MOTIF:IDENTITY By Pamela Martinez

Everyday people are judged by what is on the outside in stead of what is on the inside. In Kabul if you are a Pashtun then that is considered higher class and well off. Where a Hazara is looked down upon and treated coldly. In The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini, he portrays Amir character, a Pashtun, as an ungrateful coward that doubts the good in his life and does not overcome his wrongs until the end.

Amir at the beginning of the novel is seen as an unappreciative child who knows nothing better but to suck on his own thumb. When being bullied by Assef he questions Amir why he would see Hassan; who's a Hazara, as a friend. He thinks to himself "But he's not my friend! I almost blurted. He's my servant! Had I really thought that? Of course I hadn't. Hadn't I".(p.41) Amir soon begins to doubt whether the way he treats Hassan is appropriate because he is only his "servant". At the time that Hassan was being sexually assaulted, Amir was traumatized by what he just witnessed and runs away. He justified his actions by saying " I ran because i was a coward. I was afraid of Assef and what he would do to me. I was afraid of getting hurt. That's what i told myself [...] That's what i made myself believe."(p.77) Amir owns up to his disgraceful behavior thinking it's his only option. For this reason Amir is view as a selfish wimp at such a young age.

In the middle of the novel Amir is troubled with the idea of all this good fortune happening to him. Soraya tells Amir how teaching Ziba to write made her feel like she did something good. After hearing that he says to himself "I thought of how I used my literacy to ridicule Hassan. How I teased him about big words he didn't know."(p.151) Looking back he realizes that he could have done something great as well. After the celebration for his first novel, Amir thinks back to the support he got as a kid. He says "And I thought of Hassan. Some day, Inshallah, you will be a great writer, he had said once [...] There was so much goodness in my life. So much happiness. I wondered whether I deserved any of it."(p.181) As a result Amir does not believe he should be this happy. After all that Hassan had done for him. What right does he have when he made another miserable.

Toward the end of the novel Amir faces the difficulties that have been haunting him for years. To save Sohrab and make amends with his past Amir does not fight his punishment but takes it like a man. While Assef is pounding away at Amir he says " I hadn't been happy and I hadn't felt better, not at all. But I did now. My body was broken-just how badly I wouldn't find out until later-but I felt healed. Healed last. I laughed."(p.289) Amir is trying to atone for his sins from long ago. The guilt is slowly floating off his shoulders. Amir now sees that Hassan had inherited the pure and noble side of Baba. He says "Closing Sohrab's door, I wandered if that was how forgiveness budded, not with fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night."(p.359) Now Amir feels like he's been forgiven. Finally his suffering has come to an end thanks to Sohrab. The heavy burden that he once carried around with him is gone.

Even if you see yourself as a coward, who doubts any good that comes your way, you should help others despite their background. Being there for them can also help you over come your problems.

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Pamela Martinez

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