Violence Hautigan Kite Runner Essay

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Violence Hautigan Kite Runner Essay
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  Thisler 1 Troy Thisler Mrs. Marie Hautigan AICE General Paper 9 December 2011 “The Kite Runner: Violence and Brutality”  With the side of Afghanistan that Americans rarely get to see, Khaled Hosseini gives a morsel of what lurks across in the Middle East. Massive human rights violations and dehumanizing violence runs rampant. In Khaled Hosseini‟s elegiac novel The Kite Runner, the novelist intensely depicts the violence that plagues readers‟ perceptio n of contemporary Afghanistan through oppressive guilt and social disorder revealing that the actions one takes is truly indicative of one‟s character. One of the central themes in the novel is guilt and redemption. The central protagonist Amir frequently fears the former and searches for the latter. This oppressive guilt is shown through his failures to Hassan and Baba revealing that one‟s conduct reveals their persona.  The morally repugnant inciting incident of homosexual rape is the central cause of remorse felt by Amir. While some may find this a questionable move on Hosseini‟s part in adding this scene, it is vital to the novel. Homosexual rape, however is exponentially the greatest taboo in Afghan culture. In society‟s eye, Hassan, who was the victim, will forever have no worth. Branded like a cow on a farm ready for slaughter, the dishonor will last after death. Unlike critic‟s suggestions of the antagonists beating him to the brink of death, rape‟ s  Thisler 2 irreversibleness leads to never-ending stigmatization. The fact that Amir had multiple ways to  prevent this yet took no action leads to the inescapable shame that haunts him throughout the events of his life. He states it clearly during the trip to Jalalabad (Khaled Hosseini 86) when he says “A part of me was hoping someone would wake up and hear, so I wouldn‟t have to live with this lie anymore. But no one woke up and in the silence that followed, I understood the nature of my ne w curse: I was going to get away with it.” The internal conflict of the protagonist with one of the other vital characters adds essence to novel. Violence perpetuates the conflicts between Amir and Hassan even outside of the rape. The aggressive action of pelting Hassan with pomegranates is another major conflict. In this scene clearly depicts the regret that Amir has, but Hassan won‟t give him leeway this time. Hosseini clarifies (Khaled Hosseini 93) “Then Hassan did pick up a pomegranate… 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?‟” Here is the climax of the tensions between the friendship of Hassan and Amir. Because Hosseini added this scene, Ami r‟s guilt is perpetuated which adds a somber tone to the already grave novel. More importantly, the character of Amir and Hassan are developed further. Amir displays his aggressive depression. Surprisingly, Hassan draws the line that Amir crossed in Amir‟ s omission to rescue Hassan from Assef. You see Hassan as something more than Amir‟s yes -man. Atrocious aggression does numerous things to the relationship between Amir and his father. Baba is known in the Afghan community and to his son as an aggressive person. Amir narrates (Khaled Hosseini 12) “Lore  has it my father once wrestled a black bear in Baluchistan with his bare hands… But no one ever doubted the veracity of any story about Baba…I have imagined Baba‟s wrestling match countless times, even dre amed about it. And in those dreams, I  Thisler 3 can never tell Baba from the bear. ”  This violent persona adds a lot to the character of Baba. It invites readers to imagine him as an unbreakable rock. When contrasted to Amir‟s pacifist nature, highlighted by Hosseini ‟s dialogue between Rahim Khan and Baba in which “„So   he‟s not violent,‟ Rahim Khan said. „That‟s not what I mean, Rahim, and you know it,‟ Baba shot  back. „There is something missing in that boy.‟” This differentiation creates the void that drives Amir into his morally atrocious actions, because he wants Baba‟s love. That is the reason he omitted from saving Hassan from the rape, because the kite was for Baba. This was shown when Amir reflects “Their    heads turned. Then a smile played on my father‟s   lips… Baba held me close to him, rocking me back and forth. In his arms, I forgot what I‟d done. And that was good.” When this thirst for love is satiated a longing for more is created. Because Baba always showed affection to Hassan, and if Hassan wasn‟t there, Amir would be loved. This causes the cold but logical decision to expel the emotionally detached Hassan from his life: to be alone with Baba. This escalates the development of the “evil” Amir, which Hosseini tastefully accomplishes. But aside from the psychological terrorism that Hosseini pits against his protagonists, the  physical brutality ignites his audience‟s emotions. While not as apparent in the half of the book  before Amir‟s return to the Middle East, the social disorder portrayed in the b ook is shown through civilian devaluation and militant injustice, revealing that one‟s choices reflects one‟s mind. Hosseini portrays the Post-Russian invasion of Afghanistan as the dystopian remnants of war. Carcasses if humans and war machines littered the rubble of warfare. He writes (Khaled Hosseini 245) “Rubble and beggars. Everywhere I looked, that was what I say. I remembered  beggar  s in the old days too… Now, though, the squatted at hands and held out for a coin. And the beggars were mostly children to, thin and grim- faced, some no older than five or six” Later,  Thisler 4 Hosseini includes an amputee haggling prices over his leg (Khaled Hosseini 261). The repeated viciousness has dehumanized the citizens of Afghanistan. It in turn has created numbness to all the dismal events around them. As Hosseini furthers (Khaled Hosseini 259) “I saw a dead body near the restaurant… Hardly anyone seemed to notice him.” This demonstrates the fact that the sense of security we have at home isn‟t reciprocated to our g lobal neighbors. These horrors aren‟t known to the average “Westerner” that Middle Easterners criticize. This insight that he gives is something unique that truly adds to the novel. Additionally, the savage militant injustice also contributes to the novel. Through the eyes of the Neo-  Nazi antagonist Assef, one learns the horrors of the historically accurate “ethnic cleansing”. T his euphemism masks what it truly is, genocide. And as a high-ranking official, Assef gives a clear view of how corrupt the government really is. He states (Khaled Hosseini 227) “Door to door we went, calling for the men and the boys. We‟d shoot them right there in front of their families.. . Let them remember who they were, where they belonged.” He furthers “We only rested for food and prayer,” These acts sets the elegiac tone and the disheartening mood of the scene. The repulsiveness of the act stirs up the audiences‟ emotions, emotionally investing them into the book. This causes that “I can‟t put it down , ” effect that Hosseini masterfully pulls off. The savage and vicious acts of violence and brutality that stalk the reader throughout the  play, though at first unwelcome, truly enhance the experience of The Kite Runner. That glimpse that Khaled Hosseini gave his readers into the wo rld of the “average Joe” of Afghanistan in 1975 and in 2001 with some history in between. The violence, sadly, is the truth. That is what life has  become. But He doesn‟t leave you there. Hosseini carefully rebuilds at the end of the novel the lost hope of his reader‟s with the ending message that wounds heal, and life gets better.  Thisler 5 Works Cited Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner.  New York, NY: Penguin Group, 2003. Print.
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