because Hassan is a Hazara and thus "inferior"? Because Amir is simply a coward? Perhaps all of these motivations combine into one great instant of paralysis. if we zoom out to the international arena of war and conflict. Back in Kabul. He has to remove any reminder of his guilt. This is not the self-centered. Is it because Baba focuses only on Amir? Because Hassan isn't around? Despite all the improvements and good deeds. So he plants a wad of cash and watch under Hassan's mattress. (Baba has to work long hours in a gas station and loses some of the mystique he had in Afghanistan. As Baba dies of cancer. Somehow America allows him blankness. Amir the Young Man in Freemont. meets a compassionate and beautiful woman named Soraya (whom he marries). Hosseini takes the novel on a different track. Through Amir. a nearly-demonic boy named Assef rapes Hassan. His time in America has distanced him from the atrocities of war in Afghanistan. Allegory: The Question of Allegory" for more). Perhaps it's because Amir adapts easier to living in the United States. vindictive boy we knew in Kabul. Amir falls apart and betrays Hassan again. Amir is humble (and clumsy). it's clearly possible. and suddenly seems to have a moral compass. He has Amir slowly change and attempt to make up for his moral failure. Sure.) Or maybe Amir is able to forget about his betrayal of Hassan. He takes care of his father. It's harder than one might think. While two neighborhood boys hold down Hassan. Worse. after Amir sees a hollow-eyed Hassan around the house in the months following the rape. It could be that Amir no longer sees Baba as a legendary father and simply as a father. this is a different Amir.

And this is important because it suggests nations can atone for mistakes the same as individual human beings (see "Symbols. Amir makes a huge mistake and goes back on a promise to Sohrab. As a result. Allegory: The Question of Allegory" for more). it seems like Amir is finally doing something good in his life. Even though we want to scream at Amir. it turns out. he's an utterly human character. This is Amir at his best and worst – and perhaps this final version of Amir really combines all the previous versions of him. It's almost as if the confident young adult Amir combines with the helpless and misguided childhood Amir. He's weak and blind. This is action instead of inaction. Sohrab. He's jealous. On a larger scale. from an orphanage in Kabul. but also essentially kind. Amir even squares off against a Talib official – who. bravery instead of cowardice. But we think that's what Hosseini wants us to feel. Imagery. . Perhaps this streak of good deeds will atone for his betrayal of Hassan. selflessness instead of self-absorption. but in the end only wants to be loved. is actually Assef – in order to save Sohrab. While saving Sohrab. Amir agrees to rescue Hassan's son. In the universe of the novel. To sum up: Amir is so frustrating. After some misgivings. We're watching Amir repeat mistakes from the past even as he attempts to put the past to rest. Sohrab tries to commit suicide. Hosseini is constructing a world where redemption is at least possible.Back in Kabul. one can return to the site of his misdeeds.

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