The Notion of Love and Sacrifice in The Kite Runner Essay Example

  • Category: Literature, Novels,
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  • Published: 18 August 2020
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Love is a basic emotion of a human being that they reveal in a variety of relationships. In their changing lives people should be ready to both give and take love from their close friends, parents, colleagues, and acquaintances. There is no greater specification for the feeling of love, but the one provided by Jesus in his preaching around his disciples: “there is no greater love than to lay one’s life down for one’s friend.” It is the readiness to sacrifice one’s own interests and life that is the basic characteristic of a person that cares of the community and people around. In spite of that, it is sometimes hard to address every single concern caused by love, people should rather not take love as for granted, but as a culmination of any case of making an acquaintance. 

People should take care about how to unfold the love they express to make it the basic gift of greater value. The Kite Runner is a story of friendship between two boys in their childhood, Amir and Hassan. They are ready to spend a great amount of time together, although they belong to different social backgrounds: while Amir’s father Baba is rich and give his son everything he wants, Hassan’s family lives in poverty, although they are respectable and can preserve dignity. 

In the novel The Kite Runner written by Khaled Hosseini the notion of true love and sacrifice is depicted. The notion of love and sacrifice interplay in the literary work in two different perspectives: parental love and friendly love; the characters struggle to fulfill the desire to love and be loved, but on the rare occasions want to go out of the zone of their comfort to make a truly sacrificial commitment. 

The friendly love between two boys does not change after the revelation that they are half-brothers, for they are already brothers: “Hassan and I fed from the same breasts. We took our first steps on the same lawn in the same yard. And, under the same roof, we spoke our first words.” (Hosseini 34). However, in spite of that, they are the best friends, both boys are involved in the hyperactivity that leads to the severe consequences: “But we were kids who had learned to crawl together, and no history, ethnicity, society, or religion was going to change that either. I spent most of the first twelve years of my life playing with Hassan. Sometimes, my entire childhood seems like one long lazy summer day with Hassan, chasing each other between tangles of trees in my father's yard, playing hide-and-seek, cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, insect torture[...]” (6). 

Once they are playing in the neighbourhood, when Hassan and Amir are trying to make a simple kite runner fly, Hassan runs away within some distance from his friend. While Amir later makes a notion that Hassan is late and is not going to come back, he tries to follow his way. What he sees nearby really shocks him: Hassan is being severely raped and abused by elitist Pashtuns who feel no notion of human compassion for Hassan, the future followers of the Taliban regime. Although having noticed this case, Amir is not ready to sacrifice his life for his own friend’s sake, because he feels too weak and small to start a fight. In spite of this, Amir is deeply psychologically wounded by this event, although he never reports on this case to any one of the adults. 

Still, his heart is, at the core, overwhelming with emotions.  However, Amir feels ashamed because of this incident and more; he feels that his love is not strong for Hassan, so he decides to end their great bond. By this decision, there is no good will of Amir expressed in his following the “right direction” of which should be building stable relationships and striving for moral personality development. Amir still acts childishly without expression; the real intention to support his friend in the difficult situation he faces in life.

On the contrary, Amir’s readiness to start a relationship with Hassan is not sufficient because of the lack of emotional intelligence. Amir not only rejects friendship with Hassan but tries to make a thief out of him. He puts money and a watch, the gifts of Amir’s father to Hassan’s things pretending he has stolen them: “Then I took a couple of envelopes of cash from the pile of gifts and my watch, and tiptoed out… I went downstairs, crossed the yard, and entered Ali and Hassan’s living quarters by the loquat tree. I lifted Hassan’s mattress and planted my new watch and a handful Afghani bills under it.” (15). And even after this incident, Hassan is still ready to serve Amir and call him the best friend of his own. 

Sometimes, Hassan’s ego and dignity are lost in the blind obedience to Amir, for whom he is ready to sacrifice even life. But would Amir do the same for Hassan? That is the question that Assef puts forward in the most complex scene of the novel when Hassan is about to be raped.

He does not know that right at the same time Amir has been watching over this scene from the distance without any action. He is shocked and petrified, and he practically does nothing for the sake of his desires to not be humiliated. In his conversation with Hassan, Assef addresses the depths of Hassan’s soul: “But before you sacrifice yourself for him, think about this: Would he do the same for you? Have you ever wondered why he never includes you in games when he has guests? Why he only plays with you when no one else is around? I'll tell you why, Hazara. Because to him, you're nothing but an ugly pet. Something he can play with when he's bored, something he can kick when he's angry. Don't ever fool yourself and think you're something more." (106). In this passage, the author tries to reveal the absolute inequality in the relationships between Amir and Hassan. Both boys have different characters and tempers, as well as the different devotion to loyalty and servitude. It is while Hassan possesses the feature of sacrificial love, Amir does not have such a feeling: he is more an egoistic and self-confident person that cannot understand that true love is connected to care and loyalty. 

There is another aspect of sacrificial love depicted in the novel The Kite Runner, and it is specifically observable with the notion of mother love. Amir’s mother died while delivering him: “while my mother hemorrhaged to death during childbirth, Hassan lost his less than a week after he was born”, for “she ran off with a clan of travelling singers and dancers.” (13). Hassan’s mother cannot give her son all the necessary love and care he deserves because she is not ready to sacrifice herself for the motherhood. She is more interested in the life of freedom, joy, and pleasure. In contrast, Amir’s mother dies for his life, for she sacrifices herself for motherhood she did not live to partake. When paraphrasing the famous quote by Jesus, there is no greater love than the devoted mother love; she is always ready to prove the worthy relationships with her children, with whom she has been engaged in the special connections.  

The notion of love as a different kind of sacrifice is presented in the image of Baba, Amir’s and Hassan’s father. He is ready to sacrifice a huge amount of material resources to support both his sons: “Then, Baba and I drove off in his black Ford Mustang – a car that drew envious looks everywhere because it was the same car Steve McQueen had driven in Bullitt, a film that played in one theater for six months.” (10). Baba is very rich, so he has an opportunity to grant expensive gifts. However, he does not explicitly make his love known. At the beginning of the novel, Amir feels neglected of his father’s love, and the boy feels that deep inside Baba blames him for the death of his wife, although it is not a child’s fault. Still, Baba tries to compensate for this emotional instability and the inability for the sacrificial love using expensive gifts to his son. That is his way to deal with negative emotions that occur from time to time.

Therefore, the notion of sacrificial love is  presented in The Kite Runner in three different dimensions: friendship, mother love, and father love. Family and friendly relationship play a crucial role in shaping the main characters of the novel, Amir and Hassan. Some characters of the literary work are ready to sacrifice even life for the other person (Amir’s mother), and others are not inclined to reveal emotions (Amir’s father and Amir himself). In the context of the totalitarian regime ruling in Afghanistan, there is no major point for love because most of the people within this country are focused on physical survival because of the war conflict. 

Works Cited

Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. Anchor Canada Edition Published. 2004.Print.



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