Characters and relationships

Amir:

  • Desperate to please Baba
  • Selfish
  • Jealous of Hassan
  • Loves to write
  • Wealthy

Hassan:

  • Loyal
  • Obedient
  • Illiterate
  • Poor

Assef:

  • Nasty
  • Bully
  • Violent
  • German mother (Nazi-like)
  • Blonde
  • Blue-eyed

On the surface, how does the relationship between Hassan and Amir appear?

They don’t have a true friendship because Amir thinks of himself being higher then Hassan and he looks down on him. In this society, they couldn’t be seen together because Hassan is in a lower class than Amir and is a servant. Hassan is a loyal friend to Amir and will do anything to put their friendship first meanwhile AMir is appreciative of their friendship but is only focussed on getting a higher status in their house by impressing Baba. Amir is also jealous of Hassan because he is athletic and Baba looks at him with pride in his eyes.

The relationship between Baba and Ali parallels that of Amir and Hassan. When you dig down, how is this relationship not a friendship? What is it in reality?  “But in none of his stories did Baba ever refer to Ali and his friend.” What are underlying social factors at play in this relationship?

It is not a friendship because only Hassan respects and values their friendship, which makes it more a relationship since Hassan is Amir’s servant and is supposed to have this kind of respect for Amir as he is higher class. Even if they wanted to be friends it could never work in that type of society because they couldn’t be seen together otherwise it would reflect badly on Baba and AMir’s family whereas Amir’s goal is completely different and is to impress his father. The quote also suggests that Amir is like his father when it comes to friends, he is trying to get a name for himself and move up in the rankings by dragging his friends down and using them. Amir and Baba are similar because Amir doesn’t mention Hassan since it’s like an embarrassment for AMir being friends with a lower class person. When both boys were younger they were separated by social classes but were still raised together in the same house, years later Amir uses his superior social classing and education as well as being Baba’s son to mistreat and abuse Hassan.

What does this say about our society?

It shows the flaws in the classing system, two little boys grow up together and have to be best friends their whole life but as soon as one of them finds out he’s powerful, he uses it to his advantage and becomes a coward. It also shows that there are very lovely people out there like Hassan who will stand up for someone they value no matter what they look like or who they are. I think that people should have seen this as an example of what happens to young kids when being exposed to this harsh and unaccepting environment. If they had no classes Amir and Hassan could have truly been best friends and both had a great life ahead of them rather then one of them being eaten away with guilt and shame all because he couldn’t stand up for his ‘friend’ because it would ruin his own reputation. It shows that we need to stop valuing rankings, classes, power and start appreciating people and the relationships around us.

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