Gena Narcisco Mrs. Sharpe Honors English 10 10/11/12 The Kite Runner Do you know that Afghanis play a game where they fight with kites? The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini describes kite fights between local Afghani kids, regardless of their social status. The main characters in this story that come from a higher socioeconomic level are Baba, a lawyer from the Pashtun tribe, and his son Amir. The main characters in this story that come from the lower socioeconomic level are Ali, a servant from the Hazara tribe, and his son Hassan who are servants to Baba and his family.
The Kite Runner explores how different classes of people worked together to run things in Afghanistan. In the Kite Runner discrimination in Afghanistan is demonstrated by the relationship between the Pashutns and Hazaras. The Hazaras were often demeaned and persecuted (www. Sparknotes. com). Baba, however, taught his family to be kind to the Hazaras. Baba learned this from his father, who was a highly regarded judge in Kabul (Hosseini 24). The story describes a day when the grandfather sentenced two young Pashtun men into the military for killing almost an entire Hazaran family.
The grandfather was very dismayed that the five year old boy who survived the incident would be left an orphan. Amir remembered “As for the orphan, my grandfather adopted him into his own household, and told the other servants to tutor him, but to be kind to him” (Hosseini 24-25). The young survivor was named Ali. Quite a few years later, Baba took in Ali’s son Hassan to be a servant for his son Amir. While Baba’s house was a fair and kind place to live there was still a social barrier (www. Sparknotes. com). For example even though Baba called Ali his “family”, Ali still lived in a hut and slept on the floor (www. hmoop. com). Although Hassan was believed to be Ali’s son he was actually Baba’s out of wedlock son (Hosseini 224-225). Baba and Ali never told Amir or Hassan that they were brothers because it was shameful that Baba had a relationship with Hassan’s mother, who was in a lower socioeconomic level. Baba would never be respected again if that ever got out. Later on in Hassan’s life, he had difficulty with becoming anything but a servant. Hassan had a very strong identity as a servant, and because of this he had no sense of entitlement when he grew up.
Hassan took care of Baba’s house, even after Baba left (Hosseini 218). In a scene in the book Hassan tries to protect Baba’s old house from Taliban invasion, and gets killed (Hosseini 219). Through his dying day Hassan never felt a sense of entitlement and continued to serve Baba as his owner rather than as his father. At the time of Hassan’s death he was no longer Baba’s servant. The Taliban, warriors taking over tribesman under the guise of uniting their country, made Afghanistan a very dangerous place.
The Taliban were very discriminating and typically tortured, beat, and executed people of a lower socioeconomic level. During childhood, Assef bullied Hassan and Amir. Assef came from a higher socioeconomic class than Hassan. Assef is now presented in the book as a Taliban militant. The Taliban banned music in Afghanistan (Hosseini 280). Hassan’s son, Sohrab, was forced to dance to music by Assef. The Taliban continued to flex its muscles to get other people to conform to their rules. Amir thought “I guessed music wasn’t sinful as long as it played to Taliban ears’” (Hosseini 280).
Amir was very critical about the Taliban and stupidly admitted to Assef “I had read about the Hazara massacre in Mazar-i-Sharif in the papers” (Hosseini 277). Amir’s point was that the Taliban killed the Hazaras anywhere they could find them even though they didn’t do anything wrong. Clearly the Taliban did not value the lives of the Hazaras (www. Sparknotes. com). Assef was one of the cruelest of all the Taliban. He told Amir this “Afghanistan is like a beautiful mansion littered with garbage, and someone has to take out the garbage” (Hosseini 284). Taliban influence in Afghanistan heightened discrimination and did not unite the country.
The Kite Runner clearly demonstrated how different classes of people who are able to live peacefully together although keeping within the bound of their social class. The Taliban did not tolerate people from the lower socioeconomic classes and without conscious killed and destroyed their lives. Hassan and Amir, technically brother, grew up together but were never treated as equals (Hosseini 25). However they were able to coexist without hating each other (Hosseini 25). Amir never truly considered himself as a friend to Hassan (Hosseini 25). Hassan always considered himself a servant to Baba even at his death, in chapter 16.
In my opinion the Afghan culture before the Taliban was one of working together and living peacefully but after the Taliban invaded the culture changed by forcing discrimination among the socioeconomic classes. Works Cited Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. New York: Riverhead, 2003. Print. “The Kite Runner Chapter 4 Summary. ” Shmoop. N. p. , n. d. Web. 10 Oct. 2012. <http://www. shmoop. com/kite-runner/chapter-4-summary. html>. “The Kite Runner. ” SparkNotes. SparkNotes, n. d. Web. 10 Oct. 2012. <http://www. sparknotes. com/lit/the-kite-runner/section1. rhtml>.