The Impact of Social Divisions in The Kite Runner, a Novel by Khaled Hosseini

How do the social divisions that exist in Afghanistan influence Amir’s perspective on the world and his relationships with others m Throughout Khaled Hosseini’s novel,_”The Kite Runner“ the main character Amir had always seen himself as having a privileged life in contrast with the poverty that the majority of Afghans live within his country? This is made even more apparent when we see how Baba, his father is well-known around the Afghan community for his wealth and the community service projects that he funds such as the orphanage.

However, as a result of Baba’s wealth and Amir’s comfortable lifestyle, Amir often feels alienated from the community and his longing for Baba’s affection puts him in conflict with others, including Hassan. Thus, Amir’s ignorance grew to the point that he tried to justify his cowardice for sacrificing Hassan in that he was a Hazara and a Shi’a and as a Sunni Pashtun, Hassan’s kind are “expendable”.

Whereas, Amir views people such as his father and Rahim Khan in a more positive light due to social status within the community. Therefore, it is clear that in Amir’s country, social class and beliefs greatly influence the views held by people towards others and significantly play a role in Amir’s perspective and interactions with other characters in the novel. To further emphasize the divisions that exist in Afghanistan, Hosseini uses a combination of metaphors and similes to express Amir’s own perspective on the world around him and his interactions with others.

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Hosseini’s usage of metaphors throughout the novel help explain Amir’s viewpoints and actions towards the characters he meets in the novel and effectively helps the reader understand Amir’s moral character. For instance, Amir uses Afghanistan’s dominant religious sect, the Sunnis to help justify his decision to not rescue Hassan. In the novel, “It was a look I had seen before. It was the look of the lamb…l imagine the animal sees that is imminent demise is for a higher purpose.

This is the look…”(Hosseini 76-77), this quote implies that Amir believes that Hassan’s sacrifice is for the greater good and that Hassan’s social and religious status makes it so that the consequences will not severe due to his minority and perceived inferiority among the population. However, it can be implied that both interpersonal and intrapersonal conflicts within Amir were both responsible for his decision. Internally, Amir had always desired Baba’s affection and the sacrifice of an animal to appease the gods was compared to Hassan whose sacrifice was allowed by Amir so that he could appease Baba. As the dominant religion in Afghanistan, Amir feels that his beliefs outweigh those of Hassan’s and believes that Hassan’s sacrifice is necessary in order for him to gain Baba’s affection and as a child growing up accustomed to getting anything he wants, Amir was willing to abandon the one person who was the most loyal to him in order to finally gain the attention he wanted from Baba. Another metaphor would be Amir’s comparison of Baba to a black bear.

In the novel, “I have imagined Baba’s wrestling match countless times, even dreamed about it. And in those dreams, I can never tell Baba from the bear.”(Hosseini 12), which shows how as exaggerated of the story may seem to others, the fact that Amir believes the story shows that he views Baba with awe and respect. It can be inferred that Baba’s wealth to provide Amir with gifts and the items that he wants are one reason as to why he treats his father due to his social class being able to provide Amir with a comfortable life. However, the comparison between Baba and the bear may suggest that Amir is intimidated by his father due to his perceived strength in being able to wrestle a bear. Baba’s high social class results in him exerting a powerful influence and source of authority over the community such as his development of the orphanage and as a result of his social standing in the community, he refuses to do anything that conflicts with his morales which include nang and namooslhonor and pride). Thus, when Amir and Baba moved to America, he refused the food stamps and treatment for his cancer in order to preserve his reputation and to not degrade himself.

Thus, Baba’s social standing influences Amir’s view of others in which he looks down on people such as Hassan and Ali, but treats people such as General Taheri with respect due to his high social standing back in Afghanistan and his good relations with Baba. Another device that Hosseini utilized to convey to the reader of the apparent social divisions in Afghanistan were similes. Throughout the novel, Amir constantly feels conflicted over whether or not if Hassan truly is his friend. He feels even more pressured of this conflict when Assef questions Amir for why he can consider Hassan his friend. The discrimination of Hazaras in Afghanistan and their low social standing eventually makes Amir uncomfortable to go out with Hassan, which further creates conflict between Amir and Hassan’s already fragile relationship. In the novel, “A loyal Hazara. Loyal as a dog,”, in which the quote expresses Assef’s View on Hazaras, yet represents the majority of the Afghanistan’s view on Hazaras. Thus, the comparison of Hassan to a dog downgrades his class to that of an animal and how the social stigma associated with Hazaras prevents Amir from forming a strong relationship with Hassan.

Thus, it shows how easily manipulated Amir can be from societal pressure and by his decision to frame Hassan for stealing his watch to remove him from his house was mainly motivated by his guilt and how framing Hassan would lessen that guilt on him. Interestingly enough, as Amir develops from a young boy to an adult, part of his maturity was learning to accept different races and social classes especially in the United States where he and Baba had to adjust to an unfamiliar land. Thus, when Assef stated, “Afghanistan is like a beautiful mansion littered with garbage, and someone has to take out the garbage.” this was an interesting scene because Amir internally was conflicted with himself for deciding whether or not if Hassan truly was a friend or not due to his social class, yet Amir’s maturity as an adult in this scene makes it so that he responds with disgust at Assef’s statement instead of remaining mute when Assef insulted Hassan when they were children.

Therefore, the social divisions that Amir was accustomed to in Afghanistan were radically changed when he and Baba moved to the US and saw how truly diverse the country was compared to theirs. As a result, Amir’s interactions with others changed such as Assef’s case in which his intimidating figure once muted Amir, but is now questioned and condemned by a fully mature Amir. Thus, Hosseini’s usage of these figurative devices helped emphasize the role that social division played in the development of Amir’s figure. Thus, the social divisions in Afghanistan were the cause of micro issues such as Amir’s conflict with individual characters, societal issues such as Amir’s adjustment in America, and personal issues such as Baba’s committed sin and his high social class thatjustified it.

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The Impact of Social Divisions in The Kite Runner, a Novel by Khaled Hosseini. (2022, Sep 07). Retrieved from

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