Sample Literature Review On Jealousy, Guilt AND Ethnic Caste Discrimination In Kite Runner
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Jealousy, guilt and ethnic discriminations are three of the main themes that revolved around Khaled Hosseini’s novel, Kite Runner. The relationship between Amir and his father and between Amir and Hassan are clouded with the three themes. Kite running plays an important role in the novel as it is a brotherhood activity for Amir and Hassan who are belong to different ethnic caste. It also plays a symbol of self-redemption for Amir to be able to get his father’s approval. It symbolizes courage. Winning the kite tournament is tantamount to being a courageous person who can surpass any troubles in the future. It is the image that Amir wants his father to see him.
Amir and their father are in a complicated relationship because Amir felt that he is guilty for his mother’s death as she died giving birth to him. He also suspects that his father is not treating him nice because of that. Hassan who hails from a lower caste but also the son of Amir’s biological father is discriminated inside the family. He is the one ironing the clothes of Amir and is only behind the limelight when he and Amir win a kite tournament. Amir always gets the honor while Hassan contently watches Amir enjoying the glory.
Their father’s show of love is also confusing. He is in dilemma how to balance the affection that he is giving his two sons. He cannot be more endearing with Amir while not showing affection to Hassan as the latter may think that he is discriminating him on the basis of caste. In the end, the father still showed more affection towards Hassan than to Amir.
Jealousy hits Amir and when he and Hassan were running a kite, Amir witnessed the rape of Hassan but he did not react. However, after the rape, Amir detested the presence of Hassan because the latter’s presence only reinforces his guilt and cowardice. He did not stop the rape of Hassan because of cowardice and because he wanted his father’s approval badly that he wanted to bring home the kite and show him that his is also a winner.
Ethnic discrimination is very visible in the novel. The Muslim Hazara like Ali and Hassan are detested by the people. Although his father regards Ali and Hassan like his family, there are still regulations that are observed. Ali is not living with them in the house but is living in a separate hut and sleeps in a mattress spread on the floor. Hassan during school days should wake up earlier than Amir to prepare the latter’s breakfast. In an excerpt from the novel, it says:
“By the time I dragged myself out of bed and lumbered to the bathroom, Hassan had already washed up, prayed the morning _namaz_ with Ali, and prepared my breakfast: hot black tea with three sugar cubes and a slice of toasted _naan_ topped with my favorite sour cherry marmalade, all neatly placed on the dining table” (Hosseini, “Kite Runner”).
Moreover, when Amir reaches home after school, he complains about his homework while Hassan silently irons Amir’s uniform, polish his shoes, and prepare all of the school items needed by Amir. It is a daily routine that implies ethnic discrimination inside the house that accepts and respects ethnic minorities like Hazara. In the Afghan society in the early 20th century, it is a common knowledge that Hazara are denied of education. This is reflected in the novel. In the set-up of Amir and Hassan, the former who is privileged to study regularly reads stories to Hassan who listens enthusiastically. Hassan learns new words from Amir. Jealousy however always bites Amir every time he observes that Hassan is better with words than him. Out of jealousy, Amir would tease Hassan on his being an illiterate. But guilt will always follow after he has teased Hassan below the belt. As usual, Hassan for being a Hazara does not fight against Amir with all the mean actions that he has been doing against Hassan.
The relationship between the two children in the novel is tainted with jealousy, brotherhood, and ethnic discrimination. Amir is jealous against Hassan because of the affection that the latter is receiving from his father. This worsened when his father paid for Hassan’s lip surgery. There are still signs of ethnic discrimination with Amir despite the fact that he and his father are raised to be kind to the ethnic minorities. It is the society’s influence and his jealousy that makes Amir to display discriminations towards Hassan. But the fact that Amir is always guilty after his actions makes it appear that he is genuine in accepting Hazara into their family. Despite the jealousy and discrimination, the relationship of Amir and Hassan reflects a normal kind of brotherhood. For twelve years, Amir played with Hassan. He even protected the latter against the fangs of ethnic discriminations in their neighbourhood. There was a time that a soldier mocked Hassan telling him that he knows Hassan’s mother who is a slut. Amir instructed Hassan not to mind the mockery of the soldier and keep walking. When they reached the cinema, Amir heard Hassan’s sobs and as a reaction, Amir pulled him closer and told him that the soldier must have mistaken him for another person.
The novel is full of lessons regarding acceptance to people regardless of ethnic caste, brotherhood and father and son relationship. It reveals the many faces of discrimination in Afghanistan against those who belong to lower ethnic castes. It also reveals the normal relationship between father and son that is clouded by guilt.
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