The symbolism of the Pomegranate Tree By: Rebecca Reyna

Lot's of stories use symbol to convey more meaning to the story and explain big ideas with little words . The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, a novel about a young boy trying to find redemption for his sins also includes the pomegranate tree as a symbol of Amir's relationship with Hassan. The pomegranate tree goes from a symbol of shelter , loyalty, and friendship, to a symbol of Amir's guilt and Hassan's loyalty, and in the end it becomes a symbol of the end of Amir and Hassan's relationship.

The pomegranate tree was a place for Amir and Hassan to run away to and really get to know each other. They have fun and enjoy their chilhood, Amir says "There was a pomegranate tree near the entrance to the cemetery. One summer day I used one of Ali's kitchen knives to carve our names on it, 'Amir and Hassan the sultans of Kabul." (page 27)). The pomegranate tree becomes a place for Amir and Hassan to be themselves and forget each others ethnic groups and religions. Whenever he says they're the "sultans of Kabul" this shows how close Amir and Hassan really are. Usually, in that culture Pashtuns and Hazaras are nothing more than just a boss and his servant, but with the carving in the pomegranate tree it symbolizes how strong their friendship is despite their identities. When they are at the tree, Amir reads to Hassan, but at one point just ends up making up stories . "After we'd eaten the fruit and wiped our hands on the grass, I would read to Hassan."(page 28) " Fascinating, I repeated a little breathless, feeling like a man who discovers a buried treasure in his own backyard."(page 30). It's under this tree that Amir finds his gift of writing, that puts a spark in him and Hassan finds his love for reading. The tree is what makes Amir realize he wants to be a writer, which he ends up growing up to be later on. Hassan finds his love for stories and his desire to read , later on he ends up teaching himself how to read and write. This symbolizes that the events that took place under the tree influence the future and their desires. The tree is a place where Amir and Hassan enjoy themselves and find what they love to do.

However in chapter 8, after Hassan's rape, the Pomegranate Tree is a reminder of Amir's guilt and Hassans undying loyalty to Amir. Whenever Amir goes back to the tree, he immediately regrets it " I shouldn't have come up the hill. The words carved in the tree trunk...I couldn't stand looking at them." (page 87) Amir's guilt causes him to not find shelter in the tree anymore but rather find his own betrayal. Seeing the carving makes Amir not look at Hassan or himself the same way, it hits him with a pang of regret for not being a good friend to Hassan. He becomes more bitter and riddled with guilt that he can't seem to want to stay friends anymore or even be reminded of him. Later when Amir goes back to the tree with Hassan, he tries to get Hassan to hit him so that he can be punished " Then Hassan did pick up a pomegranate. He walked toward me. He opened it and crushed it against his own forehead “There,” he croaked, red dripping down his face like blood. “Are you satisfied? Do you feel better?” He turned around and started down the hill." (page 93). Amir asking Hassan to hit him back with the pomegranates shows how desperate he is to be free from his shame. With Hassan taking the burden of the rape and not hitting Amir back despite the fact that he has every right to do that, he stays loyal to Amir. This shows the unrequited loyalty between them and how Hassan truly cares for Amir. This event influences Amir's attempts to get rid of Hassan instead of facing him, it also signifies the beginning of the end of their relationship. The tree quickly develops from a place of shelter and friendship to a reminder of guilt and betrayal.

In the end of the book, the tree represents the end of Amir and Hassan's friendship. When Amir goes back to a war-torn Afghanistan, he visits the tree and finds that it really is unfruitful. " Hassan had said in his letter that the pomegranate tree hadn't born fruit in years. Looking at the wilted, leafless tree, I doubted it ever would again." (page 264). Just like the pomegranate tree Hassan and Amir's friendship wilted away. As Amir is visiting the tree, he also reflects back on the past and finds the old carving. "I stood under it, remembered all the times we'd climbed it...I found what I was looking for.The carving had dulled almost faded together, but it was still there." (page 264). Now the tree is a memory of their childhood, something for Amir to look back on and remember. The fact that the carving is still there symbolizes that even though the tree is weak and shriveled up, the relationship between Amir and Hassan was strong when they were young. Also, the fact that it didnt completely fade away shows how Hassan still has an impact in Amir's life through Sohrab even though he is dead. The tree signifies the end of their relationship but also now stands as a memory.

In conclusion, the Kite Runner proves how symbolism can impact a story. It shows how the Pomegranate Tree once stood as something that brought Amir and Hassan together but ultimately caused a division between them.


Created with images by studio32 - "pomegranate fruit red" • zinka - "houseplants decorative pomegranate"

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