The character of Amir goes through drastic changes as he moves from adolescence to adulthood. As a child Amir begins his life in Kabul, where his character is shaped through conflicts with his father and Hassan. Later, when he moves to America he leaves these conflicts behind and is able to create a stronger relationship with his father. However, when Amir is an adult he is called back to Afghanistan by an old friend to confront these earlier conflicts. In The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, observable changes can be seen in Amir’s character as he moves from Kabul, Fremont, and later back to Kabul.
In the beginning of the novel one encounters a self-centered young boy, who lives a notably privileged life. He has a great friend, his father is wealthy, and he belongs to the upper social class in Afghanistan. However, a troubled relationship with his father deprives him of the affection he longs for, which he blames on himself.
He believes Baba wishes he was more like him, and that Baba holds him responsible for killing his mother, who died during his birth. For example, when Baba tells Rahim Khan that, “If I hadn’t seen the doctor pull him out of wife with my own eyes, I’d never believe he’s my son” (Hosseini 25). As a result Amir behaves jealously toward anyone receiving Baba’s affection, especially Hassan. This causes Amir to resent bringing Hassan around Baba, even if it’s just for a short time.
This is evident when Amir states, “He asked me to fetch Hassan too, but I lied and told him Hassan had the runs. I wanted Baba all to myself” (Hosseini 14). Although they are best friends, Amir feels that Hassan is beneath him because he is his Hazara servant. For instance, after the rape of Hassan Amir tries to justify his actions by stating that, “He was just a hazara, wasn’t he?” (Hosseini 82). At the same time, Amir never learns to defend himself or anyone else because Hassan always did it for him. After Hassan’s rape Amir realizes this explaining, “I ran because I was a coward. I was afraid of Assef and what he would do to me” (Hosseini 82). As Amir departs for America his character can be described as selfish and cowardly.
When Baba and Amir arrive in Fremont his character changes considerably. Amir adapts easier to life in America than Baba and no longer sees him as a legendary father but as a simple man. For example, when Baba becomes angry at a store clerk for asking to see his I.D. Amir is able to calm him down and defuse the situation. Amir explains to the store clerk that, “My father is still adjusting to life in America” (Hosseini 135). This new life helps Amir forget about Kabul and the sins he committed against Hassan. Amir reveals, “For me, America was a place to bury my memories” (Hosseini 129). In Fremont, Baba turns his attention to raising Amir, without the distractions of his business or Hassan to interfere with their new special connection. Amir has never been happier, not only from the new bond between him and Baba, but from his new wife as well.
The marriage of Soraya and Amir can be seen as another substantial step in Amir’s maturity. Before the marriage Soraya told Amir about her struggle with her past relationship. Amir jealously announces after hearing this, “I envied her. Her secret was out “(Hosseini 174). When Soraya tells him this he envies the relief she must feel, which urges him to seek redemption with Hassan. Baba’s death can be seen as the final step in Amir’s journey of becoming a young adult because he understands that he will no longer be defined as Baba’s son. Amir realizes this when he says, “Baba wouldn’t show me the way anymore; I’d have to find it on my own” (Hosseini 188). Shortly after Baba’s death, his old friend Rahim Khan calls him to come back to Afghanistan to finally make amends. As Amir begins his journey back to Afghanistan, his character can be defined as empathic and loving.
Once back in Kabul, Amir takes steps he would never have imagined, which truly define his character. On his venture back to Afghanistan he learns the truth about Hassan’s connection with Baba. After hearing this Amir feels robbed of the truth and is angry at how his own father could hold this back from him. Despite his feelings, Amir realizes he must not only pay for his betrayal of Hassan but for Baba’s betrayal of Ali too. Amir knows he must face his fears and he understands this when he reveals, “I remembered Baba saying that my problem was that someone had always done my fighting for me” (Hosseini 239). Following this he undertakes a personal mission to find Sohrab and finds the courage to stand up to the Taliban, nearly dying in the process. During his quest Amir comes face to face with the disturbing Assef and fights him for Sorab, the ultimate sacrifice for his dead half-brother. While he is beaten he begins to laugh, which angers Assef even more.
Amir explains that, “What was so funny was that, for the first time since the winter of 1975, I felt at peace” (Hosseini 303). After successfully bringing Sohrab back to California, Amir defends his Hazara nephew when General Taheri insults him. Over the dinner table Amir replies curtly, “you will never again refer to him as ‘Hazara Boy’ in my presence. He has a name and its Sohrab” (Hosseini 380). In the end, Amir finds himself flying a kite with Sohrab. As they fly the kite together the lifeless, empty look leaves Sohrab’s eyes and a half smile suddenly appears on his face. Amir exclaims, “The glassy vacant look in his eyes was gone. His face was a little flushed, his eyes suddenly alert” (Hosseini 389). Amir can now smile at his not so perfect past because he feels he has redeemed himself and his father. As the novel ends, Amir’s character can be characterized as selfless, brave, and compassionate.
Amir’s character changes remarkably from when he is a young boy to a grown man. In Kabul, Amir’s character is damaged and he can be seen as a villain after incidents with Hassan. Once in Fremont, he is able to step away from these old sins and re-shape his character into a more loving one. Finally, when Amir returns to Kabul, he is able to seek redemption and become the perfect version of himself. In The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, noticeable changes can be seen in Amir’s character as he transitions from a young boy to a grown man between Kabul and Fremont.