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Running Kites Or Fighting Kites; The True Meaning Of Honor In "The Kite Runner"

1319 words - 6 pages

“Running Kites or Fighting Kites; the True Meaning of Honor”
The use of kites as visual imagery in Khaled Hosseini’s novel “The Kite Runner” represent the master/servant relationship between Hassan and Amir. They also reflect images of war, both inward struggles and the expectations of the culture that the characters are a part of. Finally, the use of kites, both kite fighting and kite running, serve as metaphors to represent the higher noble achievement of honor and what honor truly means. Kite fighting and kite running are juxtaposed together to emphasize those intangible things in life that affect us as individuals to our very core; love, betrayal, loyalty, and apathy; those ...view middle of the document...

His guilt is magnified with this scene as it asks him how he is going to make it right. This imagery depicts a fractured but once meaningful relationship between Hassan and Amir.
The relationship with Hassan and Amir is played out through the use of kites in the kite tournaments. The act of kite fighting and kite running are displayed as instruments that teach us about class struggle in a larger social context that is depicted through the roles of Amir, the privileged son, as the kite fighter and Hassan as his assistant, the kite runner. The acts of kite fighting and kite running depict relationship on a micro level with Amir as master and Hassan as servant, as well as showing us the larger social context that they live in, with Amir being Pashtun and Hassan being Hazara. Amir is caught in this struggle and describes his own inner struggles, as narrator, by describing the actual act of kite fighting as a metaphor for war. He says, “In Kabul, fighting kites [is] a little like going to war” (50) and “if the kite was the gun, then tar, the glass-coated cutting line, was the bullet in the chamber” (50). The relationship of master and servant in this war is highlighted when Amir is describing the tournaments, “Every kite fighter had an assistant—in my case, Hassan—who held the spool and fed the line”
951). Even the fact that there are “no rules” in kite fighting closely resembles the saying that all is fair in love and war (51,52). The larger class struggle, as well as the tension between Hassan and Amir is emphasized by the fact that Hassan always runs the kites while Amir takes the credit for being the prize kite fighter. As we all know though, everything comes with a price from the decisions that we make to the decisions that we do not make. As with all wars though, most soldiers come home with “blood on their hands” and in this case the blood on Amir’s hands was Hassan’s blood (74).
The capture of the last kite is the “trophy of honor” (52). Although the kite runner claims it, in Amir and Hassans case, the trophy is given to the kite fighter whom Hassan serves. The author’s use of the words “trophy of honor” is the most symbolic of all when relating to the title and plot of this story. When Amir was a child, his most coveted affection was that of Baba. It was something that eluded him and he thought that the blue kite, for which he sacrificed Hassan, would be “the key to Baba’s heart” (71). Unfortunately the trade that he made by sacrificing Hassan for the kite was also a trade of his own honor. He thought the kite was the...

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