Hero Journey in the Kite Runner
A dynamic character is defined as a character who undergoes an important inner change, as a change in personality or attitude. Khaled Hosseini uses Amir to represent this characterization technique throughout his novel The Kite Runner. Amir´s journey begins as a selfish young boy who did not care for those loyal to him. Throughout the novel, he begins to change in his perspective of the world as he grows older. This allows him to become a more caring man compared to what he was as a child. The novel ends with Amir performing a selfless act showing the dynamic at which Amir changed throughout the novel as he went from selfish to selfless.
As Amir grew up, he lived in a home where he felt unappreciated by his father. He was insecure and wanted to do whatever he could to gain the appreciation of his father because he thought that if he gained Baba´s love, Baba and he would spend more time together, get closer, and ultimately have a better life. His quest to get this love caused his hypothesis to be true to an extent. Amir’s goal was to win the annual kite-flying tournament, as his father had done multiple times, in order to gain his father’s love. Once he had won he would need the kite to show his victory and when faced with a situation in which he had to pick between Baba´s love and the kite or his best friend Hassan, he let his friend get raped so he could get his father affection. His justification for his actions further shows the selfishness he portrays as he says “Nothing was free in this world. Maybe Hassan was the price I had to pay, the lamb I had to slay, to win Baba.”(Hosseini 77). Ultimately his selfishness gained him less than he lost. His father is happy for him and their bond increases, but his friendship with Hassan is pretty much over as he can not face him anymore after doing what he had, leading him to a future of guilt. In an attempt to make himself feel less guilty he frames Hassan for stealing. He says “I took a couple of the 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 of Afghani bills under it.”(Hosseini 104). He thought having Hassan gone would eliminate his guilt but he was only thinking of himself. Although it eventually led to Hassan leaving the house, it emotionally crushed Baba as he lost his friend and son.
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As the novel develops, he begins to feel guilty for what he had done and begins to believe he must change to rid himself of the guilt he has lived with since then. Amir takes a sharp turn in the last couple chapters of the novel as he becomes a loving and compassionate man who sacrifices everything for his family. When Rahim Khan tells Amir “There is a way to be good again” (Hosseini 192) he understands this is his time to be the man he had sought to be in the past years instead of the baby he used to be. When he discovers that Hassan and his wife, Farzana, were killed by Taliban soldiers while trying to protect Amir and Baba’s former home in Afghanistan, he is amazed by their loyalty and further uses Hassan as a model for loyalty. He also learns that Hassan is his half-brother and Baba’s biological son, creating a deeper relationship between them. Once presented with the opportunity to go to Afghanistan and save Hassan’s son, Sohrab, he considers it and take a large step towards selflessness as he decides to go find Sohrab and bring him to a better place though Afghanistan is a dangerous place. On his journey, he displays his changing attitude a few times, for example, when he stuffs cash under the bed at Wahid’s house. He saw the state of their living and gave them something to make their life better. He thought of this as redemption for placing money with a malicious intent under Hassan’s bed. He also gives money to beggars as his father does once he reaches Kabul. As he gets to know Sohrab, Amir develops a deep love for him in Afghanistan and Pakistan, leading to him learning the true meaning of love and loyalty causing him to adopt Sohrab, treating him as a son. By going into a war-ridden Afghanistan, he showed that he is no longer scared of being hurt if it meant helping his family, which was why he didn’t help Hassan many years prior. This is a major change in the personality and attitude towards family for Amir in several ways.
By the end of The Kite Runner, Amir had developed the personality of a man who values friendship and helping others as he begins to help his community in America and back in Afghanistan. He and his wife, Soraya, team up with another Afghani man named Kabir to build a hospital along the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan. He brings Sohrab back to America and provides a good life for him. He constantly tried to help Sohrab get out of his shell and never gave up, something the old Amir may have done. In the end, he runs a kite for Sohrab, saying “For you, a thousand times over” (Hosseini 371) a symbol of Hassan, the epitome of a loyal friend.
Throughout The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini uses the protagonist of the story, Amir, to exemplify a dynamic character. With time, Amir generates new values and prioritizes what’s right as with every new experience comes with a new realization. The rape of his best friend opened his eyes and drove the major transition between the Amir of 1976 and the Amir of the 90s, Overall, his shift from a jealous and selfish boy to a family-oriented and caring man shows how the change Amir underwent proves him to be the most dynamic character in The Kite Runner.