How Illnesses/Deformities play a role in The Kite Runner By: David Perry

Amir starts life unblemished He "wishes he too had some kind of scar" to be more like Hassan. After redeeming himself by rescuing Sohrab from he Taliban he is "good again". Coincidentally Amir receives a scar from Assef. Amir's scar resembles Hassan's because in a way Hassan is the ultimate portrayal of everything good. Scars in The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, mean more than deformities they mean friendship, bonds, and goodness.

Hassan is a truly good and beautiful person even though he's had his fair share of hard times. In fact, Hassan has it tougher than Amir from the beginning. Not only did Hassan lose his mother (like Amir), his mother flat-out rejected him,"Sanaubar had taken one glance at the baby in Ali's arms, seen the cleft lip, and barked a bitter laughter. [...]. She had refused to even hold Hassan, and just five days later she was gone."(30) Assef, later in the novel, splits Amir’s lip as he beats him, leaving Amir with a permanent scar much like Hassan’s. In a sense, Amir’s identity becomes merged with Hassan’s. He learns to stand up for those he cares about, as Hassan once did for him, and he becomes a father figure to Sohrab. Because of this, it also serves as a sign of Amir’s redemption. Baba and Ali were not always together but, over time just like Ali's limp, their bond grew. " Polio had left Ali with a twisted atrophied right leg that was sallow skin over bone with little in between except a paper thin layer of muscles." (8) This does not directly affect Amir like the other scars in the novel, but this one affects his father. This allows Amir's father to always have a brother and a very close friend. This also causes the issue of Hassn being born and thus the entire rest of the novel insues.
Baba‘s cancer comes at a time when he has become powerless, unrecognizable as his former self.“…The first time I heard Baba moan in the bathroom. The first time I found blood on his pillow. In over three years running the gas station, Baba has never called in sick. Another first." “By Halloween of that year, Baba was getting so tired by mid-Saturday afternoon…" (166) Baba’s cancer is having a major affecting on him, it is showing that Baba is slowly dying and because of his stubbornness to not take chemo there is nothing that can be done. This also has a tremendous affect on Amir, he is wondering throughout these few chapters just when his father was going to die exactly. “So this is where Baba dies," I thought. “This is how it’s going to happen."(122)Amir is showing how fearless Baba is and that he will stand up for what is right no matter what. He is also stubborn, because even though Amir told him to sit down a number of times he did not. Baba’s fearlessness and stubbornness is a sign of his manliness. This implies that Baba’s manliness will be the cause of his death someday.
Amir's father dies to the terminal lung cancer, at his funeral he discovers a few things about Baba he never knew, "Listening to them, I realized how much of who I was, what I was, had been defined by Baba and the marks he had left on people’s lives… Now he was gone. Baba couldn’t show me the way anymore; I’d have to find it on my own."(184)This devastated Amir, it was like he never actually knew who his father was. After this Amir returns to Afghanistan and experiences car sickness once again, "Again, the car sickness. Something inside my stomach churned and twisted. Farid, my driver, threw me a cold glance. There was no empathy in his eyes." In America Amir has driven in a car hundreds if not thousands of times, but it seems like every time he is riding in a car in Afghanistan he is car sick. This is a representation of Amir's guilt coming out physically.
Amir Baba, and Assef are all looked at as normal. No flaws except the few you could see like teeth being crooked and things of that nature. Ali and Hassan on the other hand had a little more noticeable flaws with a limp from polio and a cleft lip from birth. Ali and Hassan were much better people as represented throughout the entire novel of The Kite Runner. This could mean that just because someone is different looking or has some flaw that we don't, they might not be so bad if you just give them a chance.

Credits:

Created with images by RIBI Image Library - "CLEFT LIP PATIENT 11009 ISATU KONTEH 1st patient surgery on the AFM. Post Op discharge." • RIBI Image Library - "polio hospital1" • Hey Paul Studios - "Small Anatomical Lungs Hand Embroidery Wall Decor" • Pheonix149 - "Coffin" • The hills are alive* - "Cosmos ♥"

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